MATT WARSHAW'S INSPIRATION WEIGH-IN
I met Glenn Minami just once, probably in 1988. He made me a pair of step-up boards (except nobody said “step-up” back then), neither of which were quite right, and I sold them both the following year. No big deal, I was living in San Clemente at the time, and only needed bigger boards for the two or three weeks I was in Hawaii. In 1991 I moved to San Francisco, and quickly found out I needed not just a gun or two, but a whole rack of guns, because from Fall to Spring the surf often had North Shore power and size. The first month I was in San Francisco, I broke two boards. Some friends of mine in SF were big on Minami’s boards and, luckily for me, were ordering in bulk, and I was able to pry a couple of guns off their quivers each year. This is where the story gets a little embarrassing. I’d always been picky and obsessive and no doubt annoying in terms of getting boards. Had to be in the room when it was shaped, breathing down my shapers’ neck, calling out measurements, being a pain in the ass. And despite my efforts, or probably because of my efforts, two out of three boards were rejects. But these second-hand Minamis I started picking up from my friends in San Francisco? Incredible. I bought around ten of Glenn’s boards throughout the 1990s, from 6’ 6” to 8’ 2”, all narrow roundpins with glass-on fins, and every one of them was amazing. Two or three were magic. I was devastated when they’d break, then I’d cheer up because whatever Glenn was doing at the time—bottom curve and thickness distribution—was perfectly suited to my way of riding, and all I had to do was drive over to my friends’ house, beg them to cut loose another board, and wave the checkbook around. Bang, another magic stick. Then something happened around 2000. The rocker was different in the blanks Glenn was getting, or he’d changed his bottom contouring just a bit, who knows. But all of a sudden the new boards weren’t working for me. I finally got in touch with Glenn directly and explained what was happening, and how I needed the boards to be like the ones he’d made two or three years earlier. Glenn was right there with me, totally agreeable, understood what I was looking for. A few weeks later a few board arrived. Didn’t work. Then another, same thing. And another. Glenn’s boards were better than ever for other guys, but not for me. It was over. It was heartbreaking. I grubbed around and managed to find a few decent guns over the next decade or so, but nothing like the Minami’s I’d had in the 1990s. I was disappointed for a long time; now I’m just incredibly grateful that this strange unspoken thing with Glenn clicked into place at all, and lasted as long as it did.