We’ve been fascinated by Wax Surfboards since the first time we came across their work in Brooklyn, NY many years ago. As we made the move to open our bricks-and-mortar shop in Toronto, we immediately knew that we needed to carry their boards. Over the course of the years, we have developed a beautiful friendship with Tyler Jorgenson, the brilliant mind behind Wax Surf Co. Over the past year and a half, we have introduced several of his custom surf crafts to our community on the lakes and other parts of Canada, and most of our team members have been riding his boards here and beyond. Shortly after we placed our most recent order of custom boards, Antonio took a trip down to Southern California to touch base with Tyler and had the opportunity to meet Jason Gera, the master glasser and owner at Golden State Glassing in Costa Mesa. Together, they are responsible for producing some of the most unique and highest performing surfboards we have ever ridden and we couldn’t be more proud to showcase their work to our communities north of the border. Over a couple beers and surf sessions at their spaces, we had the chance to dig a bit deeper into their histories and trajectories, and we compiled some of the best moments into this interview for your enjoyment.
Surf the Greats – What led you to become a shaper and when did you start?
Wax Surf Co – It was kind of born out of a combination of curiosity and necessity. I was fascinated and inspired by surfboard construction and the handmade nature or it and wanted to learn the details. I wanted something new, made by me, to enhance my connection with surfing. Also at the time I was building a lot of furniture in my shop and doing all sort of projects so I had a shop that was fully equipped for taking on all sorts of jobs. Little did I know that space would eventually become just a shaping bay and a small glassing room—8 years later here I am!
STG – How did you get involved with glassing surfboards?
Gold State Glassing – My dad has been a surfboard laminator since the 70s. He worked at a handful of glass shops in Orange County building Hobies, Robert August, Infinitys, Channel Islands, and Stussys among others. I grew up doing ding repair, changing floors and cleaning boards. After High School I started sanding at Oceanworks in Santa Ana. I was building everything from Al Merricks, Campbell Bros Bonzers, Hobie, Infinity, Carbonfiber Race SUPs, Kneeboards etc. After sanding for 15 years, I decided I needed a change. I left to work with Jed Noll in San Clemente for a year building all the Greg Noll wood boards and replica Noll models. In 2014 I opened Goldenstate Glassing in Costa Mesa with the help of my Laminator friend Brian Anderson. We are a two-man crew building about 20 boards a week. Our shop specializes in custom color work, glass-on fins, and gloss and polish high-end boards. We build Tanner Surfboards, Troy Elmore, EC, Alex Knost, Jared Mel, Spacetime Epoxy surfboards, Wax Surf and George Surfboards. All of our accounts are local shapers, but most of the boards get shipped all around the world, like Japan, South America, Canada, France, South Africa, Hawaii, Spain, New York, South Korea and more.
STG – Where does the inspiration for new boards usually come from?
WSC – Other than surfing itself and being on this never-ending quest for uncharted territory both in nature and in the shop?! I have also met so many people along the way I have realized that they are the ones who inspire me. Learning about those people and being influenced by their own personal ethos has definitely inspired me to push myself in so many ways.
STG – When Shaping a surfboard, what is the most important attribute to pay attention to?
WSC – When I am shaping I am not really thinking about surfboards. I am thinking about those sensations you feel when you surf that words can't even come close to explaining. There are so many memories of surfing certain spots that are locked in my mind forever—absolutely amazing experiences. Those are the things that influence the details of my boards. I try and relive those moments when I am shaping.
STG – When you started glassing surfboards what was your biggest learning curve?
GSG – I probably have over 85,000 boards built under my belt. The only way to get good at making surfboards is to build lots and lots of them. You really don’t understand until you hit around 1000. I was sanding 5000 boards a year for 15 years. Brian has been laminating since 2002 and worked all up the west coast. It pays to work in a large shop where you can get your hands on a few thousand a year and learn from the older guys who have been building boards for decades.
STG – In your opinion, what makes your shapes unique?
WSC – Every shaper has at least a few board models. Mine are sort of a weird mish mash between east coast beach breaks and right-handed So Cal point breaks. I have the Special Ops shape which is more of an all-around board for everyday waves. But when the waves get really good I have the Vato Loco shape which is more of a performance shape. For easier summer days up in Malibu I have an egg and fish style shape. And now I have lake versions of all of these shapes as well so I guess that’s pretty rad!
STG – What sets you apart from other glassing companies?
GSG – Our passion for quality work. You won’t find any clear shortboards in our glass shop—only colors, longboards, glass on fins, gloss and polishes, inlines etc. I was also fortunate enough to put myself through college at Cal State Long Beach earning both a Finance and Business management degree. This has been a huge help running a successful business. Hard work is the only way to make money in this business.
STG – Who is your biggest shaping influence?
WSC – It would be mash-up between Jeff Mcallum and Chris Christenson.
STG – When designing lake boards what do you do differently?
WSC – Slightly straighter profiles, tighter fin clusters, flatter rockers, and a little more volume.
STG – Do you face any challenges working so close with so many shapers?
GSG – Every shaper has their own expectations and pet-peeves. It is important to learn to treat everyone differently and adapt to the needs of both the shapers and the customers.
STG – A lot of surfboard manufacturers are taking initiative trying to be more eco-friendly, does Golden State offer any eco-friendly alternatives to typical resin and fiberglass?
GSG – Unlike glass shops that make clear short boards (that have a short usage life), everything we build is a lot more expensive and built to last. We also have a system of collecting all the resin waste and re-purposing the multi-colored chunks into art. There are a few local artists that come pick up the scraps and turn it into jewelry, trophies, art pieces and office decorations. I haven’t found any materials that are truly eco-friendly. Even epoxy creates more trash than normal poly glass jobs. Upcycling the resin waste before it hits the trash is a fun interesting way to give it new life.
Interview by Antonio Lennert. Photographsby Sean Ryan Pierce, Lucas Murnaghan and Tyler Jorgenson.
Antonio is an ISA-certified surf coach, movement teacher and community builder. He was born and raised in Brazil and graduated from OCAD University with a degree in Graphic Design. Antonio is the founder and CEO of Surf the Greats. Find him on Instagram.