Jon Garmendia did it again. The second time around winner of The Longboard Spanish Championship and winner of the expression session of the best shared wave with Alex Knost at Vans Duct Tape Invitational. This young surfer keeps quite some secrets under his belt that we are going to unraveled in this post, starting by saying that he is not only a shaper, and a very good one at that, but much more indeed. Keep reading!
30is hours to finish a surfboard 100% hand shaped that demands care, attention to detail and solely two pair of hands that do the whole work from start to finish. Starting with the special selection of stringers, shaping, glassing, sanding … And yes, only a pair of hands: Jon Garmendia’s. The man, the brand, and the wings behind the butterfly.
The Ride of the 🦋
You could think about what kind of relation could a butterfly and a surfboard have, and the answer has a name: Jon Garmendia.
This surfer from Zarautz, a little town in the Basque Country (Spain), is also a surfboard shaper, glasser and sander, that has just won for the second time around The Longboard Spanish Championship; winner in A Frouxeira de Valdoviño beach in A Coruña and in Salinas, Asturias riding one of his own longboard designs and creations. He was also the invited to take part in the expression session of The Duct Tape Invitational organized by Joel Tudor in Zarautz among 38 surfers and actually won it alongside Ale Knost for the best shared wave.
At he MexiLogFest (MXLF21), one of the musts in the longboard festivals arena, he got in the Top 16. Another victory for sure.
Not only that, he is a father of a beautiful baby girl and works part-time at the Spanish leader in furniture fittings manufacturing company as well. His hands are full right now with work at the company in the mornings and his passions: his family and, as he says, seeking happiness by shaping his own surfboards, longboards among them, and riding them.
Jon Garmendia riding a Glidder Garmendia Surfboard. Pic by Xabier Beloki
So, afternoons would be the time when Jon puts the hat of Garmendia Surfboards and shapes his midlengths, twins, longs ..., while steals time during weekend mornings or dawns to surf himself, try his designs and keep improving shapes for those boards that fill, not only his demands, but also the ones that more and more want to ride one Garmendia Surfboard.
| Curiosity Lead to Longboards and More
Being passionate about singlefins, twinfins and longboards, he started to feel interested about classic shapes after falling in love with the lines they drew. That was it. Even though it started as a hobby, an endless curiosity about this particular classical shape made him be on a mission: to shape the longboard he was longing for him that could not find anywhere.
Created the Longboard he Couldn’t Find Anywhere
Jon Garmendia noseriding a Garmendia Surfboard. Pic by Xabier Beloki
Thought, said and done. He shaped his firs Alaia about 6-7 years ago and since it worked, how it would be to ride a longboard shaped by his own hands started to take root in his head and couldn’t get it out: would it work? Would it slide or stop? Will it pivot and turn? And what about the rocker and rails? How should they be? Too many questions and an eagerness to know about the whole creating process of a longboard arose an undeniable desire to keep learning.
This is how the caterpillar for Garmendia Surfboards started to exist and is growing, changing and adapting to be the butterfly that represents the man, the brand, the longboards. No longboard will missed its wings to draw the lines of the waves.
Jon Garmendia's space. Where the magic happens at his farm. Pic x Aitor Molina
The creation of the brand’s image, the butterfly accompanying the 70’s style typography for the name ‘Garmendia Surfboards’, was done in collaboration with Xabier Zirikiain, creator of the well know brand Loreak Mendian and reference to the world of design, illustration, art, fashion, audiovisual creation … An image to last that, we hope, will be soon well known in the longboard scene.
Transformative While Keeping the Essence
So, who knows the symbolism of the butterfly? It is said that it represents positiveness, happiness, change, transformation … Do any of these terms ring any bells? Yes, right? You could say that these words bring ‘Garmendia Surfboards’ to mind but that is not all that is to it.
Jon takes a very personal care to each of the boards he shapes. To have a single one finishes, takes around 30ish hours so by the end of the process, it has developed not only a creator - creation relationship, but they have also become best of friends. This is repeated for each of the longboards he creates from scratch!
Jon Garmendia's creation process. 100% hand shaped. Pic x Aitor Molina
Each line, each curve, each caress devoted to them … Jon puts his whole heart when hand shaping with caring tender love these longboards, as some may say. He is in charge for the whole process. Glassing, shaping and sanding is done solely by him, from start to finish. Even the selection of the stringers is done attending scrupulously to good quality looking for making these longboards really unique and special.
