Patterson surfboard building clan goes three generations deep
By Scott Bass
Timmy Patterson shapes cutting edge surfboards for 2019 world champion and Olympic Gold Medalist Italo Ferreira. Patterson is also the son legendary board builder Ronald Patterson -- and his two uncles (Raymond and Robert) knew their way around a surfboard blank with resin bucket in tow. What is really cool, at least from my perspective, Tim recently discovered that the family surfboard business actually runs threegenerations deep.
Here’s the scoop: Tim’s grandfather sourced balsa at Pearl Harbor for Walter Hoffman’s (Hoffman Fabrics, another surf industry stalwart) sleek mid-fifties Makaha guns.
Circa 1950, after the Allied powers of the USA, Britain, and USSR successfully defeated the Axis powers of Nazi Germany, Japan, Hungary and the ilk, the US Navy needed to revamp their fleet and, in the process, de-commissioned a handful of older ships. During WWII, the lifeboats were made out of balsa wood -- a sought after resource for cutting edge surfboards and Hoffman’s eyes were squarely on the prize. Hoffman discussed his desire for those lifeboats with Patterson. Patterson, who was in the Navy, received permission from his commanding officer to do whatever he wanted with the old lifeboats. Patterson went to work peeling the the sought-after balsa planks of off the lifeboats. Hoffman glued up the balsa blanks (under the watchful eye of Pat Curren no doubt) to craft the first generation of gorgeous Makaha balsa guns. Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.
That’s three generations of Patterson’s: surf industry icons.
Patterson Surfboards was founded in 1980. Prior to opening T. Patterson Surfboards, Tim shaped at Hobie Surfboards in Dana Point, California. It was there that he learned the art of shaping from legends such as Dale Velzy, Chris McElroy, Mickey Munoz, and Terry Martin. He was involved with all the facets of the manufacturing process including shaping, laminating, glossing, sanding, and airbrushing. Tim is fluent in all phases of surfboard manufacturing and he is considered an expert in design, development, and the hand shaping process.
The Icons of Foam Tribute to the Masters is a shaping competition of eight shapers attempting to replicate classic surfboard designs within a 90-minute time-frame. The competition takes place over the course of two days. The honored shaper – this year Timmy Patterson -- will judge (along with Matt Biolos, Pat Rawson and Roger Hinds) the anonymously shaped boards to determine who most closely replicated Patterson’s original design.
Although it is organized as a competition, and its heart the Icons of Foam Shape-Off is a tribute to exceptional shapers who practice this sacred craft. Honoring Timmy Patterson this year (as selected by him) are 2x defending champion Ryan Burch, Boardroom Japan champion Tokuda-san, Robert Weiner (Roberts Surfboards), Jason Bennett (Chemistry Surfboards), Rick Rock (Rock Surfboards), Alex Lopez (Alex Lopez Surfboards), Tiko (Brazil), and Matt Kinoshita (Kazuma Surfboards Maui). The four semi-finalists will all receive special commemorative engraved Nixon watches with the Boardroom logo. Additionally, the second place shaper receives $500. The winner will receive $1000 and their name added to the Mike Marshall Perpetual Trophy.
Working with great surfers and personally testing his boards has provided Tim Patterson with feedback he has applied in his shaping. Years of technical input has helped propel him to the ranks of the shaping elite: Tim Patterson, Icon of Foam.
The Boardroom International Surfboard Show presented by US Blanks takes place in Del Mar Ca. October 8th & 9th and features a hall filled with surfboards, shapers, fin manufacturers, wetsuits, surf gear, and art. In addition, there are exhibits: Best In Show presented by Ziobaffa Organic Italian Wines, live music, the California Gold Surf Auction, the Boardroom Talks, Carver Skateboards wave ramps, the Vintage Surfboard Collector Club, food, beverage and tons of fun.
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