OCEANSIDE — “Progress, not perfection” is an affirmation that may work for some people. But for surfers it’s all about perfection.
Brazilian-born surfboard shapers Mauricio Avila and Luiz Masuzzo have cornered the market on perfection with their Digital Surf Design shaping machine. Instead of shaping surfboards by hand, it is done with precision by computer. The technology was invented by a fellow Brazilian, Dr. Luciano Leon, a physician.
“Shaping is an art,” Masuzzo said. “Everything is important for the performance of the board. Dimensions have to be perfectly symmetrical.”
Avila spent 15 years shaping by hand. “A surfboard has a lot of lines that you have to combine to make a nice board,” he said. “High tech helps so much.”
The price of a custom shortboard begins at $450, and a longboard at $700. The cost increases depending on the kind of pre-shaped blank surfboard: ultralight, superlight or superblue (dense). Other factors include artwork, color of paint, fin system and special fabrics such as carbonfibre which add durability.
The men only share the building and shaping machine at 3052 Industry St., Suite 106 in Oceanside. They operate separate businesses under one roof: Avila Surfboards and Surfboards by Masuzzo.
What’s impressive is that they share their technology with their competitors.
“A lot of companies do this themselves but they don’t help the small guys,” Masuzzo said.
Avila adds that they work with two kinds of shapers.
“Old school shapers of the past don’t know how to use the computer,” he said. “We can scan a board that he’s made by hand and reproduce his design. Then he’ll take the blank with him and fine shape it. Sometimes he’ll bring it back for us to laminate.”
The second type of shaper that uses their facilities is someone like Matt Parker. In 2001 he started shaping his “Album” brand surfboards by hand in his garage in San Clemente. Now he brings his design to Avila or Masuzzo and works with them at the computer using SurfCad software. When he returns to San Clemente he leaves his digital file behind for the next time.
“It’s awesome — extremely convenient for me,” Parker said. “I’m a small business that produces 10 to 20 boards a month. I don’t have enough work to afford my own factory. I collaborate on the design here and have a place to finish it.”
Avila and Masuzzo design surfboards for every level from beginners to pro surfers.
“The shape of a custom surfboard can make it easier to catch a wave, to paddle and to steer,” Masuzzo said. “It can also add more stability and durability.”
He adds that most surfers don’t understand the principles, even though you have to be a surfer to be a master shaper.
Both men started surfing as teenagers. At 18, Avila persuaded a hand shaper in Brazil to teach him his art. Masuzzo began shaping surfboards at 16. In his late 20s master shaper Gary Linden came into his shop in Brazil, then recruited him to move to Oceanside to work for him. In 2006 Masuzzo started his own business.
Today, Avila and Masuzzo count Linden as their client as well as master shapers Donald Takyama and Michael Walter.
For more information, contact Mauricio Avila at (619) 241-1872 or at [email protected]; and Luiz Masuzzo at (760) 310-0944 or at [email protected]