Asha Ferguson, one of the founders of Gower Women had the opportunity of shaping with local legend, Adam Williams. Best known for his unique and iconic wooden longboards, he’s recently developed a range of logs specifically designed for women. As a society, we’ve had the pleasure of demoing his Sister Series at multiple surf meets and highly recommend taking one for a spin!
We caught up with Asha to see how she found the experience of making her own 9'6 Sister Series, Hot Log alongside Adam…
“It was so confusing first off! I was incredibly nervous as I quickly realised that you can’t really get things wrong in this process - there is no undo button. Once you’ve made a cut, or sanded something a certain way, there is no going back. Adam was really patient and took the time to explain things to me; I asked a lot of questions to make sure I knew what I was doing before I picked up the tools.
That being said, Adam had a lot of trust in me - more than I had in myself. Using power tools on something that is going to be so precious to you was pretty nerve wracking, I was so anxious about messing things up. He kept encouraging me to just go for it and as my confidence grew, I got the hang of it. Some crucial parts of the process I thought I’d just stand back and watch, but Adam would always get me involved.
I’ve never learned to use so many tools in such a short time period before - there was just so much to take in! I knew literally nothing about this process and was so unaware of all the hours of effort it takes to make a board. I was just continually blown away by the extent of Adam’s knowledge. Each series of boards he makes has a different template, a slightly different shape and different finishes. Adam holds so much information in his head, it’s so impressive!
Watching the board take shape in my hands was pretty magical.
I didn’t realise quite how many layers of glassing and sanding there were - it was way more time consuming than I thought. It’s such a gradual and considered process. You can be working on one board for a lot longer than I expected. I felt like I was sanding forever; the paper grain getting finer and finer until I got that super soft finish.
My favourite part of the process was glassing; it’s so mesmerising and incredibly satisfying! Overall, my favourite moment was cutting out the board out. After laying down the template, marking it up and cutting it out, this rectangular piece of EPS (expanded polystyrene) suddenly looked like a surfboard! I got well excited, then realised how much more work there was still to do…
I now have a deep appreciation for both surfboards and shapers. The amount of time, thought and attention to detail that goes into each of their creations is wild. Imagine being in a workshop doing that all day everyday…my hat goes off to ‘em!
Go make yourself a surfboard. It’ll make you appreciate what you have so much more. Suddenly, this block of foam is much more than a board - it’s a piece of art that I spent hours working on and I’m super proud of it.
I want to say a huge thanks to Adam for letting me shape my board with him. Honestly, it was such a sweet experience and a real privilege to learn from him. I’m so grateful!"
We asked Adam what it was like to have Asha with him throughout the process...
"When she initially approached me, I was pretty sceptical. Having had some previous experience with others shaping with me, which wasn’t too great, I was fairly uncertain.
But, hats off to Asha getting straight into it, picking up skills so easily and executing them to a high standard! I loved the fact she was so keen to learn and always wanted to improve what she’d already done. I had a smile constantly behind my mask - it was a great feeling!
I’m stunned at what was achieved in such a small time frame and can’t wait to do it again! This girl really has got skills! I used to train apprentices in Cabinetry. Asha was better than all of them, hands down!"
We'd also like to offer a huge thanks to Adam who has been incredibly supportive of Gower Women's Surf Society from the get-go. We'll be running another shaper tour with himself and JP, another local shaper who's also been behind us from the start, in early May '23.
The aim of these tours is to bring women into places that can oftentimes feel daunting and intimidating. By offering an invitation, debunking the lingo and getting to know the faces behind the brands, we're aiming to help women from the surfing community feel welcome in these spaces.
Fancy joining us on our next shaper social? We'll be running our next event on May 5th, with pizza from Gower Dough and beers with Gower Brewery! Get your tickets here 🍕🍺
Images & write up by Ebbi Rose