Watch: Shyama Buttonshaw + Craig Anderson in ‘Fallin’
Two yodas smoother than steamed milk.
“I used to use Craig’s ID when I was a kid,” laughs Shyama.
Obviously I’m not the first to point out the pair’s resemblance – I’ve plucked with both hands perhaps the lowest-hanging fruit on the tree.
‘Sick observation,’ I think to myself, ‘I’m sure he’ll appreciate that…’
Shyama is born and bred Torquay. He shapes (he made Steph Gilmore a board for the EAST, somewhere in Africa), he rips, his blood is thick with core surf heritage.
His dad Simon Buttonshaw worked for Quik and Rippy on and off as one of their key creatives – helping design and modify both of Quik and Rippy’s iconic logos.
“I grew up on a property that Mum and dad bought after the Ash Wednesday bushfires in the 80’s. So mum’s got six acres out here and that’s where I built my shaping bay,” says Shyama.
“After I finished high school, I started building boards with Maurice Cole, just doing ding repairs and stuff. Then, as most relationships with Morris do, it came to an end. Afterwards, I started doing some boards with Corey Graham. Now I’m out in the bush with one of my best mates, Darcy Day.”
Over the winter, which was fairly underwhelming for most on the East Coast of Aus, Shyama scored a handful of swells in Vic that were pretty special.
“If the surf is cooking we’re surfing. If not, I’m in the shed making boards. Mainly customs. I export some to America and Japan, but I don’t wholesale here in Aus. I’ve been trying to avoid that because of the price cut,” he explains.
Shyama credits surfer/shapers Wayne Lynch and Simon Anderson as sources of inspiration, as well as guys like Ryan Burch, Bryce Young, Ellis Ericson and Beau Foster.
“You can see their connection to the board making and the surfing’s a lot more potent that way. I’d say they’re all super intuitive surfers. It’s like when Beau surfs, you dunno what he’s going to do because it’s all off instinct, it’s not figured out on the land.”
Shyama’s ability to ride anything from shorties to 9’6” gliders with grace, in conditions anywhere from 2ft to 12ft is pretty unique.
“When I was younger, Maurice made me put tiny little fins in my board and I was having a horrible time for months, but then I learned to engage more rail… probably. It’s the same thing with writing those gliders. You can’t turn a 9’6” board without engaging your rail properly or else the board just tracks off and you fall on your face. Plus I’m so skinny, I just get bucked off if I’ve got bad technique. I get bucked off a lot anyway, for the record,” he laughs.
Shyama ads, tangentially: “I kinda reckon that’s why Bells has stood the test of time too, because it brings out a kind of surfing that is line driven, foundational surfing. Bells got so written off through the 2000’s because of that snappy 90’s surfing. It didn’t work. Now I think some of the best heats ever have happened here with Occy and John and Jordy. Guys who know how to use a rail.”
In this Tyge Landa clip, Shyama is on one of his shapes and a Burch. Craig is just riding his Hayden 5’9” shorty.
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