FOR EVERY GREAT SURFER, COMES A GREAT SHAPER
The men behind the boards of the Cosmic Creek
With the first ever Australian Cosmic Creek coming to Byron Bay in just under a week, we thought why not give our audience the inside scoop on the boards being ridden during the comp.
Before we get stuck into each board and a little behind the scenes clip on our star shapers, check out the schedule below so you don’t miss a beat.
Byron Bay Surf Festival Schedule | September 7-11
Wednesday 7 September: Global premiere of George Greenough’s film – ECHOES
Thursday 8 September: Global premiere of Californian Jack Coleman’s NATURAL HIGH film
Friday 9 September: Tales From The Tube with Jack McCoy
Friday 9 and Saturday 10 September: Cosmic Creek surfing contest at The Wreck (pending surf conditions)
Saturday 10 September: Cosmic Creek presentation night and Gage Roads’ Forever Frothing Party at The Rails hotel
Saturday 10 September and Sunday 11 September: Wategos Wizards surfing event
Sunday 11 September: Festival closing party at Secret Garden with Varuna Surfboards
COSMIC CREEK SHAPER PROFILES
01 | Tony Cerff
First off is Tony Cerff, a Durban-born shaper who relocated to Australia in 1971 and immediately fell into the vibrant surfboard shaping community of Sydney’s northern beaches. There he started out blowing blanks and laminating for Midget Farrelly, whose boards he had earlier made under license in South Africa, but the pull of the warmer waters of northern New South Wales saw him relocate to the Byron Bay region. There he found full time work with the iconic Warren Cornish and shaped everything from Aipa stingers to MR twin fins and Michael Peterson models. Then in the mid 1980s he was offered a position with Town & Country shaping alongside Gunther Rohn and Nev Hyman for riders including Martin Potter, Shaun Thomson, Sunny Garcia, Johnny Boy Gomes, Conan Hayes, Andy Irons and Jake Patterson. He rose to the role of head shaper, later joining Gunther Rohn to shape for the Local Motion label, Rawson Hawaiian longboards and his own signature models. His time in the industry has seen him shape under labels including San Juan, Mad Dog, Town & Country, JET, Bare Nature, Local Motion and Mark Richards Surfboards. Tony remains in the Byron region and still shapes the occasional custom surfboard. The Tony Cerff-shaped board being used at Cosmic Creek Byron Bay is a Jett twin fin modelled off early MR boards.
02 | Gunther Rohn
Gunther Rohn is the quietly-spoken former South African surfer/shaper who relocated from Capetown to Australia in the early 1970s. He had been influenced in his early shaping years by the boards of travelling surfers and this inspired him to get involved in the experimental years of modern surfboard design. On arrival to Australia he started working for surfboard designer Geoff McCoy and worked alongside shaper Peter Lawrence until the call of the uncrowded lineup around the Lennox Head and Byron area saw him relocate out of Sydney. It was there that he carved out a career as a high-end performance shaper under labels including Town & Country, Local Motion and Timmy Patterson, along with his namesake label GR Surfboards (www.grsurfboards.com) which he continues to operate to this day. Surfers whose careers he helped make include Sunny Garcia, Jake Patterson, Trent Munro, Darren O’Rafferty, Pancho Sullivan, Anthony Walsh and Dion Atkinson, while he has also made craft for everyone from Kelly Slater, Andy Irons and Tom Curren through to Martin Pottz, Nicky Wood and Dusty Payne. He continues to work out of a factory at Ballina, just north of Byron Bay, making both stock and custom craft. The Gunther Rohn-shaped board being ridden at Cosmic is a single fin made under his own name around the mid 1970s.
03 | Al Byrne
Australia has made an industry around foreign surfer/shapers migrating to Australia and ultimately influencing global surfboard design. The late, great Allan Bryne was one such talent. The former New Zealander started shaping in 1969 while visiting Hawaii and continued in New Zealand under ex-pat Aussie shaper Bob Davies. But it was as a surfer he first started to make a name, winning the New Zealand junior title as a 13-year-old and culminating in a runner up finish in the Pipe Masters in what was one of the last great showdowns between a channel bottom single fin and the then brand new three-fin Thruster under the feet of surfer/shaper Simon Anderson. It was during one trip to a world title event in San Diego in the 1970s that he met Hawaiians David Nuuhiwa and Reno Abillira and through those friendships he ended up shaping in San Diego with the progressive Bill Caster. While he learned much about surfboard functionality from those around him, it was two years he spent as a naval cadet and studying hydrodynamics that would lead him down the path of refining and, ultimately, redefining channel bottom surfboards. Al, who relocated to Australia’s Gold Coast to fine tune his shaping, worked with the label Hot Stuff and launched his own brand Byrning Spears. He has shaped for some of surfing’s royalty, including Wayne Rabbit Bartholomew, Chappy Jennings and Gary Kong Elkerton. He passed away after an accident in Bali in 2013 but his legacy continues through his brother Ian, who with son Jacob operates The House of Byrne (@thehouseofbyrne), and with former business partner Dale Wilson who continues to operate Byrning Spears. The Allan Byrne boards being ridden at Cosmic are a pristine 1980 AI double flyer, swallow tail single fin with a distinctive ACDC spray.
04 | Shane Stedman
Shane Stedman is perhaps one of the ultimate creators and innovators. Born and raised around the wave-rich Crescent Head area on the New South Wales mid north coast and school in production engineering, Shane found himself at the pointy end of Australia’s surfboard shaping revolution through the 1960s and 70s. After honing his shaping skills alongside the likes of Dick Van Straalen and Kevin Brennan he moved to Sydney’s booming shaping community of Brookvale and set up what was affectionately termed The Shane Gang. It was a progressive group of surfers, shapers, designers, and glassers all committed to building a career in the fledgling surf industry. The list of creatives who passed through his factory reads like a who’s who of surfboard building. There was Ted Spencer, Terry Fitzgerald, Simon Anderson, Butch and Steve Cooney, Frank Latta, Richard Harvey, Glyn Ritchie, Chris Young, Richard Kavanagh, David Trealor, Josette Legarde and Jack and Gordon Knight. But to say he was just another shaper is short changing him. He produced perhaps one of the first ‘model’ surfboards with the Standard Shane models, producing more than 200 per week at its peak. You could write a book about Shane and fortunately he did. Grab a copy of The Shane Gang and read up on a life well lived. The Shane Stedman board being ridden at Cosmic Creek Byron Bay is a Shane Standard, one of the 6”4 single fins Shane put into mass production through the 1970s.