An Interview with Hayden Cox from Hayden Shapes Surfboards

Hayden Shapes Interview


Hayden Shapes Surfboards originated out in Australia quickly Hayden Cox the founder has grown to international stardom shaping boards for some of the worlds hottest surfers including Craig Anderson & Creed McTaggart. Thanks to the GSI the boards are now available around the world and have proved to be a hot ticket especially in the UK being the brand and board of choice in many quivers for 2014. The current line up of boards includes the Hypto Krypto, Psychedelic Germ and Shred Sled.

We have been lucky enough here at Shore to catch up with Hayden to find out a bit more about him, his technologies and what the future holds for Hayden Shapes Surfboards. Check it all out below.

1. What did you aspire to be when you were growing up? Was life as a shaper always on the cards?

I shaped my first surfboard when I was 15 years old. Within that year, after shaping boards for friends and teachers at my school I decided to start the business – Haydenshapes. Im 32 now and cant see myself doing anything else.

2. What inspired you to shape your first board? What kind of board was it and how did it surf?

I broke my favourite board and didn’t have the money to buy a new one – so I thought that making one was the next best option. My first board was a 5’11 X 18 X 2 1/8 thruster shorty and to be honest, it didn’t go that great at all.

3. Within the industry you have developed a reputation for being somewhat of a scientist when it comes to board design and materials, opting to break free of the conventions of traditional board construction with FutureFlex Technology (carbon framed boards) and combined this with surfboard shapes that push the boundaries. How was FutureFlex born? Was it a gradual progression of ideas that lead to conceiving the idea of a stringer-less carbon framed board, or did the design develop some other way?

I tend to geek out a fair bit when it comes to design, materials and playing around with new concepts. With FutureFlex, I knew that I wanted something more lightweight with more speed, but also something that kept its liveliness and new board feel for longer. I started playing around with ideas and working with Carbon Fiber. There was nothing on the market available in terms of materials, so ended up needing to get everything custom designed to my spec.
Tom Carroll rode the first ever FutureFlex prototype. It was long after that I decided to get a patent.

Hayden Shapes Interview 2

4. The Hypto Krypto is the board you are probably most associated with and famous for. When you shaped this board with Craig initially did you see it gaining mass appeal? Likewise with boards such as the Shred Sled and Psychedelic Germ; fun, performance and usability seem to be at the forefront of the designs; do you think it is for this reason as to why they are proving to be successful?

Believe it or not, the Hypto Krypto sat around in Craigs shed at his house for nearly a year before he rode it. When he did, he couldn’t get off of it and it quickly became his favourite board.
This is the most versatile model I have shaped thus far which was my intention. Pretty much anyone from a beginner to a pro can get on this board and have fun. The shape is also complimented by FutureFlex , as is The Shred Sled and the Psychedelic Germ. The features of my boards are not for aesthetic, but for function and usability, which is why people get psyched when, they ride them.

5. Hayden Shapes has grown as rapidly as brand, on an international scale. At what point did it occur to you that you wanted to take your product to the global market? The steps to achieving this goal with GSI must have been phenomenal. What would you say the most challenging aspect was in commercially outputting your surfboards? i.e. was it the manufacturing process, quality control, marketing?

I always knew that I had a great product first and foremost and that my designs were not limited or solely just suited to the Australian market. I had been selling boards in Japan and USA for a number of years before we signed on with GSI, but at a far smaller scale. When it comes to, manufacturing processes of my boards, quality and marketing – these are things that I would never hand over to any third party to control. GSI have been fundamental in working with us to get the product to market and service our retailers all around the world. Their distribution in surfboards is second to none – they have it dialed.

Hayden Shapes Interview 2

6. How and when did your surfer / shaper relationship start with Craig Anderson? From what we gather he doesn’t like to over-elaborate when feeding back on a board, just whether “it goes good” or not!

I have been shaping Craigs boards for 10 years now. Over that time, their has been a trusting relationship built where I work with him on his equipment based on watching him surf, new ideas I have as well as the feedback he does give. He isn’t too technical, but he knows what feels good and what doesn’t.

7. We have seen glimpses of Creed McTaggart riding a square tail Hypto Krypto - are you able to shed any light on this? What inspired it, and more importantly what has the feedback been? Is the square tail going to be made available in production boards?

Creed has been riding a few new models that I have been playing with of late that he loves. I spend a lot of time working on new models and don’t release anything unless I’m 100% happy with it. There is a new one dropping soon, so stay tuned.

8. Whats next for Hayden Shapes? Are there plans for more GSI models? Will you be doing a shaping tour in Europe etc?

A lot brands are focused on pushing out new models, because that’s part of their yearly agenda. I don’t really work that way and spend a lot of time on R & D. Two new models will be launched this year, one being the Merlot, one of our most popular sellers in the custom program.

9. Finally looking forward and the future of surfing. Any thoughts on where you see it going. Wave Gardens, Kelly Slater Wave Pools etc .

I’m all about change and innovation when it comes to surf. I like modern materials and processes – that is what excites me. I like the idea of wave pools, perhaps that will be a new breed of pro’s coming through in the future? Competitive Surfers, Free Surfers, Pool Surfers? Excited to see where it goes and how board designs might evolve also.

A big thanks to Hayden for the interview and the rest of our Friends at Hayden Shapes Surfboards for sorting out the interview

Hayden Shapes Interview 2
Posted in News On 16/04/2014 20:48
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