Matt Calvani’s first job in the industry was apprentice to Tom Stanton, a well-known South Bay shaper and airbrusher. After learning and mastering the art of airbrushing, Matt naturally became interested in board building. In 1988, Wayne Rich gave Matt his first blank to shape. Though he continued to make his living at airbrushing, Matt began to hone his skills as a surfboard shaper.
Eventually Matt moved his airbrushing business to Shoreline Glassing (Hermosa Beach, CA) and was offered a job by Hap Jacobs to do some rough-shaping on the side. Hap was so pleased with Matt’s work that he hired him on as a part-time shaper. Then Dennis Jarvis of Spyder Surfboards started to notice Matt’s talent and offered him a job shaping for the likes of Tom Curren, Shane Dorian, and more.
In 1993, Matt was offered a full-time shaping position at Becker Surfboards as Phil Becker’s main production shaper. It was while at Becker that Matt created an impressive shortboard program, shaping for the likes of Greg Browning, Geoff Moysa, Pascal Stansfield and many more. Matt was hand-shaping more than 25 shortboards a week in addition to longboards and mid-ranges at Becker.
But all the while, he continued to do some shaping for not only Hap Jacobs, but also Lance Carson and Rick Surfboards. Matt’s talent and passion for shaping traditional longboards became apparent.
In 2000, Matt’s friend, Dan Bendicksen, head shaper for Bing Surfboards in the late 60s, introduced Matt to Bing Copeland and Mike Eaton, which paved the way for Matt to inherit Bing Surfboards. In 2003, Matt set up shop along side Tyler Hatzikian of Tyler Surfboards, another young talented shaper. The two worked together for about a year, but when Hap Jacobs decided to retire in 2004 and asked Matt to inherit Jacobs Surfboards, Matt jumped at the chance.
In an effort to streamline and grow his business, Matt opened a surfboard shaping and glassing facility next to friend and foam supplier, Jeff Stoner of Blair Foam in Gardena, CA. Then in November of 2010 Matt moved the factory to Encinitas, CA. The new factory allowed even more quality control and increased production to keep up with growing demand.
In 2013 Matt Calvani won the The Boardroom: Icons of Foam Tribute to Terry Martin. 6 invited shapers had to shape a Terry Martin longboard in 2 hrs. A complicated surfboard design with stiff competition. Matt came out on top and he was honored to pay tribute to Terry Martin through the competition. (See video below)
Matt continues to shape exclusively for Bing, Jacobs and Rick Surfboards today while also pushing forward surfboard design and American manufacturing.
Edited by: Margaret Yao
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