Corey Graham - Corey Graham Shapes
Corey Graham is one of the more unique and most respected shapers from the Surf Coast. Constantly pushing the boundaries of surfboard design, Corey’s been dubbed the “Willy Wonka of Torquay” by Swellnet for the vast array of different crafts he produces out of his Baines Crescent factory.
Corey continuously questions the rules of shaping. “Why is everything as it is?” His constant challenge of the norm has lead to the design of some truly alternative boards – from 5’5” channelled twins, to 8’10” BFT’s (Big Friendly Twin), and everything in-between. Nothing is accepted without first being considered. If you’ve been into his shop, or stumbled across his Instagram, you would’ve noticed some vibrant shapes and designs in his craft. More recently, Corey has been experimenting with some prototype finless boards. Not to mention the 4’3” ‘stand up and boogie’ and the ‘snap fang’ asymmetrical. The diversity in his work is limitless.
Corey’s aim is to continuously make boards that push the boundaries of design and ultimately, enhance ones ability to have fun. After all, surfing is supposed to be fun. These days, surfing is starting to be hijacked by the “not-fun”, as competitiveness and waves counts are becoming priority. “Sometimes [the fun] is forgotten when you’re too performance orientated, or you’re too hard on yourself for not performing at the level you should be. That stuff’s a drainer. If you’re going out and having fun, and watching other people have fun, you can spread the good vibes. I like being apart of that”.
From a young age, Corey was always infatuated with surfboards, shaping and design. He was brought up surrounded by surfboards, as his father Russell had his own surfboard factory. After years of hassling his old man, he eventually wore Russell down and he gave Corey the biggest, thickest, “most horrible blank” he could find. His instructions were simple: “plane it ‘til there’s nothing left, make the blank disappear”. That was his first introduction to shaping. No mask, no worries. Raw.
With each new board, came new ideas and concepts. “I’ve learned more from my bad boards than I have from my good boards. All good boards feel good, what’s there to learn from? Bad boards will teach you things that good boards can’t”. There’s no book or “Dummie’s” guide on how to shape a surfboard. “When you’re shaping, you’re actually learning what’s up and why. Not just reading words on a page”.
For Corey, new ideas are always sparking. One particular concept came about when he was watching the Formula One on TV one night. How can surfing be related to the Grand Prix you ask? The F1 race commentators were speaking about how more than 50% of the down-force of Formula One cars, is now created from under the body. This was a light-bulb moment; Corey started experimenting with channels, concaves and curves under his boards to chase different results and feelings. If it worked for cars, then why not surfboards?
These light-bulb moments are a common occurrence for Corey. So much so, that in order to be able to move on, Corey has to “slay the beast” and shape the board in his head so he can concentrate on what he calls “proper paid work”. All these funky and alternative designs are now stored up stairs at Corey’s factory, continuously being added to.
On the wall in Corey’s shaping bay, written in resin dust is: “As far as design goes, I believe we have not scratched the surface”. Nothing is accepted for being as it is. His questioning mind is always thinking about the next board and what can be done to improve his craft, while daring to do what others won’t.