Chris Christenson is a man of many talents. The San Diego-based shaper has been crafting big wave rhino chasers for some of the best in the—namely Ian Walsh and Greg Long—for some time. But Chris has also been instrumental in the alternative surfboard movement, shaping everything from traditional thrusters to retro twins, mini Simmons to 9-foot-plus logs. And that’s just for the ocean. Over the last few years, he and Jeremy Jones have teamed up on a number of surf-inspired shapes for the mountain, too.
Recently, Red Bull caught up with Chris at his factory in San Diego to talk shop. One of the most touching moments is when Chris grabs an old, ratty taped-up brick. “If there was only one thing I could save in this whole factory, it’d probably be this brick,” he says, laughing. “This is a brick I pulled out of my parents’ planter box when I made my first surfboard because I had these janky old racks.”
Over the years, Chris explains, upward of 26,000 surfboards have gone through his factory, and sometimes the biggest challenge is the logistics of delivery. “Sometimes if the logistics don’t work out, I put the boards in a board bag and I go,” he says.
For anyone out there dreaming of becoming a career surfboard shaper, Chris explains why you have to really love it. “It’s a lot of fun, but at the end of the day, it’s a business. The shaping part’s the easy part, really.”