Olivia Notter contributed to this story. Follow her @oliviamarion.
Many years ago, around the time one of the greatest surf films to have ever been made Riding Giants was released, I had the distinct pleasure of sitting down and conducting what would become, to this day, my most entertaining, most informative, probably the greatest interview I have ever conducted. It was with one of the stars of the film, big wave surfing legend and pioneer Greg Noll (the interview is available to read in the book Dogwild & Board: Stories, Interviews and Musings from a Surf Journalist).
By now, if you’re an avid fan of surfing and read about most of the sport’s innovators and stars, you know about Noll. He’s outspoken, he’s a bit crass, and perhaps what’s so great about him is his honesty. He doesn’t hold back in any regard and will tell you exactly what is on his mind. In a culture that censors speech regularly to avoid upsetting surf industry corporations, Noll’s honesty is refreshing and a well needed respite from the clean and cliché messages regularly dispensed by the surf industry.
While Noll’s surfing adventures are rather well known thanks to Riding Giants and various other publications that have written about his entire big wave conquests, he also has a large family who has made a name for themselves in surfing. It is with his youngest son Jed who I was able to sit down with for an extensive interview covering everything from his early days shaping surfboards to the beginnings of his beautiful surf shop, Noll Surfboards that Jed owns and operates in San Clemente. Here is an exclusive interview with one of the top surfboard shapers in the industry, Jed Noll.
|An old photo of Jed and Greg Noll are among many items on display at Noll Surfboards.|
Cyrus: When did Noll Surfboards open and what inspired you to open a surf shop in San Clemente?
Jed: The shop opened in 2009, and the inspiration behind it was getting a shaping room that was closer to the beach. I'd been working in Santa Ana for the previous five years or so, and when I moved to Southern California from Santa Cruz, basically I kind of ended up in the Costa Mesa area.
Cyrus: You actually were in Santa Cruz first?
Jed: Oh, yeah, I was in Santa Cruz for nine years, so I went from Crescent City, and as soon as I graduated high school when I was 17, I took a year and traveled and surfed and then went to straight to Santa Cruz. So I was there when I was 18 until about eight years ago. So, I was there for nine years.
Cyrus: So you really are dialed into Northern California as much as Southern California.
Jed: That's where I learned. I worked for Bob Pearson for five years. Well, four of those years were as a shaper. The first year that I got there, literally, when I moved to Santa Cruz, I basically begged Bob for the job. I went in there fuck, I don't know how many times, and finally he was like, "Okay, yeah, you can start.” And it was literally sweeping the shaping rooms, garbage, finishing boards. Just the most basic deal.
I was just 18, and that was when I wanted to just get my foot in the door, because at that time Geoff Rashe was still shaping for him, Mark Owen was shaping for him, Michel Junod, Coletta was still there doing his own thing and shaping for him.
Cyrus: Did Pearson have his second shop yet at that point? I know it recently closed.
Jed: The one in Capitola you mean?
Jed: I don't know. This was at the warehouse. I worked at the factory. At the time it was the all star team for up north as far as shapers go. And I was just a young kid, only been shaping a couple years.
Cyrus: Mid 90's?
Jed: Yeah, it was '95.
Cyrus: That was a great time to be there.
Jed: It was amazing. Flea, Barney.
Jed: Yeah. All these guys were all team riders. Of course Jay was around, Matt Tanner, Kevin Misk. Wingnut! He was on the Pearson team and actually that was right in that transition, and I better be careful because they don't like whatever happened right there. (Laughs) That was an amazing time as far as from a surf team standpoint and shapers. It was like the all-star of all-stars for up north.
Cyrus: And the groms then were Kieran Horn, Homer Henard, Omar Etcheverry, all those guys.
Cyrus: That's a crazy era. And then so you basically dialed your shaping skills making Pearson Arrow surfboards, and then you open your first place. Was it strictly a shaping room in Santa Ana?
Jed: Well, no, in 2000 I went out on my own in Santa Cruz and I shaped from there until about 2003 or something. For about three years there, basically, I worked out of an old and just shaped. There was no retail, no nothing. It was just a barn that we did our stuff in. And then as business started growing, I couldn't get the glassing done because the majority of everybody up north who was doing a lot of production was all in house. So literally, if I wanted to get a board glassed at, let's say, Pearson's, guess who's at the last of the line? For good reason, right? Hey, it's the way it goes, and that's the way it goes. It doesn't matter where you're at, that's the way it is. All these guys would do some stuff for me here and there, but I couldn't keep up, basically, and so I ended up, through Sonny Vardeman, a guy out of South County L.A. or whatever you want to call that, he told me about the Waterman's Guild in Santa Ana. And so literally, I kind of drove a batch of boards down, saw what was the deal, and they just did fantastic work and they can do 80 boards a week which was completely different than what I had available up north.
