At just 16, Michael Becker was making surfboards in his backyard with his parents financing his project.
Now he has his own surf shop called Natures Shapes making custom boards right in Sayville. The boards are made to order—whatever size, color, or design you want. “We try to keep everything locally made here,” he says.
Inside his workshop, the entire process goes from a piece of foam to precision shaping using computer software, to perfect pigments mixed by hand. "The machine knows X-Y-Z and machine reads it and cuts the shape. We refine any small changes," he explained.
For the color, they will do whatever the customer chooses to design. Their painter has been mixing for more than 50 years and sometimes he uses several pigments for hours to get the perfect shade.
Mike's own experience as a lifetime Long Island surfer allows him to provide tips for custom boards based on local waters, types of waves—making each creation ideal to surf local waters.
"This is a custom-made board for the Skudins for Wounded Warriors Project and they do it for a fundraiser every year," Becker explained. But if you really want to do all the work, there's a workshop in Amagansett that lets you literally take over and build your very own board. "We teach people how to make hollow wood surfboards," Becker said.
Grain Surf is for beginners to pros. No experience necessary. "Anyone can do it," according to Peter Spacek who has been surfing 49 years. He moved permanently to Long Island in 1980 and surfs "mostly secret spots in Montauk."
"I'll be able to surf it 4 days from now," he said. It's a labor of love —from woodworking to sanding and planing with woodworking tools. Owners Brian and Ainsely Schopfer help with every part of the process in the 3-4 day workshop.
"This is something I will have forever I will give it to my daughter," Schopfer said. Brian explains people bond with their creations. It's easy to see how doing the work by hand increases your investment. It really is a chance you cannot pass up. For more information on crafting your own board, visit here.