Mick Sowry on his addition to the pantheon:

In the midst of the god’s I’ll make a play for the rest of us.

Oddly enough, the most formative shapers have been more recent than early with a couple of exceptions. Most recently, are two, in Maurice Cole, and Corey Graham. Maurice’s presence extends over forty years though, as we first met back in 1972, when I was 18, as was he, in the beginnings of his shaping career. One board back then, but that began a friendship that grew organically and most recently since 2006 though we crossed paths in France in 1986, and on his return to Victoria in the late 2000’s.

Following that one early board from Maurice I became the shop grommet for legendary Victorian shaper Mick Pierce, who shaped me several epic boards that I loved, each helping me progress in understanding and range. 

I rode my biggest wave in my first ten years on a 7’2’ Eastern Light (Mick's brand @easternlight on Instagram) and that was at Nazare in 1978. Twelve foot but we thought it was eighteen. God help us if it had been what we now know it can become.

Later I switched to Kym Thompson, Maurice, Greg Brown and Wayne Lynch, all connected and working within a circle of West Coast shapers who influenced each other and in doing so had a profound effect on surfers here and worldwide.

Kym shaped a couple of channel bottom 5’8”s in the early 80’s that worked wonderfully in a surprising range, with very memorable tubes at Lacerations on Lembongan and a near close out wave at Shipwrecks at near 10ft that had all those who saw the take off wonder if I’d lived.  

Greg Brown is still one of the great shapers in the Torquay area. He is a go to guy for boards that are both trustworthy and at the same time full of personality. Not something that comes from a reliance on machine shaping. 

Wayne became a great friend and shaped some divine mid length guns for ‘down south' through the nineties, and early 2000’s before I reconnected with MC in 2007 around the time the waiting period to get a board off Wayne extended from weeks to months, such is the demand.

MC’s boards, like Wayne’s, have been highly influential on some of surfing’s greats. My introduction to his very-technical-to-ride deep concave asymmetrics had me re-looking at how to approach a wave at a time when I though I was done with any progression. The boards are fast, wonderfully on rail in their predisposition and you need to think to ride them, but they deliver more satisfaction when on song than almost any board I have ridden. Or you can be bucked of if you get it wrong. 

Most recently, on a particular Corey Graham single channel 5’8' fish, I have been privilege to feelings and sounds I’ve never heard before. In itself, at 62, that is a privilege too. It has been a lucky life to still be able to surf a board like that after 47 years of surfing, though my performance the other day at 8 foot Bells after ten days out of the water shows there is still plenty of room for improvement.