Britt Merrick has been around surfboards for his entire life. Literally, for his entire life. His parents started Channel Islands in 1969 and he was born in 1972. Both of his parents worked full-time at the shop as well as holding down second jobs. “When I was born,” he said in a CI Surfboards profile, “there was no place for me to be other than the surfboard factory.”
Back then, his father hand-shaped and glassed every board that came out of the factory. The physical act of creating a surfboard was, at the time, a one-man show. Britt’s mother worked in the front of the shop, dealing with the sales part of the business, likely with baby Britt on her hip occasionally. “I literally grew up in that factory,” Britt continued.
Since then, of course, the business has changed: CI has become one of the most successful surfboard brands on earth. Britt has taken over the role of the lead shaper, and, like many things ingrained in a person from birth, the passion for building surfboards has never waned. “Shaping is pure art,” he said. “Every board I shape is deeply connected to me. It’s part of who I am and the experience that I want to have and the way that we connect with people. It can’t just work. It has to be beautiful.”
He’s been around the industry for a while, makes boards for some of the best surfers in the world, and knows a whole lot about… well, just about everything surfing. He recently sat down with Dave Prodan for the World Surf League’s The Lineup to talk about carrying on the Channel Islands Surfboard design, the CI team, and Lakey Peterson versus Carissa Moore at the 2019 Margaret River Pro, among many other things. If you’re a person who is interested in a very wide view of surfing, it’s well worth a listen.
See more from the WSL at Worldsurfleague.com.