Spider Murphy is shaping boards for over a 55 year period, he has developed a consultative style that brings out the best from some of the world’s most innovative surfers. It has been said that twice, he has successfully disrupted the world’s surfboard industry with his creations: First with Shaun Tompson’s “Pink Banana” Pipeline board he created in 1974 and then again with green “The Saint” 5’5″ twinnie for Martin Potter in 1981…
Who are you? Where are you living/surfing/shaping?
Spider Murphy, Durban, South Africa, Safari Surfboards.
When and how did you start surfing?
When I was around 11 years old, my Grandfather bought me a wooden dumper board and after catching my first wave, I was hooked.
When and how did you start shaping?
I couldn’t find a board to suit my size and in desperation decided to make my own. I purchased a block of Styrofoam, glued a wooden stringer down the middle & proceeded to shape it with the aid of my Mother’s breadknife & cheese grater, finishing off with sandpaper then glassed it with epoxy resin. That would have been around 1960.
Do you remember the first board you shaped? How was it?
This was the board as mentioned above.
Which surfer had the biggest impact on your shaping?
Shaun Tomson had the biggest influence on my shaping. He has always been a true professional and we would go surfing to help me understand what he needed. He always gave me positive feedback.
Which is the best board you have ever shaped back in the days? Who for?
The Pipeline Model for Shaun Thomson, which was a game changer that allowed Shaun to go on to win the 1977 World Champs.
Which was the most important era for you?
Each era has seen important developments which have contributed today’s designs.
Who is your favorite surfer from the 60’s-90’s and why?
Shaun Tomson was only one of many.
Who is your favorite shaper from the 60’s-90’s and why?
Mike Diffenderfer. He hand drew his outline without a template, shaping clean curves with good rockers and foiled rails. Other shapers I looked up to were, Dick Brewer, Terry Fitzgerald, Tom Parish, Mark Richards, Shawn Stussy and Simon Anderson.
I respect all shapers especially those who had to hand shape in the early years. I know and understand the hard work which went into those boards.
The boards now days are more accurate with the aid of shaping machines. I enjoy the new technology combined with my experience which enables me to be motivated and create new designs.