Josh Hall

They say you’re a product of your environment.

If that’s true, then I’m not sure I could have grown up in a better city than San Diego. There, along with its uniquely formed stretch of reefs and sand banks, a cast of colorful characters and varied surf breaks would ultimately shape the style of surfer and designer I’d become.

More specifically, the miles of coast known as Pacific Beach is where I learned most of what I know about riding waves and (later on) making surfboards. I spent a lot of time at its varied breaks listening to and observing, great surfers and shapers like Hank Warner, Eric “Bird” Huffman, Joe Roper, Glenn Horn, Larry Mabile and others. However, at the center of that unique surfing community was the most influential of them all; Skip Frye. Who from the age 18 on, took me under his wing, sharing all he knew about surfing and board design.

Blending rich history with progressive design

Style was everything in that town. It wasn’t just about how effortlessly and beautifully you rode the wave, style trickled down to all aspects of our culture—and, of course, our surfboards. From afar, our equipment appeared minimalistic, but a closer inspection revealed a far more involved and refined design program than you’d think. Flat rocker and sharp edge tails were a given for achieving the top end trim speed we all sought. However, the finely foiled rails, dialed fin set-ups and precisely placed bottom contours were delicately fine-tuned with the purpose to foster quick direction changes and tight arcs for addressing the short lived pockets and flat spots our type of waves often served up. Something I’d later learn translates to a majority of surf breaks globally.

The aforementioned crew in PB clued me in on surf history and board design both locally and abroad. It wasn’t until I got the incredible opportunity to film with Thomas Campbell for his movie “the Seedling” that I was exposed to the groundbreaking Joel Tudor/Donald Takayama program of the mid-to-late nineties. Together Joel and DT changed the surfing world forever by re-imaging long forgotten designs from the 60s and 70s. It was during that time I began to round out my surfing point of view with a mix of classic log shapes, eggs, and single fin-style boards—genres of boards I’d one day start shaping myself. So it’s accurate to say my approach today is a blend of influences from Skip and Joel. Skip’s guidance moved me away from the old 60s shapes, encouraging me to tap into high trim speeds and hard tail edges for better performance and control. Complimenting this was Joel’s appreciation for traditional designs that he dug up from the archives and reintroduced their best attributes to modern day shapes. Together, this combo of influences brought me to my current sweet spot of a truly blended surfing approach and design aesthetic.

I’m very honored Skip built my boards for a long time while I developed as a surfer and a person. While I eventually picked up the planer and never looked back, I continually seek his guidance and mentorship. Connecting instantly with the hand craft of shaping surfboards, I’ve since created over 25 models that I’ve enjoyed testing locally and on overseas adventures. 4000 plus shapes later I now own and operate a complete board building factory near Old Town San Diego, Shoreline Glassing; employing the finest craftsman in the board building industry.

Today, I am proud to share with my customers the unique design thread that developed in San Diego, which includes everything from the Steve Lis style of fish to Skip Frye’s big boards some people now call gliders. And while these designs were created to meet the specific needs of my hometown’s breaks, there is such a wide range of wave types here that I guarantee I have a design that will meet the needs of your hometown’s breaks.

Thank you for considering my designs—I look forward to meeting you in the shaping bay one day soon. And, of course, if I’m not here powering away you know where I will be.

Aloha,

Josh Hall.

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