How A Fatum Surfboard is Made – Part Two – The Conversation

Shaping a Fatum Surfboard.

If you have not read ‘Part One – The Blank’, you can catch up now. Or if you are happy with a quick recap, here you go:

We thought it would be cool to take you through the process of making a Fatum Surfboard, how every step is meticulously devised and kept updated for the best outcome. In Part One, we looked at blanks selection, the different sorts of blank, how we choose our suppliers and most importantly how we choose the correct blank to make your surfboard.

Now we are all caught up, lets get into what Gero believes is the most important part of the overall process. Part Two – The conversation with you, the client…

The Conversation with Gero

Not being a tangible part of a surfboard but being, in essence, the most important part of the custom ordering process, we hope to clarify the reason we think this is so.

In over 35 years of shaping custom surf-craft for a wide range of clients, Gero thinks that he has a a feel for what people might want and/or need. These two things, however do not always go hand in hand.

Fatum Surfboards are a custom deal. Some people know what they want and they browse our catalogue of stock boards and take one away. The majority however, will order custom boards. This all starts with Gero the shaper understanding what you need or want. It starts with the conversation.

Northing like the feeling of seeing a new custom stick for the first time…Picture from Fatum Surf Project Production 2019

At this point, there are people that know exactly what they want already, for them this is easy, they ask and Gero makes it so. For those that would like help (and why wouldn’t you) getting the right board we say it’s always best to have a chat with Gero.

So how does Gero get the information he needs from you without you even realising it? He knows what to ask and more importantly, he knows what to listen for.

The real Challenge is in helping those that need it.” Gero said.

The surf industry is awash with ads telling you to surf like this or that. “John John surfs this, so should you “ etc. There is more dis-information out there than anything that makes sense so sometimes it’s just nice to talk to someone who will help you, someone who has been doing so for a very long time.

Some would say Gero is an expert in listening and that this goes hand-in-hand with being a good shaper.

“I like to know a few things”, said Gero. “What boards they have surfed before, what they liked about them, if the new board has to fit into a quiver, if they surf to relax or for performance or competition.”

Gero smiles, “ but its about reading inbetween the lines of the answers, and the questions that go from there.”

Gero loves to talk. Picture from Fatum Surf Project Production 2019

The most important thing for us at Fatum is that the surfer gets the right board for them. The one that makes the corners of their mouth go up. As everyone is different, so should every surfboard be.

“There are no bad surfboards out there at the moment.” said Gero “The real skill is matching the right board with the right person.”

The most common problem is people thinking that they need to go shorter to increase their performance level. While in some respects this is true, the whole subject is relevant to what board they are trying to improve on.

A decent minimal can rip, I always have two minimals or ‘mid-lengths’ in my quiver. For a lot of situations, conditions and people they are the right choice no matter your level of surfing. It’s a matter of perspective.

One of the most important outcomes (for us) of ordering a custom surfboard from Fatum is that we want you to feel comfortable on it. You need to feel that it is the right board for you. As 80% of most things comes down to confidence, we want to give you that in abundance.

Time for some truths about surfboards:

– No board will make bad surf better

– Shorter is not necessarily better

– Volume is not everything

– The pointy part of a surfboard does nothing

– Custom is King

The test quiver has around 20-30 different Fatum boards at all times. Try before you decide. It’s the best way.

The Test Board Quiver

One of the most amazing tools we have at our disposal at Fatum is the Test Board quiver that is about 35 boards strong. At any one time we will normally have a couple of different boards in each model we make just for testing purposes.

If you or Gero are unsure about what board you want to order, you can take a tester out for a couple of days and that way get an idea if it will be your future stick. If it doesn’t work out, you can try a different model. It so cool.


Hopefully this article has given you a little insight into the importance of getting a surfboard that is correct for you and how we go about it, using all the tools at our disposal.

If you have any questions or doubts about ordering a custom or stock board, just pick up the phone and give Gero a call. He loves to talk and some would say he loves to listen more…