Cyrus: Is the Waterman's Guild still around?
Jed: Yeah, they're still doing my boards today. Greg Martz is the owner of that. He's been glassing for 40 years. He was doing Plastic Fantastics back in the day. And then all the way through. So, yeah, there's still glass in my boards, but that was the whole deal, I ended up finding a place who could do really good quality and high volume glassing, and so, because I started whole selling boards and shipping them and doing all these things, it just made sense. For a while I was getting boards done up in Santa Cruz, I was getting them done down here, driving back and forth and it was just wasting time and gas and I was then traveling to Spain and shaping over in Spain. Europe, in the U.K., in Japan, I was just all over the place. I was constantly traveling.
Cyrus: So business was good.
Jed: Yeah, for a 23, 24 year-old kid. It was 25, whatever it was at that time. I guess I was 25 or something. Yeah, it was a lot of fun because, again, I was traveling all over the place.
|Greg Noll's old address book, which included information for legendary surfers like Mickey Dora, on display at Noll Surfboards.|
Cyrus: And anybody who knows anything about surfing knows who your dad is, of course, Greg Noll. In terms of your family, how many siblings are there? Do you have brothers and sisters?
Jed: I've got two half-brothers and one sister.
Cyrus: And the sister's a full sister?
Cyrus: Are the half-brothers older or younger?
Cyrus: There's another Noll-associated surf shop up in Crescent City where you grew up, correct? What's the difference between that one and this one? And what's that one even called? Noll Surf Shop?
Jed: They kind of changed the names a few times, but I think it's just Rhyn Noll Surf Shop, I think is what it's technically called now. It’s based off my half-brother. He's the one who started it.
Cyrus: How much older is Rhyn than you are?
Jed: About 13 years, something like that.
Cyrus: How old are you now?
Jed: I'm 35. Turned 35 in December. So, he shapes boards and he started that shop and, I could be wrong, but I bet it was almost 20 years ago now.
Cyrus: It's been there forever.
Jed: It's been there a long time. He was really into shaping at the time. Over the years, it's kind of progressed more into a kind of local artsy crafty kind of a shop. Not a whole lot of surfboards, not a whole lot of that. Kind of a hodgepodge. Not in a bad way, but kind of hodgepodge mix of, like I said, local people's work and kind of whatever else that they do kind of thing.
Cyrus: Are you and Rhyn close? Are you and your half-brothers close?
Jed: We have been in the past, but he's moved to Hawaii.
Cyrus: Oh, he's not even in Crescent City?
Cyrus: Just so you know, I lived in Arcata for two years (a small college town located approximately 80 miles south of Crescent City). So I know that area pretty well.
Jed: Oh, you did? He moved to the islands. He moved him and his family to the islands and so, to be honest, I haven't been in the shop in the last couple years.
Cyrus: Who runs it now?
Jed: Well, I think his Mom does still. Yeah, I'm pretty sure. But again, I haven't even been in there the last couple of years. To be honest, since I've moved down this way, I haven't been in close touch with him.
Cyrus: Well, it's far.
Jed: Days these days are just, what it's Thursday? What, we're almost halfway through 2012? Is that what you just said? It's amazing!
Cyrus: Was Rhyn the oldest of the four?
Jed: No, Tate is the oldest. He actually still lives in Crescent City. And, in fact, him and I have the same birthday, 16 years apart.
Cyrus: When is that?
Jed: December 27th.
Cyrus: You get the combo Christmas and Birthday present. Thanks everyone!
Jed: And a brother. So everybody wants to go to lunch. Yay, thanks. (Laughter)
Cyrus: Is your sister older or younger than you are?
Jed: My sister's older.
Cyrus: So you're the baby.
Jed: Yeah, I'm the young one.
Cyrus: And are all four of you great surfers?
