Shifting the Path of Surfboard Shaping with Anna Talken
I’m studying Marine Biology so I know I’ll always live by the coast and surfing and shaping will always be a part of my life.
All Photos by Hannah Parker
Anna Talken has been shaping surfboards for four years. She learned at school.
Not kidding, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo college hosts shaping bays on campus and classes for students. Anna was one of the only women in the class to enroll and eventually after building a few boards was hired to become the first female instructor. Quarter after quarter, she’d teach surfers and non-surfers how to shape a surfboard.
Her marine ecology background makes her all the more attracted to seeking out more eco-thoughtful board building materials like bio-based resin and flax cloth.
Sounds like a good future shaper for all of us. Welcome Sisstr.
Anna learned to surf at Pacifica in a cold November and pretty much got wrecked, but stuck with it. After more sessions in Santa Cruz and along the central coast, she started shaping.
I would be able to come up with an idea in my head and then shape it, go out and try it. Figuring out my style as a surfer and a shaper at the same time which I think was kinda an interesting and unique opportunity.
Outside of the class instruction, Anna remembers looking up old interviews’ classic legendary guys like Simon Anderson and Bob McTavish soaking in how they approached shaping.
Anna names her mentors in a crew of well-known local backyard builders like Wyatt Levy, Jordan Davis, Adrian Broz and Nathan Doles; these were the guys who took her under their wing and really helped her hon in on skills. "It was great shaping with them especially because we'd all be working on different boards. I'd be making a fish, Adrian would be shaping a gun and Jordon would be working on some crazy asymmetrical."
Her goal is not to build her brand into a big-name mainstream surfboard selling house. Instead, like her mentors she’d like to as a craftswoman offer the art of surfing and board building to a community of surfers especially interested in custom shapes.
I think it’s cool that people are still really interested and still getting boards from local shapers and willing to support a hobby and a craft that I love doing.