When people think about surfing, New York City isn’t likely to be among the list of worldwide surf spots that pop up immediately.

Despite this, many people are amazed to learn that some of the best surf spots on the East Coast are just a quick drive from the towering skyscrapers and hustle-and-bustle of Manhattan. While Rockaway Beach in Queens is accessible via subway from nearly anywhere in Manhattan, the majority of these spots are on Long Island, which features over 118 miles of Atlantic Ocean beachfront and offers some of the largest and most picturesque swells on the East Coast.

Of course, for there to be surfers there needs to be surfboards and surf shops – but NYC isn’t exactly Huntington Beach, California when it comes to surfboard shapers and surf shops per capita.

Enter Union Surfboards.

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Founded by surfers, craftsmen and cinematographers Jeffrey Schroeder and Chris Williams, Union Surfboards aims to “provide surfboards that perform well in the common east coast conditions that look as good as they ride”.

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Williams, who is the son of a carpenter and the lead shaper at Union, grew up tinkering in his father’s woodshop in Northern California where he taught himself the delicate art of shaping surfboards. As his skills grew, the requests for custom boards came in at such a rate that this self-taught hobby became a career.

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“Boards crafted with expertise and tailored to fit your individual style through collaboration. We give you the freedom to design the board you want, and the guidance to ensure you get it,” said Williams.

The designers use Shape3D Surfboard Design Software for dialing-in board specs before finishing and glassing them by hand.

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“This dialog between rider and shaper, long reserved for professional surfers, develops a deeper understanding of how a surfboard works and helps to amplify your surfing and our shaping. In the end we are creating better surfers on better surfboards and a stronger surf community.”

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In this recent video from Cool Hunting, Williams give us a primer on surfboard construction and walks us through the shaping process in the company’s tiny Greenpoint, Brooklyn studio.

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Find out more by heading over to Union Surfboards.

Author

Simon is a Brooklyn-based industrial designer and Managing Editor of EVD Media. When he finds the time to design, his focus is on helping startups develop branding and design solutions to realize their product design vision. In addition to his work at Nike and various other clients, he is the main reason anything gets done at EvD Media. He once wrestled an Alaskan alligator buzzard to the ground with his bare hands… to rescue Josh.