Humble Authenticity Marked with Wings
This self-taught creator brings his longboards to life in the family farm located in Urdaneta in the Basque Country, since not that long ago. The results for these shapes, born in a former chicken coop, are worth the admiration for the dedication, hard work and attention to detail that they resemble.
Jon Garmendia's creation process. 100% hand shaped.
Jon Garmendia describes his longboards as "classic line boards adapted to today's surfing”. He couldn’t be more right. If you take one of these longs home with you, you sure will get a unique 100% hand-shaped surfboard with classic lines that will fulfill your expectations of modern surfing.
Falling in Love All Over Again: The Longboard
The fascination with retro is not only dying but even getting stronger and this is something that has influenced the styles of surfboards demanded in general. You may think that modern shapes should lead to the extinction of previous designs but is happening the other way around.
Today, the variations of shapes and surfboard styles that you can find in the lineup is insane and the surfing experience that they offer is different, having they all their strengths and weaknesses. To look at these boards and feel the different kinds of fun and feelings that can provoke on the surfer is just awesome and inspiring!
What is your favorite style of surfboard? Difficult to decide? We can relate to that feeling and as we have brought to your attention, the longboard, is one of our favourites alongside a surfer and a shaper that is bringing back to us the classic lines and the joy adapted to the modern fun we seek in the water: Garmendia Surfboards.
Jon Garmendia's Glidder 'Dreamer'. Pic x Aitor Molina
Let’s learn a bit more about The Longboard style.
| 4 Key Ideas about The Longboard
4 key ideas that you should know about a longboard are:
· It will offer easy paddling and wave catching
· Have in mind that turning will be slow and difficult (the greater the skill the easier it gets).
· Stability is one of the big guns
· Riding on the nose or tail is a must to master
| Longboard Pioneers
Let’s talk about a bit of history so we get to know this style a bit better. Bob Simmons is considered by many, the father of modern surfboard but he’s not alone since Chapin, Matt Kivlin, Joe Quigg, David Nuuhiwa, Corkuy Carroll among others, are also considered as significant contributors and pioneers of rising in the forward half of the surfboard as you can find in surfing history books.
Dick Brewer is also a name to remember when talking about the premier designer for original-area longboards that give way to the cutting edge of longboard design. Not to mention his key role in the big waves scene, which is another history that we may tell you another time.
The Thrill is Back to Stay
Jon Garmendia riding one of his creations: The Glidder 'Dreamer'. Pic x Xabier Beloki
| Classic Longboard Features
These are the typical features of a longboard so you can start familiarizing with this type of surfboard style:
· Longboards are typically over 9 feet long. You won’t see a pro lonboarder riding less than a 9’6” longboard. Higher lengths are getting more fans in today’s surfing
· The nose of a longboard is typically rounded or blunt
· Since we said that riding on nose and tail is a must master skill, there’s usually plenty of forward width and fairly wide tail as well to get there easy enough with perseverance
· The longboard can usually feature any combination of fins
| Performance & How to Ride a Longboard
Are you thinking about how to duck with a longboard? Well, toss that idea right away because the foam volume creates great buoyancy that will help you with easy paddling but will bring you hell for duckdiving.
One of the things that we love about longboards is that they are great for trimming and planing but even better, they keep the momentum over slow/mushy/dead sections. This is also why longboards are hard to turn and demand a lot of effort to change direction.Can it be done? Of course it can and you will! Have in mind that you will encounter great resistance when getting right over the tail to move all the “swing mass” up and out of the water in order to pivot around the tail. Changing directions this way will slow you down quite a bit so, to gain back speed, you would need to walk forward to the nose to minimize the drag. Keep going in the water and this will have no secrets for you.
What allows the nose riding and the extreme performance of longboarding is the volume in the nose area and corresponding weight fin the tail.
Ready to give it a try? Jump to it. We have fallen in love all over again with longboarding and so will you if given the chance.
Jon Garmendia's quiver. The one that you can take home at Pukas Surf Shop. Pic x Aitor Molina.
· Glider 'Dreamer' ·
The Glidder 'Dreamer' · Garmendia Surfboards . Pic x Aitor Molina.
The ‘Dreamer’ is the board to have fun. The more you have, the bigger the fun and the more you’ll catch. It doesn’t matter if the waves are mussy or small, with the Glider you’ll catch any of those waves, even bigger ones if they are good, noble waves.