Jed: My sister doesn't really surf at all. She hasn't been surfing much at all. She kind of enjoys the ocean, but she doesn't really surf much at all. Rhyn is an avid surfer. Tate was a surfer, and I guess a really good one at the time, and I can't remember what the year was but I know I think I was only a couple years old at the time, but he actually got in a head on collision with a drunk driver when he was in, I think it was his late teens. And long story short, lost part of the feeling and use, I guess, part of, not completely, but the left side of his body, and so basically he hasn't surfed for a long time. He went through a whole rehabilitation period, and he was boogie boarding and doing some stuff for quite a while, but, shit, he's 51 now, 16 years older than I am. So, pretty difficult, he's kind of wheelchair bound at this point
Cyrus: I'm sorry.
Jed: Rhyn's a pretty avid surfer and part of the industry, I guess, or has been in the past. Like I said, since he's been to Hawaii he's kind of changed a little bit of a mode.
Cyrus: In terms of kind of slowing it down.
Cyrus: It's crazy what happens out there. The aloha vibe. It's not a myth. But personally when I go, and I've been to all the islands except for Kauai and of course it's beautiful and it's amazing, but there is a hint of frustration at times by how slow it is.
Cyrus: They just are not in a rush to do anything. It's crazy, but it's healthy. It really should be the way we all live though.
Jed: I think so, right?
Jed: Like you said, man, it's kind of hard to handle sometimes.
|Jed Noll showing some of the many boards he has shaped that are on display at Noll Surfboards.|
Cyrus: And then now you own Noll Surfboards in San Clemente. How did this all come together? Was this really just you? Was your dad involved, did you have other partners, how did this get started?
Jed: Well, the shop initially started from, again, I moved to the Dana Point area and I just loved it. I kind of fell in love with this area. I liked surfing San O, I liked surfing Trestles, Salt Creek at the time when I moved down here. Coming from Santa Cruz there's so many good waves in such a small area. Coming down here it was very different.
Cyrus: Night and day.
Jed: Everything was kind of far apart. It felt like everything was paying for parking and everything was just different. And so, when I kind of ended up spending some time in Dana Point, I just realized between Salt Creek and San Onofre right here, you've got a pretty good group of waves and you've got a little bit of everything in between literally Salt Creek and San Onofre. And I just kind of dug it, and Dana Point and San Clemente both have a little bit smaller town feel. If you don't want to come here you don't have to. You've got to turn off the freeway, basically, to get here. The freeway doesn't go through it, it goes right by it. So, I just kind of felt like it was a little bit more my style and so, I just decided I wanted to try and find a place to just shape down here and just keep my trip kind of more consolidated rather than driving all the way to Santa Ana.
So, when we found this place, it was basically Candice (Jed’s wife) and I and we just decided to take the risk. I was looking for shaping rooms and I found the building that was much bigger than what we needed, but it was kind of perfect for what we hoped to create long term in our minds. A lot of, “What ifs?” were going through our heads at that time, and with my family, my mom and dad's support basically saying, "Yeah, if this is what you guys want to do, you can do it. A lot of hard work and a lot of time, you guys can do this type of a thing." We kind of jumped in with both feet at once, and in conjunction with that, at the same time, we started meeting with a group of people who were interested in bringing back the black and white board shorts. From that stemmed my family and I creating this surf shop with basically a place to sell some t-shirts out front, some Noll t-shirts, have a gallery to show our wood boards which is what my dad and I work on together which we'd never had a place to formally show before. The only place we've ever shown them would be at ASR shows or things like that. Which a lot of people had seen, but we never did any advertising. Everything was word of mouth, and literally the only place we exhibited was at the ASR shows and expos sometimes, but we hadn't even done that in quite a while.
Cyrus: Those are beautiful boards.
Cyrus: I have a hard time believing people buy them to ride them.
Jed: Not very many people do.
Cyrus: There's no way I would ever ride one in a million years. I wouldn’t want that gloss to ever leave.
Jed: Yeah, that's the hard part.
Cyrus: They’re gorgeous.
