by Alison, 04/04/2014

Heading to California, my mind was filled with ideas about surfing and surf culture. Surfing brands whether we like it or not are a permanent part of that culture. While some brands are youth-centric, throw away fashion items that mould and shape them-selves to the times, there are those that manage to hold past and present in the same space and make items that I think any surfer would covet. 

Specifically seriously beautiful surf-boards. Bing is one of these brands. Their surf boards could be works of art in their own right. In its purest sense, that is what surf board shaping is in my mind. An art-form, pure sculptor. Shapers see the shape within the foam and set it free.  Before going to California, I emailed Margaret Calvani to see whether it would be ok to visit their factory in Encinitas. Matt and Margaret Calvani are the couple who now own and run Bing surfboards. Margaret was kind enough to organise their manager Adam to meet up with us, bring us around and answer our questions.

Even though Bing would be considered a specialised, niche producer, making about 1,200 boards a year, their history and global distribution put them on a different scale to anything we had seen before. Shapers we have met in Ireland tend to work alone. They tend to make boards for individual customers rather then designing and marketing specific models. However within the Bing factory the sense of craftsmanship was still strong. Every model has only been approved after multiple trials and tests and each aspect of the individual boards is scrutinised before being shipped or placed in the show-room.

After visiting the factory we swung by their new shop, which was like being a kid in a candy store. I've never seen so many beautiful, glossy, alternative boards in one room. I was itching to try the different models. Luckily for my wallet and unluckily for my quiver the fact that we were heading to Nicaragua meant that buying another board wasn't an option. However I might have a very large favour to ask of the next person I know visiting Cali ;p

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