Story by Shinya Dalby
You build a thing. You use the thing. And let’s be honest, in the world of heavy mass production, this is encouraged and applauded. Enthusiastic left-brainers around the globe are DIY-ing the heck out of everything. And you know what? It’s awesome to be able to make something good, make something sing and make something which other people use and adore. You know, your beardy pal with the ink that builds furniture from scratch? That band bro with the diastema, who shreds on his own self-built guitar? Or, what about Max Stewart, the 22 year old North Sydney shaper dude, who made boards for Haydenshapes and now builds his own crafts under the name Eye Symmetry? Today we shoot breeze with Max about getting dirty hands…
Stab: What got you into shaping your own boards?
Max: Curiosity! I just wanted to see how changes to design affected my board’s performance in the water. Also, kind words from friends when I was first-hand shaping boards gave me the confidence to keep going.
How long did you work under Haydenshapes for and what did you do there? I made boards for Haydenshapes for three years. I was purely in a manufacturing-based role. I took responsibility of the team program from a manufacturing sense. Hayden would design and shape the boards, give them to me to finish, ready to be surfed. In 2012 I travelled to Southern California with Haydenshapes to assist a new team in the manufacturing of epoxy surfboards in the USA.
Max and the HQ.
Where are you headed? For right now, I want to establish Eye Symmetry, here in Sydney. I also wanna get back to America this year and be super productive. I was in the States back in October for two months, building boards, sourcing new materials and establishing new customers. That was a good trip. Basically, I just want to continue building quality boards and look at producing in higher volume, gradually.
There are a lot of shapes, designs, ideas floating around. Anything you’d bring that we should note? Hmm… I feel a lot of shapers are avidly pursuing an increased longitudinal flex (nose to tail flex) in surfboards, which I personally believe is detrimental to the board’s performance. This got me thinking, a surfboard which has a minimal longitudinal flex with a comparably increased torsional flex (rail to rail flex), means superior performance. That’s just me being curious. Hopefully I’ll have something solid to show soon, based on this theory.
Besides that, I’m proud to say we’re making the lightest, strongest boards on the market. With an epoxy resin laminate, combined with premium glass fabrics on a stringered PU core, we’ve been making solid boards with great performance. I’ve also used hand-laid carbon and Kevlar which is recessed into the foam surface on the deck of some of our boards in a hatched formation to increase impact resistance while also reducing weight.
Finally, tell us the importance of getting off of our asses and making shit happen? Well, Tom Carroll once told me that the best things are always hard fought for and that your true values will not be recognised otherwise. Those words really stuck with me and I think that’s the most rewarding thing about applying yourself in general, achieving what you set out to do!
Pay Max a visit at the Eye Symmetry Facebook page.