Eiji Shiomoto - Eiji Surf Designs
Surfers from all over the world travel to the Surf Coast to sample raw Southern Ocean swells, and discover the birth-place of iconic Australian surfers, shapers, brands and surf-breaks. A must–visit destination along the Surf Coast of Victoria is the Australian National Surfing Museum, nestled between the offices of Rip Curl, Quicksilver and Surfing Victoria. Among the museum’s heritage collection of boards is a shaping bay, home to Eiji Shiomoto’s plan shapes, saws and power tools. Through a fitting surfboard-shaped porthole, museum visitors can watch Eiji combine skill and passion to create some lucky bugger’s next magic board.
Eiji is a 65-year-old grom who froths equally hard on hand-shaping boards and long-walled point breaks. Born and raised in Japan, Eiji became hooked on surfing when his family moved from Yokohama City to the beachside town of Kamakura in the mid 1960’s. It was there, as a fresh-faced 13 year old, that Eiji received his first surfboard from a close friend.
He was introduced to shaping a little later. When his brother, an avid car-racer, quit surfing to focus on motorsport, he gifted Eiji a 9’6” longboard. Quickly deciding he was a shortboarder, Eiji ripped the fiberglass off the heavy log and promptly sawed two feet’s worth of foam from the nose.
After (re)shaping his 7’6”, Eiji became infatuated with board design, and shaped his first new board from scratch at 16. In those days, there were few shapers around so like his local idols he rolled up his sleeves and got dusty.
Fast-forward to 1977 – as a 23 year old, Eiji was still observing and learning under the tutelage of the older Kamakura locals. He began shaping boards, fins and doing repairs, as surfing began to explode in popularity across Japan.
After moving between Japan and Hawaii for many years to surf and shape, Eiji moved to Australia in 1993. Eiji first moved to the Gold Coast dreaming of perfect Kirra, but after back-to-back flat spells, he grew restless. So Eiji contacted a friend he met a year earlier in Bali, who was living in Melbourne, and travelled South to Victoria around Easter-time.
During this trip, Eiji was introduced to another famous right-hand point: Winkipop. While he didn’t score in ’93, he returned in ’94 with one focus – surf Winki. And boy did he score. So he moved to Torquay, and the rest, as they say, is history. Despite approaching 70 years of age, Eiji still loves shaping and watching people have a blast on his craft. He also still surfs his beloved Winki as much as possible – so if you see in out there, give him a yell!