Marcus Hyett - Hydro Theory
Marcus Hyett loves shaping serious, high-performance bullets for big waves. At 28 with 6 years in the bay, and a love of powerful waves, Marcus is a good guy to turn to when you want quality foam under your feet.
Growing up in Port Campbell, surfing was second nature. The family regularly surfed the early together.
"[My dad] was a mad keen surfer, and made damn sure that his children would be too - I'm very thankful for that.”
When did you first start shaping?
I taught myself to shape a surfboard at home, on my own. I'd shaped 5 fairly-respectable boards before I met Maurice Cole. He needed a sander, and I needed help. I spent the next 4 years with him building his boards, and learning to handshape under his watchful eye. Not just physically shaping boards and using tools, but how to look at a board, understand the complex relationships between curves, and hydrodynamic theory.
Who from the Surf Coast inspires you to shape?
Corey Graham and Greg Brown are incredible craftsmen. It's all about being able to do it all, making a board from start to finish, and that's something I really enjoy.
Describe what you're shaping at the moment.
The majority of boards I'm making are around the 6ft mark, either high-performance shortboards and a lot of step-down, fun boards. Growing up I always rode shortboards, so did my mates, so that's the majority of what I've been shaping. I had a quad fish shaped by Eiji Shiomoto that I rode a lot just before I started shaping, so it was also one of the first boards I wanted to recreate. It sent me down a rabbit hole of small, quad-fin fun boards, and twins. It's hard to have a bad surf on one, and they're what I usually ride. They're fast, flat, and have a bit more volume, but with the right curves and fin placement you can make them turn like a shortboard, and actually hold in fairly large surf. I don't like being pigeonholed though, I pride myself on being able to make different boards for different conditions, because that what I like surfing, too.
Your board art and colouring work is sick, has that always been a part of your shaping style?
The colour work on boards has really just evolved from what people have ordered, and I guess it's turned into a bit of its own style. Once people realised I'd do anything they asked on their boards, the colours and combinations started coming thick and fast.
Resin tints are definitely my strength. I've gone months without doing a clear board. It was appealing to people, and I didn't charge any extra for it - I realised it helped me get the orders.
I've never really been much of an "artist" - I certainly can't do anything too complex with my airbrush, but I'm pretty handy with a roll of tape and pride myself on my pin lines and cut laps. I'm essentially a professional sticky-taper.
As surfboard lovers, what can we do to reduce the environmental impact of board manufacturing?
Every surfboard, at some point, is going to end up in landfill. An environmentally sustainable surfboard is one that lasts a lifetime - and is not beat to death, snapped, and replaced every 6 months. People know they're made from nasty petrochemicals, but they don't see the amount of waste is generated to produce their board.
What we need to do is make surfboards that last, and reduce the toxic waste they create in the process. I've started producing SustainSurf Certified Ecoboards, which use basically no resin, no fibreglass and require no finish sanding.
They're simply an EPS core (still not very green, but with some recycled content, now up to 70%), sealed with water-resistant, vacuum-bagged timber skins that contort to the rocker, and contours of the blank's core. They've got a cork rail and a water-based varnish finish. I've been surfing my first prototype for months and it's shown no signs of wear and tear. The waste generated by these boards comes only from shaping the core, and the wood offcuts go in my green bin. As a board that's essentially encased in timber, with a twin parabolic stringer, the weight's around the same as a normal PU or EPS board. The issue is the added labour and material costs, which drives up a price a little. But are there more environmentally-sustainable ways to make a modern surfboard? Yes.
What's your favourite board that you've shaped?
The first board I shaped was a 5'10" quad-fin, chambered Paulownia timber fish. It took me over 6 months to build, and then I sank it, first surf out at Winkipop, as water seeped through the joins. I was able to dry it out, and ended up glassing it to be safe, and did have some fun sessions on it, but it was way to heavy to be practical. It lit the spark, and I've never looked back. I'll keep it forever.
How do you approach designing boards for others?
I try to ensure every board I offer has been designed, tested and refined to suit certain conditions, and to perform in those conditions. Fortunately they've appealed to other surfers! The tow boards and guns I've shaped have been for friends hell-bent on riding big waves, and I'm stoked they've worked.
If there was one board you could ride forever, and one local wave you could ride forever, what would they be?
Low-tide Bells bowl, on my Chakra Twin, it's such a versatile little thing and it sings.
If you could surf the Melbourne wave pool, would you be down?
I would kill to surf it.
What would you ride?
One of my Twin+1 models, either my Chakra-Twin or Rehab models. Maybe even my Golden Boy shortboard, I need to see this wave first!