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Surf’s Up: N.S. craftsman creates rideable pieces of art

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HALIFAX -

Nova Scotia has earned an international reputation as a destination for surfing enthusiasts.

Now a Maritime craftsman is also getting attention for helping riders catch a wave.

“As a surfer, you want your equipment to be dialed in and specific to not only your body type and size, but your skill as well,” says Christopher Mathers, founder of Black Tuna Surf Boards. “It’s constantly a quest for finding the right dimensions, the right type of surfboard, for the right day of surfing.”

Mathers’ love of surfing inspired him to start his own business, designing and constructing surfboards from scratch.

“Not being able to find something right off the rack, it was almost easier to make my own and see what ticked,” explains Mathers.

“I build them all, start to finish with one pair of hands, and they are a labour of love. I think you put a little bit of yourself into each part of rideable sculpture, a piece of art, it will become a totem for someone in their surfing life.”

Much like the sport itself, Mathers says creating the perfect surfboard is something that requires patience and dedication to the craft.

“Starting with raw materials and ending with a finished surfboard, you basically have a block of foam with a piece of wood glued down the centre, we call that the stringer, it’s for flex and strength characteristics. Then you also have some sort of reinforcement cloth, most cases fibreglass, and a hardening system, a polyester or epoxy resin,” says Mathers.

“You shape it kind of like a miniature sculpture, and once that is finished, it’s very delicate so we laminate it with fibreglass and resin, give it a rigid structure and make it waterproof, then you sand it smooth and you have a surfboard.”

You can check out Mathers’ creations in person at Lawrencetown Surf Co. or on the Black Tuna Surfboards website.

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