Al Merrick Surfboards
Are you looking for a surfboard that’s original and of high quality? Al Merrick is the way to go when it comes to innovative boards made with the highest quality craftsmanship and dedication. They have been shaping surfboards for over thirty years and their early years were a grass-roots effort. Since the beginning, Al Merrick has been committed to cutting edge design which led the Channel Islands surf company to serve some of the best and popular surfers out there. Each surfboard is shaped by the greatest surfers who know what it takes to get a high performing board as the final product.
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Article by Drew Namdets
Have you heard of Al Merrick? If you're a surfer and you haven't, then you definitely should. Mr. Merrick is responsible for designing some of the most innovative surfboards on the market today. In fact, he's arguably become the most renowned shaper of surfboards, on planet Earth. If you choose one of the quality channel islands surfboards available, then you'll be buying one of the most state-of-the-art boards on the market. In fact, many of the world's top surfers have purchased at least one surfboard that's been shaped by Merrick.
Although Al Merrick was born in New Jersey, his family relocated to Florida, and then one of the surfing Meccas of the world: sunny California. Merrick actually began surfing when he was 10 years old, so his expertise and innovation in shaping surfboards have their roots in his passion for surfing.
Al attended San Dieguito High School (along with legendary surfer Rob Machado). During his high school years, Mr. Merrick was sponsored by Surfboards Hawaii, and actually helped to shape a noserider surfboard. After graduating from San Dieguito, Merrick began attending Palomar College. However, he soon realized that college wasn't his thing.
The surfboard shaper John Price was Merrick's hero, and the former's surfboards provided the inspiration for the latter to begin shaping surfboards full-time. Before he created channel islands surfboards, the industry's shift from longboards to shortboards motivated Al to shape boards.
An important event in Merrick's life happened in 1965. That's when he relocated to Santa Barbara, CA. There, he was present when George Greenough and Bob McTavish tested some revolutionary surfboards for several weeks. This event further inspired Merrick to dedicate his life to shaping surfboards.
It's important to note that Al was still relatively unknown in the world of surfboard shaping. This was quite ironic, since in 1977 Shaun Tomson won the world title of surfing, on surfboards that Al Merrick had shaped. However, that would soon change. The surfer Tom Curren became somewhat of a prodigy of Merrick's. Curren became a professional surfer in 1982. Soon afterwards, Merrick's surfboard company,channel islands surfboards was launched.
The popularity of surfboards from Channel Islands paralleled the fame and success of Curren. Curren became an idol for surfers everywhere, as they wanted to imitate his signature moves. And not only did they want to copy his surfing style, but they also insisted on using the same equipment - surfboards from Channel Islands.
As they say, the rest is history. Other big-time surfers such as Taylor Knox, Kelly Slater, and Lisa Anderson would exclusively ride Merrick-shaped boards. Within time, it seemed like everybody who was anybody in the surfing world was riding a board that Merrick had shaped.
Since then, Merrick's company has been on the cutting edge of surfboards. He began mass-producing them in the 1990s. And today, he uses computers to shape virtually all of his boards. This makes the shaping process more efficient and precise. But the essence of the versatile and quality boards from Channel Islands continues to be the innovation from Merrick himself. With Al's son overseeing the production of the company's surfboards, the future of Channel Islands looks bright for the next generation of surfers.