There’s a big surfing culture in Australia – no surprises there – but one former Sydney surfing grom has taken it to the next level shaping his own boards since he was a teenager, going on to invent some wicked technology that only surfers understand, and growing his company, Haydeshapes, on the global market.
From Sydney’s Northern Beaches to the famous waves of Los Angeles like Venice and Malibu beaches… Hayden Cox of Haydenshapes has a proven innovative and artistic approach to his shaping.
His boards, which come in an array of prints, colours and shapes would make a pretty awesome gift for your man. Dontcha think? I’d even get one to hang as a work of art. They’re that good!
Here’s my chat, down the line from Cali, with Hayden…
How long have you been Hayden shaping?’
I started Haydenshapes when I was around 15 years old and still at school. I broke my board and didn’t have money to buy a new one, so I did work experience at a local factory on my school holidays and learnt the basics. (Ten years ago) when I was 21 I leased my first factory in Mona Vale Sydney.
How are Haydenshapes boards different?
As a brand, Haydenshapes definitely has that premium feel amongst our competitors, which is reflected through our team of free surfers, our price point and marketing. In 2006 I created and patented (globally) a technology called FutureFlex which is a unique surfboard construction, with a parabolic carbon rail system as opposed to the traditional wooden stringer down the centre of the board. Although I sell that tech to other brands like Rusty, Lost & Channel Islands, Haydenshapes is known for that construction as our model shapes complement it better than anyone else. Our brand really suits the every day surfer, yet has a really technical performance aspect to each model.
Who is your customer?
The Haydenshapes customer varies. Anyone from the high income earner, your everyday surfer to your local grom.
Why the move from Sydney to California?
In 2011 I signed on with a global distributor that took the brand into around 70 countries – the US is such a key market so it made sense for me to relocate there and grow the brand. I definitely think that Australia is the most influential market when it comes to surfing and surf culture, however the population of surfers in the US is pretty large. So far the reception to the brand has been great which is really exciting.
What does a typical day shaping boards involve?
No day is ever the same… I get up early and go for a morning surf, usually at County Line near Malibu. I get to the office in El Segundo (next to LAX) and answer the most important emails and start to design boards for our team riders on my computer. I’ll usually jump in the shaping bay for a few hours, which is still my favourite part of my job. Around 4pm the working day in Australia starts and I spend some time on the phone with our Sydney factory/store then head home to Venice, eat dinner and go to bed pretty early.
What does surfing mean to you?
Surfing is a lifestyle for me, in all aspects of the word. Not only it is a time where I can disconnect and relax, it’s where I do a lot of thinking and come up with different ideas for the business. Some days surfing’s more about taking a quick break, other days it’s product testing or hanging out with friends or team riders – the social aspect. Salt water is soothing for me in so many ways – I try to make sure to surf at least 3-4 times a week.
Interview by Kelli Armstrong
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