Jed: So, basically we decided, let's show people what we do and let's see what happens, and that combined with having a shaping area which is what I ultimately need and wanted and that was the whole driving force. And since we found a place that we could kind of combine all three of those things, it was kind of like, "Let's give it a shot. What's the worst that can happen? I don't know." So, we just did it. So we kind of put everything together with my friend Steve Thomas. We would by ourselves, basically, build the place up, stripped it down literally from the ground up, put everything in, and just did what we did. And, again, that took a period of time. In the meantime, like I'd mentioned, we had started talking to a group of people who were interested in bringing back these black and white shorts. After talking to these guys, they're very successful businessmen and outside of our industry, very smart, college graduated, all this great experienced crew of guys. So, as we started talking more, and talking about all the assets and things that we had that my family has held onto over all of these years and what we were currently doing, the consensus was kind of like, "Well, what if we did more than the black and white shorts?" There's just so much more to the brand, there's so much more to the family name, to the history and all those things. So we just continued to brainstorm, we continued to talk, ended up forming an LLC together which we all are partners in, which basically was to manage the Noll name and rights to kind of expand, explore, whatever you want to call it, in licensing opportunities and or private label stuff. Whatever it may be, but basically we all decided that with all of us kind of put together, with everybody in different areas of expertise, we made a pretty good team. And so we all kind of trusted each other and decided to form this LLC which is then what has now brought us to where we are today, which is with the expansion of the store, which is with all the clothing and apparel, the private label t-shirts and apparel and things that we've done and, ultimately, has brought us to the collaboration with Billabong.
Cyrus: Right, and so then all the Jail House stuff.
Jed: So, technically speaking, the group now has got our Jail House shorts. We reproduced them, and we did it through the collaboration with Billabong, but they did the authentic version of the black and white shorts which is the limited edition of 200 hand-signed and hand-numbered by my dad, made out of a cotton canvas, as close to the old originals as they could basically make today in a production facility.
Cyrus: That's crazy.
Jed: They come in this great box and all this stuff, so we're very proud of that. And, of course, Billabong's also making the four way stretch super technical zero gravity.
Cyrus: You don't want chafing.
Jed: Yeah, a technical piece that we all get to wear and go and surf with and all that stuff.
Cyrus: So the clothes are coming out of Billabong’s factories?
Cyrus: It makes it easier on you though, doesn't it? They're doing all the heavy lifting.
Jed: Well, that's exactly it, and that was one of the things that, collectively, from Noll Worldwide, that's what we do. The Noll Worldwide, collectively, we decided. Again, the expertise of my family and I is the story, the craft of shaping surfboards, and the assets. All the other team members, whether it's a photographer, whether it's a wordsmith, whether it's a COO, whether it's a CFO, blah blah blah. Down the line, everybody's got their deal, and everybody brings something to the table and even Garrett McNamara has his face and a team. All those things put together, we made this great team but none of us had any manufacturing and distribution. We all had growth management plans, we all had, again, assets and sweat equity and all these things, but nobody had manufacturing and distribution put together.
And so that's where we looked at the idea of, "Hey, let us do what we do which is manage the brand, focus, tell people the correct story. Give people the story we want them to hear, and then let somebody who can do all of the manufacturing and distribution, and let them do what they do good."
Cyrus: And that's where Billabong came in.
Jed: That's where they came in.
Cyrus: It seems like a great role for them in this partnership.
Jed: Well, yeah, and they've been phenomenal. You can see the stuff that they've built.
|Original Jail House Trunks on display at Noll Surfboards.|
Cyrus: Noll Surfboards in San Clemente is like a museum. It's not like any other surf shop. You're going to be in here and you're not going to leave any time soon because literally every room has stuff designed by you or your dad. Some of it's new, some of it dates back decades, but it all just has a legitimate piece of surf history. It's a beautiful shop. And what's a long term vision for this place? It seems like it's something that's still in the middle of evolving.
Jed: Well, that's it. I think our long term goal, and it is evolving and so I don't want to pigeon hole ourselves but, at the same time, our long term goal is to have this be somewhat of a collective and a community center as far as a place to hold events, a place to have other people hold their events. A place for people to come and see a piece of history, see something new, something innovative, but also maybe be able to learn something about where this innovative product came from which, from our history, basically dates back to my father and what he did in his exploits and how he tackled things and went through his modern era of surfing and surf exploration, and surfboard building and manufacturing and on down the line.
And that's why here, as you mentioned, I've got pieces, I've got original boards on the ceilings from the 60's in his heyday. We've also even got components of his old shop. This stuff is from 1965, we're looking 50 years. It's like a half of a century old. When it comes right down it. So we've got things on display that date back that far, and it also gives examples of where we get our inspiration because, ultimately, that's where we are getting our inspiration.
