RYAN VON DRESSELT // VON SURFBOARDS
A man that needs no introduction, Ryan VON Dresselt is responsible for shaping some of the most deadly boards to come from the South – West.
We recently caught up with him and discussed the business of shaping boards and the industry of surfing.
MC - Let’s start with explaining the current situation of the surf industry, whats your opinion on it?
VON – I feel on whole things are looking bright. Support for local brands is solid at the moment. We have caught up in terms of access to the technology and we're on the pulse. The standard of design these days is at an all-time high which is great to test yourself and career against the heavy hitters and make your own mark in the industry.
MC - Why Shape boards?
VON - Why the fuck not haha. I started 20 yrs ago and although it’s a tough gig in terms of financial reward, it does offer a creative independent platform to grind to! It suits me and it challenges me constantly. I find myself at the height of my career and more psyched than ever to work alongside my team and my supporters to create high-performance equipment.
MC – Who/What influenced you to get into board shaping? Did you have any mentors?
VON - Ya know it's hard to put a finger on it as it’s something I have always done. From the very begining I was drawn towards the industry and the colourful characters that seemed to buzz around factories making boards. Too many that have inspired me to mention. Perhaps I wanted to be an artist but was better suited to sculpture, so slaying foam was meant to be!
MC - Was Surfing a massive part of your upbringing?
VON - Being born in the middle of Africa it was not expected but as it turns out after immigrating to Perth at the age of 10...surfing became everything for me and thank fuck it’s taken care of me.
I caught my first wave at Scarborough after a typically hot summer’s day at Deanmore Primary thanks to my mate Luke Hayter and inevitably met all my mates at the beach through the Scarborough Boardriders and competitive surfing in the state rounds. We are still all in touch and looking back it's interesting to see how things have naturally being paved out from that first wave.
MC - Why is it important to support local shapers?
VON - The way I see it... the larger brands have incredible files, designs and shit hot stickers and world-class team riders who just straight up tear the bag... But there is a shaper near you who has the talent but doesn’t get to roll through designs and learn from trial and error as often, so for every time you invest in a larger brand its one step back from getting your dream board dialed from your local shaper. Remember that!
MC - Do you feel Surfing is becoming a faceless industry regarding brands and the people behind it?
VON - I feel an opposite reaction is at play with social media becoming kinda regurgitated and sometimes feels to me like this desperate ‘buy now’ force-fed content that will eventually make people want something real and want to feel connected to a brand that values them... Things are coming home...
MC - Advice for the younger Generation looking to get into shaping
VON - Work hard when you’re younger rather than later, it gets harder. Kids are smarter these days anyhow so they probably get that ha-ha, but no secrets here until you've swept my floors and done your time groms...
MC - The Hardest board you have shaped to date? / Personal Favourite?
VON - Designing a functional board that a pro could jump on and be able to recreate that on cue is a complicated process and it doesn't come easily. Moving to the South - West I feel the elements and team I’m currently working with is at its best and we are gonna pull it off.
The JAKE file is as critical as a board gets and in the right surf would be hard to beat... it’s a 20 yr project that brings my hand shaping to meet machine technology. My goal now is creating the beach break version of this file.
MC - What does Von look for in a surfer to join his team?
VON - Firstly you have to surf better than me! A team really must embody a brand and what it represents. For us, we have a collective of wild, eccentric characters that respectively surf solid and will be well known and respected in the local WA scene. Good surfers, good boards, and good times ...simple
MC - What do Von boards represent to you? Friends, memories, stress? Haha
VON - ha... well I could only dream of telling this tale quickly and eloquently enough for it not to bore the shit out of you...
Friends far and wide that have my back and I have theirs... memories of parties, waves, factories and too many fkn surfboard blanks to imagine all throughout Aus, Africa, Japan, Indo and Europe living on my 9 lives…. to the stressful yet rewarding territory of holding your own in the industry and paying the bills that come along with the tag! I've loved every second... maybe not the ones I can't remember but we go on learning right!
MC - What was one of your best sessions to date?
VON - Since opening the factory in the South West I’ve somehow surfed less than I did in Perth! However last Easter under the sleepy noses of the Scarborough Boardrider lightweights... I and two good mates scored an epic session alone in the powerful surf and miraculously there happened to be a photographer swimming around (they don't actively follow us around haha) to capture it.
Damn! that was a fun session and it reminded me of what it’s all about... My goal looking forward is to push myself in the water not only in the bay.
A healthy balance.
MC – And the future of the Surf Industry?
VON - The wave pool race is stealing the show for now! There is also a much higher awareness of waste and pollution... I like this and it's a good time for us all to take note and take stock. We surf and that won’t change for a long time if we take care of our playground and each other.
CHECK OUT : VON BOARDS.COM