San Clemente shaper ranks No. 1 in WSL’s unique surfboard-builder competition
By Jake Howard
On Sept. 9, the first San Clemente Boardbuilders Hall of Fame will induct its inaugural class as the centerpiece of the new Rhythm and Resin Festival in the Los Molinos District.
And while this go-around will largely celebrate the pioneers and tribal elders of the shaping community, the future is wide open.
In keeping with the town’s tradition of providing a safe haven for some of the world’s most notorious surfboard-building talent, San Clemente’s Matt “Mayhem” Biolos won the WSL’s Vissla Championship Tour Shaper Rankings.
To support surfboard builders, the WSL this year launched a unique competition to see which surfboard labels enjoyed the most competitive success on the Championship Tour. Over the course of the season, points were awarded to each surfboard brand based on the results of the surfers riding said brand.
Given just how prolific Biolos’ designs are on the Championship Tour, from this writer’s perspective, he seemed an obvious frontrunner to win the Shaper Rankings.
Other international brands vying for the top spot included Australian-based DHD, Sharp Eye (with roots in Brazil), Channel Islands in Santa Barbara and Pyzel in Hawaii.
Five-time world champ and Olympic gold medalist Carissa Moore, who has been riding Biolos’ designs since she was a teenager, won the first event of the year at Pipe and set the pace. After that, it was San Clemente’s Griffin Colapinto’s turn to shine. Putting together the best career of his life, a string of runner-up finishes and a win at the Surf Ranch Pro kept the roll going.
Then it was Brazil’s Yago Dora’s turn to get in on the action. Leveraging his patented silky-smooth style and radical air game, Dora took out the Rio Pro. And to end the season on a high note, San Clemente resident Caroline Marks earned a much-deserved win in Tahiti to clinch the Shaper Rankings for Biolos.
“As the season progressed and our crew was doing well, I still didn’t want to highlight it through our social media or marketing,” Biolos explained on his Instagram account. “It felt like bragging, and I didn’t want to jinx our surfers, or distract from their work. But after a while, I realized that so many surfing fans and friends were following and paying attention.”
“Although I don’t believe it makes our brand, or our staff, any better than other brands or shapers that live and work in this stressful, challenging game of building boards for the world’s best, it does feel good to have our team perform well and have a spotlight on our passion and craft,” he continued. “Definitely need to thank our main backup shapers, Jeff Widener and Chris Kaysen, as well as Gian Bernini (Team Manager), Mike Kinna (Team glassing), as well as the entire staff at Lost Surfboards.”
With Biolos taking the win, Sharp Eye landed in second, thanks to big years by San Clemente resident Filipe Toledo and Aussie Jack Robinson, while DHD landed in third. Rounding out the top five were Pyzel in fourth and Channel Islands in fifth.
It’s a theme you’ve read about in this column before, but once again, we see San Clemente standing tall on the global surf stage.
Biolos’ win isn’t just a win for him and his team at Lost; it’s proof positive that when it comes to contributing to the sport and culture of surfing at the most elite level, this area continues to produce world-class talent.