This one is shaped looking for speed and trimming with a nice and easy paddling, and fast gliding.
Good for nice, clean waves with a long wall where we can make good use of the parallel rail of this longboard.
The bottom of the surfboard is shaped with a belly in the first quarter follow by a simple concave in the second quarter that leads to a doble concave including the third quarter and the last quarter finished transforming into a light “V”.
The glass in the Glider ‘Dreamer” is 6oz bottom + 6oz +8oz volan on deck.
Redwood thick stringer 1 1/2” & US Blanks.
Darkwood 1/2” double stringer starting from 0” in the nose to 4” apart at the tail
Garmendia adds an extra layer of Hot Coat (called Gloss Coat), before finishing the process in sanded or polish depending on the order. They are quite heavy longs but resistant and lasting.
The recommended fins for the Glider are:
· Noserider ·
The Noserider's stringers' detail · Garmendia Surfboards. Pic x Aitor Molina.
The classic Noserider with some design liberties taken for a more suited modern surfing.
Paying special attention to detail to make this happened, this Noserider is ideal for those small and perfect wave days.
Honoring its name, this is a very stable board for the Nose and soft when surfing in the back.
The Bottom Structure: Long concave on the nose, which reaches almost to the middle of the board. Belly for the rest and it ends in flat just after the fin box (‘kick’). This will help the tail to nail down the wave and work as a counterweight to be able to noseride.
The rails are soft and finished in 50/50 so the water flows around the soft curve of the rail before releasing. It will better hold in subtle turns (if you can manage one that we’re sure you can if you put your will into it).
The glass in the Noserider is 6oz bottom + 6oz +8oz volan on deck.
The recommended fins for these two sizes of longboards are:
· Captain Fin The Raked 10” (Jon’s favourite)
· Bullet ·
Garmendia Surfboards Pukas Surf Shop Quiver. Pic by Aitor Molina.
The Bullet is a more versatile board than the Noserider. It will allow you to surf in all kinds of conditions, from beach-breaks to point-breaks.
The Bullet allows us to make tips, turn with ease and feel the trim. Speed and maneuverability would be the two adjectives that best describe it. A very smooth concave just below the nose that extends almost to the middle of the board with a light belly for the rest until almost to the end is the trick that Jon Garmendia adds to the mixture of this versatile board.
The glass in the Bullet is 6oz bottom + 6oz +8oz volan on deck.
The Bullet can be described as ‘the day to day board’ that looks for maneuverability thanks to the more backward center. It is lightened at the tip/nose so that it does not weigh down. It is more unstable than a norerider because it lacks surface area, but also more daring.
Garmendia tells us that he likes to play with the rails when riding this board. Having thinner and sharpers rails helps catching more powerful bigger wall waves. At five feet it is more maneuverable and playful, he tells us.
The bottom has more rocker in the nose and less in the tail . It has also more grip and some "kick tail" in order to nail the surfboard to the wave and be able to walk forward to the tip.
The nose has soft concave, to making pivoting and turning a little easier which the belly also helps with. This board helps you surf in a smooth, flowing style.
The recommended fin for this bullet is one with a wide base but with quite a rake and flex.
Some specifics of the Bullet 9’4” is its sharp edges. It makes it more technical due to less stability but provides more grip with bigger waves (wall grip).
The recommended fins:
· Captain Fin The Raked 10” (Jon Garmendia’s favourite fin)
This longboard has fuller rails which makes it easier to ride. It is quite more forgiving. It is also a great option for girls and women or people than are less corpulent, heavy, or are new to surfing.
Redwood 1 inch stringer & US Blanks.
The recommended fins:
Jon Garmendia holding The Freebird where the magic occurs. Pic x Aitor Molina.
The Free Bird is a board with classic lines, generous volume and rounded edges. The bottom of the board is composed by a belly from start to finish, which will allow us that smooth maneuverability.
It is a mix between a glider and a longboard. The upward rocker and the all belly shape is good for maneuvering. The Free Bird is an all in for fun longboard.
Its little rocker and quite parallel rails, will give us that trim and speed on the wall of the wave.
This board is always shaped in a triple Stringer Foam and glazed in Volan and, in this specific case, it goes with a resin center panel.
The glass in the Free Bird is 8oz bottom + 8oz +8oz volan on deck.
Cedar triple stringer.
The recommended fins:
· Captain Fin The Raked 10” (Jon’s favourite)