We all sit down together and we talk about what are we going to do, what's our new t-shirt’s going to be, or what are we going to try and do new this season, whatever it is. Well, what everybody keeps kind of coming back to when we open the archives is the simplicity of the times. We talked about this earlier. Everything moves so fast, everybody's so connected. If you don't have your cell phone on, you're going to have x amount of messages and people are going to be like, "Where were you at? You don't reply to your emails." It's just the way that it is, and good or bad. Shit gets done at least today. There's no joking about that, but you're so connected, and when we open up these archives, literally everybody kind of just takes a second and kind of trips out and is like, "Man, look at this. This was hand done. This logo was hand drawn originally. This photograph was taken with x whatever film, and remember when you could get that film? Remember when that was the only film that you had besides this film?" Everybody talks about these old things and it kind of pushes a lot of the stuff that's happening right in front of you away. And so, we just kind of see or end up kind of visualizing that simpler time. There was a little bit more freedom, there weren't so many laws. You know what I mean?
Jed: That's how these guys were able to do the things they did. They had new experiences, surfed new places. The stories that my dad tells, it's not like he was off pounding his chest. They were literally doing what they enjoyed.
Cyrus: I've interviewed your dad before, and I'll go back and read the interview because it’s so entertaining (the interview with Greg Noll is available in the book Dogwild & Board: Stories, Interviews and Musings from a Surf Journalist). There are a lot of crazy stories in there, but the ones that are perhaps the craziest are his stories of going out there when the surf was huge and wild because there was no surf forecasting back then. You didn't even know what was coming. That trips me out probably the most about surfing then versus now. Every time you went out, it was completely rolling the dice because three hours from when you went out there could be, all of a sudden, triple overhead swells coming in that could annihilate you. And those are the stories that just blow my mind when it comes to your dad. Him going out to Waimea and not knowing what's going to happen. I don't know if that's a good example of how things have changed.
Jed: No, that's exactly it. Think about going to the North Shore with literally nobody there. And then when you really think about it, too, you're talking like I said, 50 years ago. That's not that long ago. But it's literally Cowboys and Indians to what it is today. Literally, it was 50 years ago, it was 1950, and I shouldn't call out this date, but it's got to be '53, '55, something like that. Maybe '53 that they were making their first trips to the North Shore. That wasn't that long ago. And there was nothing there, literally nothing. He tells the story going through Waianae and coming across the pineapple fields and then, all of a sudden, you see that stretch of beach laid out in front of you, and just seeing these beautiful lines in this open territory. And, literally, you get down and go through Haleiwa and come out the other side there and it's like every time you go around a bend, there's another wave they'd never seen.
Cyrus: Your dad was one of the pioneers. My opinion on big wave surfers is that to be a big wave surfer you have to have at least a screw loose. It takes a certain level of insanity to do what they do. It just does, because it's madness. Did you inherit any of the insanity, the craziness from your dad?
Jed: I think I have. Actually, he says this a lot, that I have a lot of my mom's genes in me and she's a much more level headed person. So, no, I like the adrenaline but I've never dedicated myself to it, and that's what it takes. To be a big wave surfer you've got to want that adrenaline rush. You've got to want it, and you've got to want it bad. Because, obviously, what you've got to go through to do it, and as much as I enjoy it, I've never really wanted it. Whatever big waves that I've ever surfed has always just been because that's what it's been. I've never gone there to be like, "I'm going to go surf big waves today." I've gone there to go surf and it's been big and so I've surfed. That's kind of been the way that it's gone. So, no. I guess I didn't get that gene. I got my mom's emotional side.
Cyrus: You're sane is what you're saying.
Jed: Well, it depends on who you ask, I guess, because they say I might be crazy in other arenas when it comes to perfectionism or things like that in shaping but, no, I didn't get the adrenaline one.
Cyrus: For customers that come to Noll Surfboards in San Clemente, are your customers primarily those looking for boards? Are you starting to get more people coming in for the clothes? Your clothes have that great soft feel to it where you can either go out and look stylish or you can just go to bed and it can be your pajamas. That's my barometer for how good clothes are, and you have that. So your clothing angle you seem to have dialed, but then of course you have the boards. That's your true level of expertise. What are customers coming in for now and what do you hope they come in for in the future if it's different?
Jed: Well, the boards are what started this whole thing even all the way back. If you go all the way back to the first thing that started Greg Noll Surfboards. It wasn't Greg Noll clothing; it was Greg Noll Surfboards, 1951 basically. So, that's what's driven this whole thing, and that's what continues to drive it today. We are a destination spot at this point because we don't carry a lot of brands. We carry our own products. That's our focus, and so we are a destination spot and the surfboard is a very big part of that.
