The Vibrant Quiver Of Stab High’s Most Peculiar Competitor
How do you shape for an elf?
Making surfboards is Max Stewart’s thing.
He shapes surfcraft under the guise of his shaping biz, Eye Symmetry.
His passion shows in his work. Take one of his creations under the arm, run your fingers over its glossy skin and you’ll feel the attention to detail, from his swallow tail twins and wild looking guns, to the ultra light high performance blades he prides himself on.
Max likes colour and he loves new materials and innovation. He’s mastered working with tints and epoxy resins, he’s refined his outlines and invented weird progressive shit like the octo-rail, that Tom Carroll swears by.
Speaking of TC, having the right faces for Eye Symmetry sits high on his priority list.
Self declared elf, and innovative Puerto Rican aerialist, Hector Santamaria, is another flag bearer for Max and his candy coloured craft.
There are a few moments that really stood out at Stab High; Noa’s win, Eithan’s $US20k pop, Dion’s fan club, Harry Bryant’s security wrestle and Hector Santamaria’s post heat interview with Austyn Gillette.
“For Hector everything is an adventure, even going to the shop and buying a box of cereal.” Photo: Corey Wilson.
While Hector’s take on life can make for some fascinating conversation, it was his unique approach to aerial surfing that allowed him a place on the bill at Waco.
Right before surfing’s great Texan migration took place around a week ago we caught up with Max at his factory on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, to hear more about the 26 year-old and the boards that were being created to get him high in Texas.
“The first time I spoke with him we had a video call and it was so strange,” explained Max on how the pair came to be. “It was a little awkward, as it would be. He just looked at me and said ‘you look funny’ and I was like ‘um, ok’ – what do you come back to that with? [Laughs] He was in this room and you know when the light is a ceiling fan and it makes this weird pattern of light when it spins? He was just pointing to that and going ‘see how it’s got that aura? Can you make a board like that?’
“He just loves surfing so much – have you seen his Instagram lately? He’s just been going live and playing all his surfing clips, for like hours!”
“I’m always looking for team riders, but it’s so hard to find the right fit,” says Max. “We want interesting people. We don’t want to make boards for the sake of saturating the market and scramble for money, we’re trying to make something special, a high quality product that people will treasure. The brand’s pretty fresh and young and we want people to represent that.”
“It’s weird, if he tried a little bit he could go so far but then it wouldn’t be Hector. He’s battling himself,” says Max. “He’s saying now that he wants to move to California and he’s gotta realise that he might have to. He just needs a little bit of structure. Even catching planes is a big deal for him. For this Texas thing, I needed to make boards and get them to him in California beforehand so he can pick them up. I told him to be there at least a week before to pick them up, not to fly straight to Texas and that was a big deal to get through his head. He wanted me to book it all for him.
“He needs a manager to do business deals and to direct his career and someone to believe in him.”
On Hector’s Stab High Quiver
“These boards work well in little beachies and conditions like the wave pool, they’re super responsive. It’s just about going down the line with speed. They’ve got straight rails, so really fast, not ideal for pivot and turning in the pocket or flow, more just getting down the line and into a section. They’ve got a touch extra weight for momentum.”
Custom designed to elevate an elf.
1. The Dako Roo 5’8″ x 19 1/2″ x 2 1/4″ – 27.3L // pastel yellow inlay and white rails.
This model is the new version of The Sandman and is something that Hector loves, made in Ghost Flex our new stringer-less EPS technology.
2. The Dako Roo 5’9″ x 19 3/8″ x 2 1/4″ – 27.6L ** Octo-Rail // translucent rose tint deck and bottom.
“Again, same design as the 5’8″ but its a little bit more stretched out…Hector is a tall guy and he doesn’t like boards too small, he didn’t even really want the 5’8” but I made it for him. I wanted to make it anyway…
“It’s kinda good the way we work because he suggests things and I have my opinions and what come out is generally a mix of the two. Plus we’ve been working together for a while now so we really understand each other and I can anticipate his needs.
“This one I made with my hard-edged rail design called ‘octo-rails’. The theory behind this is to remove the curved surface creating drag and replace it with a series of hard surfaces which minimise drag and increase speed and drive and therefore performance.”
Some people might think that I’m a weird guy who just likes colours and the boards are no good for performance, but that’s incorrect, because these boards are really, really performance orientated, but they’re also quite artistic.
3. The Lucid Eye 5’10” x 19 1/4″ x 2 5/16″ – 27.5L // pastel purple inlay and white rails.
“The Lucid Eye is our rendition of the modern day performance short-board and these dimensions are proven to work really well for Hector in a wide range of conditions. I made this one in Ghost Flex as well for him to test out and give us feedback on the construction.
“The main advantage of this type of technology is that it allows for an exceptionally strong laminate on the deck and bottom of the board without making the board too heavy or stiff. This is made achievable by leveraging of the super high strength to weight ratio of innegra glass and laminating the board in a unique fashion.”
4. The Lucid Eye 5’10” x 19 1/8″ x 2 5/16″ – 27.8L **Octo-Rail // pastel cyan inlay w // post-lam yellow epoxy resin flames.
“This one is a bit of a step up from the 5’10” Lucid Eye and has octo-rails which will give the board more hold and drive, especially in larger more powerful surf. The artwork is quite complex to execute…the core is a regular PU blank with a complete epoxy resin laminate and finish (as with all or boards).
“The post-laminate flame artwork is where things get more tricky as it involves a 6 – stage resin process, fiberglass cloth and resin tint.”
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