With the Women’s RedBull Cape Fear at Shipsterns of the Tasmania coast starting very soon, we thought we would reach out to a female surfer/shaper who has just tapped into the market of making female big wave boards.
Summa Longbottom has started shaping her very own boards with the help of her Dad, big wave legend Dylan, and we thought we would reach out to Summa to see what it was like shaping a big wave board and making one for her fellow competitor and idol, Laura Enever.
Hey Summa, thanks for having a chat. First of all, congratulations on being invited to the Red Bull Cape Fear event, we are so excited for you! We have noticed that as well as this you have started shaping your own boards which is pretty amazing. What kind of effort goes into shaping a board?
I’ve realised that a lot of work goes into shaping a surfboard and it takes a lot of practice over time. Everyday I’m still learning and getting better as it takes a long time to learn how to shape properly. I started working in the surfboard industry over a year ago but only at the start of this year I started learning how to shape surfboards and that’s when I realised how amazing it was to shape your own boards and also to be one of the only girl shapers in Australia. I think that it’s a great job to have as a surfer and I couldn’t be luckier to have the opportunity to do this and have help from my dad who is also a shaper.
You have recently shaped a board for Laura Enever which is pretty special. With the knowledge you are taking on from your Dad, Dylan, what did you have to consider when shaping a big wave board for Laura?
Shaping a board for Laura was such a special experience as she’s always been one of my idols growing up. I have my dad’s knowledge of shaping big wave boards to help me shape boards for Laura’s big and small wave surfing. Not only am I learning about big wave boards myself but also being able to shape them myself which is really cool. I’ve recently just shaped my very first tow board which I am using in the first woman’s red bull cape fear comp.
Do you think that there is a difference between male big wave boards and female big wave boards? If so, what do you think they are?
Yes I think there is a little bit of a difference as girls are usually a little bit smaller and not as powerful as guys so when shaping bigger boards I usually make them thicker as we need it to help us get into the waves quicker and have more litres underneath us for paddling and handling the bigger waves.
With female big wave surfing really starting to take off, what do you expect to see in the next 5-10 years from this area in the sport?
Yeah It’s amazing how female big wave surfing is starting to get bigger and it’s so good to be a part of such a big change in women’s surfing. I’ve noticed that there’s still not many young girls in my age group that are getting into it so I’m hoping that in the next couple years it will get much bigger and more girls start giving it a go because that would be really cool to see. I know that it’s not the most ideal thing to do because it’s a scary thing sometimes and most of the time I get scared but the end result is so rewarding and brings so much joy. The main thing I’ve focused on is taking step by step and not pushing myself because if you don’t feel right about something you should never push yourself to do it so even just getting out there and sitting in the lineup or trying to catch one wave is the best way to get into big wave surfing as that’s what I did. I hope that what I’m doing is inspiring younger people because it is people like Laura and my dad who inspired me to have a go so I hope I can do the same for the future generations and bring more girls into big wave surfing and surfing in general.
Can you talk us through the different models of your boards?
I haven’t come up with any models for my boards but I will definitely create some new models, especially more models for girls in the future.
What a ride this young entrepreneur has in store. We are looking forward to watching where this journey takes Summa and know that only good things are on her horizon.