People come in to order custom boards. That's really what our expertise is here, and that's my favorite part because that really is my expertise. The retail side of this is something that I've come to learn to kind of love and enjoy. I've always been around it. I've always been around surf shops and I've worked in them in the past and things like that, but really, you don't know retail until you do it. Right?
Cyrus: Yes, that is definitely true.
Jed: (Laughs) I've learned to kind of love it or really enjoy it. My first love is shaping because, at this point, it's almost my alone time.
Cyrus: You have a family now.
Jed: When I get in there, I can put my music on, I've got my time, it's me in the room. There's nobody else in there generally, and at this point shaping is so second nature that it's relaxing. It's not a lot of work. I'm not thinking about what I'm doing and so it's not stressful. It's fairly relaxing. Granted, come hour six, seven, eight, shaping all day, you get fatigued but, at the same time, it's a good tired. It's not an exhausted; it's just a good tired. Fatigue, but, again, when I'm in my shaping room at this point it's very relaxing like I said. I can kind of think about whatever it is and just kind of get into my groove and do my thing and even when I'm shaping custom boards for people who want to come in and watch or what not, it's still enjoyable because I'm still going through the motions and generally I'm just talking to the people.
Cyrus: You have people that actually request to watch you shape their board?
Cyrus: Is it through a glass window, or how do they watch?
Jed: Well, generally, I rough the board out, do most all the planar work, and then they'll come in and watch me kind of just screen the rails and things. So, in the back I've got the exhaust fans, I've got everything set so they can literally kind of sit outside the room and just kind of watch me finish it, things like that. Or sometimes they'll want to come in and do the template with me, and then I'll shape the rest of it.
Cyrus: You mean like on the computer?
Jed: Well, we can do that, yeah. If somebody's savvy enough to kind of know exactly what they want or they've got experience in sitting with people who do computer work, then absolutely. I can sit with them and do that, or if it's literally just off the blank and they want to see, physically, what the board's going to look like.
Cyrus: What do you prefer to do? It seems that the trend seems to have gone where most shapers, there's certain software now that shapers use where you can do all the work on the computer first. Do you follow that school of method or are you really old school still?
Jed: Both. And it might be a little cliché, but if you're only one or the other you're missing out. You just are. It's almost like only surfing a short board at this point.
Cyrus: Is that the norm? Is that how most shapers do it these days, they mix it up?
Jed: I don't know to be honest. There's quite a few guys who primarily computer shape at this point. There's not a whole lot of guys who primarily hand shape anymore. There's a few, but not many. Most everybody has gone to the computers. And, at this point for us, there's such advantages to the computer. There really is as far as consistency and replicating people's surfboards and stuff. That component you can't overlook. I think it's been going on for long enough that people understand what, like I said, the computer is good for and that you still hand finish it. And so, again, replicating surfboards, there's nothing better. For team riders, for people who surf a lot, who get a lot of boards, who get a lot of the same board. It's an amazing tool for that.
|Jed Noll outside his shaping room at Noll Surfboards with his daughter learning the trade.|
Cyrus: Is your client list primarily the average surfer, or do you have some pros who are buying your board?
Jed: We make boards for a lot of people and I'm not going to namedrop because they're not team riders. But yeah, we've got our local group.
Cyrus: You’ll get them in trouble?
Jed: Well, yeah. (Laughs) I'd rather not go there, but we've got our local crew here who are R and D (research and development) and I have a great time with. We've got our standard team riders, Julie Cox, Steve Thomas, Travis Edwards, Josh Edwards. I'm probably going to miss a bunch of people, so I guess I shouldn't even tell the names. For instance, we're making a board for Garrett here this month for a big paddling board. I know I can say his name because we're going to be making a paddling board for him for the outside reefs in Hawaii.
Cyrus: Is his goal to break Sion's record? Sion Milosky, who tragically passed away recently. I believe he set the record for the biggest wave ever paddled into?
Cyrus: Is that what Garrett's looking for you think, or has he said anything?
Jed: I don't know. No, he hasn't said anything with that. He just said that he just wants to paddle into some monsters.
Cyrus: Fair enough.
