Surfboard Shaper – Maurice Cole

Maurice Cole is one of an increasingly rare breed: a genuine Australian original. Through 40-plus years of surfing, shaping and theorising he’s developed an entirely unique take on the sport of surfing and the craft we use to perform it.

Maurice’s surfing history is as wild and woolly as the coasts hes inhabited. His sparring partners have included the likes of Wayne Lynch, Dane Kealoha, Tom Curren and Mark Occhilupo. His own wave riding spans pioneering years in western Victoria, South-West France, Northern Spain, Hawaii, and Western Australia.

His instincts push him toward the sports cutting edge. Maurice’s partnership with Curren produced the Reverse Vee revolution of 1991 an idea that changed surfboard design forever.

His work with deep concaves and vee exits inspired surfers like Kelly Slater and Rob Machado, and designers of all stripes around the globe. Maurice’s o

ngoing work with formula-one tow-boards for Ross Clarke-Jones, with ultra-concaves and incredible release, hints at his vision of a faster future.

Describe yourself in 3 words: Passionate – Creative – Moral Integrity

What is your life motto? Turning negatives into positives.

When did you start pursuing your career and how long did it take to become successful? In 1973…I have always been a successful designer, but a terrible businessman.

How many hours did you dedicate to pursuing your dream?
My whole life has been dedicated…24/7.

Describe how difficult the business really is? The problem is always having a consistent supply of materials and good reliable workers. I have always chosen to live outside the normal supply bubble, whether it was France, Margaret River or here in Torquay; so the tyranny of distance has always been my Achilles heel.

What is the mistake that taught you an extremely valuable lesson?
Just because you are making the best boards in the world, does not assure long-term success; the engine room should never be trivialised i.e. the accounting/office is part of your business.

What is the best piece of advice you have been given to date?
If ya can’t back it up, shut up!

In your mind, is formal training essential? No…

Do you think having a mentor is important? How would you go about finding one for this industry? Having a mentor is a must; even in life! There are mentors out there all over the planet, who have been some of the world’s leading craftsmen for decades. In finding just one for the industry, the best would be to offer up a course that was well funded, with great infrastructure and showing a high regard /level of respect.

What are some steps emerging talent can take to start/further their career? It’s harder and harder at the moment as there is little money left in the industry. Wages have decreased in the last 30 years, and there is not much glamour in becoming a shaper anymore…so I guess the formula is, become poverty stricken and see if ya have the passion when you are at the bottom as that’s where we have all been at one time or another.

What kept you going when you felt like giving up?The idea that there would be a good surf/magic s/b coming in the very near future. Believe in the highest of highs and the lowest of lows, so when ya down, know its just part of the cycle of life and now that you have hit rock bottom – Ahhh, it’s onwards and upwards to the next high!

Do you believe that ‘making it’ is about luck and being in the right place at the right time? That all helps; but I believe you make your own luck!

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