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Best Shop Shaper: Dennis Jarvis, Spyder Surfboards

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In the late ’70s, Sypder Surfboard shaper/owner Dennis Jarvis crafted boards for the likes of Mark Cuff, Matt Warshaw, Mark Theodore, Allen Sarlo, and a young Chris Frohoff.

“I was shaping boards for competing surfers, and I was surfing against them,” Jarvis laughed, “We were all friends.”

Spyder Surfboards’ retail shop opened up 1983. By the early ’90s, Jarvis’s boards were seen frequently under the feet of the “Momentum Generation,” surfers inspired by Taylor Steele’s decade defining movie “Momentum.”

“By 1995-1996, we were number two in the world, selling 15,000 surfboards worldwide,” Jarvis said.

With “15 ghost shapers,” the retail shop, and the Spyderbuilt clothing company, Jarvis was spending eight hours a day in Costa Mesa working the business/soft goods aspect of the company and four hours a day in the surfboard factory in Gardena daily.

“In the factory, I’d be fixing 200 shapes at a time getting them to my standards — it was tedious,” he said. “I was dusty and crusty and decided to scale back.”

Spyder still boosts a hot surf team as well as a knowledge shop sales team that won last year’s Oakley Surf Shop Challenge.

“Our employees and team guys live it,” Jarvis said, “We’ve got the best surfing shop in the South Bay.”

Jarvis shapes are defined by “keeping it basic.” He believes in a good thruster set-up, a squash, thumb, or swallow tail, with a simple outline.

“As my art teacher taught me, simplicity is the key to a good design,” he said.

Spyder Surfboards: 65 Pier Avenue, (310) 374-2494; 2461 Pacific Coast Hwy., (310) 374-8276, Hermosa Beach.

Runner up: Pat Ryan, ET Surf, 904 Aviation Blvd Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. (310) 379-7660.

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