Jed: That's all he said, and so what we're actually doing. We've got a few of the guys who have seen my dad's board that he surfed at Makaha in 1969. That big, famous wave and all that stuff, we have that board here on display. We also have the board from 1964 that he's in the picture which John Severson took surfing at Third Reef Pipe which is a little premature, or I guess a little bit too archaic, so to speak, but this 1969 board, the boys see it, notice it, look at it, look at the templates and things. So what we're kind of doing is we're going to take some of the elements from what my dad used for that time period and kind of mix them in with what the guys are paddling in with now, so that's kind of our concept. We've got a couple people that we're going to do some really fun projects with that dad's going to be a part of as well. That's going to be the key. I'm going to do a lot of the heavy lifting, but dad's going to be a part of the design, the boys are going to be part of the design as well. Obviously, they've got their current boards they're going to be bringing in, we're going to take some concepts and see if we can make them something that they can paddle down into some monsters with.
Cyrus: That's great.
Jed: Yeah, that's going to be a fun project that's coming up.
Cyrus: Do you get a lot of tourists coming to Noll Surfboards?
Jed: We do. In fact, the cool thing is with our website and people kind of now beginning to understand that we're here and what we have, yeah, we get people coming in with the, "Yeah, we're in the area, and we had to stop by," type of thing, which is really cool.
Cyrus: That's great.
Jed: Yeah, because again, the stuff that we have on display from a museum aspect for the vintage boards and some of the historically significant parts like a pair of dad's original black and white board shorts, the surfboard, or a couple of the surfboards that he personally used for some pretty monumental times in his life that have basically been recorded, people have heard about. It's a pretty neat experience for people, and also we've got some cool movies playing and things like that that people can kind of trip out on. So, yeah, we're starting to get a little bit of that, and that's ultimately long term, I guess. Getting back to the question, "What do we want this to turn into?" It's the same thing. I want people to come here and, I guess, be able to soak in our family's history, but beyond that, hopefully just learn something. Walk away from here knowing something they didn't know when they walked in here. That would be cool.
Cyrus: Yes it would.
Jed: If somebody can walk in and, again, because we recreate boards as early as the 1800s with the ancient Hawaiian alaias and Olos and things like that, all the way through to basically what I'm doing today with the foam finless boards and whatever else it may be. In our gallery, having boards that represent the Duke Kahanamoku plank era, having boards that represent the Hawaiian Hot Curl era, having boards that represent the ancient alaias and Olos. The Bob Simmons boards, the balsa Bob Simmons boards, the balsa beach boards, and Malibu Chip boards. Having representations of all of these different eras and basically important parts in the evolution of the surfboard, generally somebody's going to find something in there that they didn't really know or can kind of connect the dots between something which is actually very easy to do. When you see all these boards in one place and you can kind of watch how the templates went from one to the next to the next generation, it's a pretty neat thing.
Cyrus: It's a very neat thing.
Jed: The Surfing Heritage Foundation is the most amazing thing that you can do if you're really interested in that. Literally, it goes all the way through. It's expansive, but we kind of have that all condensed into one room with boards made out of beautiful woods, not originals. So, you still get that kind of representation.
Cyrus: If people want to come in and just buy a board without getting it custom shaped, do you have a good stock as well of boards for people to choose from?
Jed: It totally varies to be honest. We had a big stock of boards, and we found that more people were always interested in getting custom stuff from us, and so it was kind of, again, as you would know from your experience, it's a lot of surfboards sitting around when we're taking custom orders. What's the point? It looks cool, but really, what's the point? So, yeah, we've always got a selection but it's generally 20, 30 boards. That's about it.
Cyrus: That's solid.
Jed: And that spans the spectrum of stuff. That's the way it's been, anyways, in the recent past. But that's not including the recreations like the wooden recreations and things like that which generally, in the gallery, we've got anywhere from six to twelve different boards. Again, just depending on the rotation of what we're doing. And that's not counting the boards on the ceiling which, again, they're not for sale. So generally there's always probably 50 boards in here all the time, but they're all different components I guess.
Cyrus: Everywhere you look there's boards, just random boards. It's crazy. Your business has nowhere to go but up, and it's going to keep going up. It's Noll Surfboards in San Clemente, the website is www.nollsurfboards.com and for people who want to know the easiest way to get here how do you get here?
Jed: I-5 South or North, basically. You exit Pico Avenue in San Clemente and you go towards the beach. As soon as you hit PCH you turn left, and we're on the left hand side about 200 yards down.
Cyrus: Perfect. Or if you have Google Maps, just put in Noll Surfboards and it'll pop right up. This was very educational. Thank you so much Jed!
Jed: Thank you.