Stab Magazine | How To Make a Surfboard go Viral: The Hypto Krypto
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How To Make a Surfboard go Viral: The Hypto Krypto

Words by Ali Klinkenberg Craig, Namibia, hypnotic on the Krypto. Photo: Alan Van Gysen There’s a reason that there’s a Hypto Krypto, or 10, at virtually every beach in the world. Hayden Cox, otherwise known as Hayden Shapes, has hit a home run due to a painfully simple, but hard to replicate formula. He’s designed […]

style // Mar 8, 2016
Words by stab
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Words by Ali Klinkenberg

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Craig, Namibia, hypnotic on the Krypto. Photo: Alan Van Gysen

There’s a reason that there’s a Hypto Krypto, or 10, at virtually every beach in the world. Hayden Cox, otherwise known as Hayden Shapes, has hit a home run due to a painfully simple, but hard to replicate formula. He’s designed something that’s novel, and practical, and universally enjoyable. The question that sparked Stab’s interest in this polarising surfboard, is the intent of the thing. Carefully planned, meticulously executed marketing exercise? Or organic smash hit?

“Of course it’s deliberate in design,” says Hayden, “but in terms of it being a perfect harmony, there’s a lot of variables that’ve gone into the board.” The Hypto’s appeal is thus: It looks great under the arm (people love small boards) it paddles like a much bigger board (which everyone loves, and for the inexperienced it severely cuts the learning curve), they’re stable under foot and are about as versatile as surfboards get in terms of the range of conditions that you can ride one in. Don’t believe the hype? Please see: Craig Anderson riding one at giant Kandui (attached.) Craig’s not one to put himself in danger, or forego a good session due to unpractical equipment; the fact that he rode his Hypto is the ultimate validation. “It’s combined the designs of two boards from completely different ends of the spectrum,” continues Hayden. “It’s rooted in twin fin fishes, but I added the pulled in pintail from the semi-guns that I was making. And the FutureFlex technology really compliments the design.” (And, significantly, gives it a unique selling point.)

Craig Anderson is perhaps the only man in surfing who’s permitted to go straight without ridicule (and who looks wholly beautiful) and therefore, the ultimate poster boy for the Hypto. So which came first, the craft or the style? “Craig rides that board not because we asked him to, or because he likes to see people trying to replicate what he’s doing, but because it feels good under his feet,” says Hayden, “I could throw any board under Ando’s feet, whether it’s good or bad, and I’d sell X amount of boards. But to sell X + N, it takes word of mouth. And for that it takes people to ride it and have a really good experience on the board.” The thing that’s weird about the success of the Hypto is that it’s taken until now for it to really take off and start selling. The things have been on the market for almost six years! Isn’t globalisation and social media saturation supposed to make it easy to make a quick buck if you scribble out a winning formula? “It’s not surprising to me that it’s taken so long to take off,” says Hayden, “the surfboard game still relies heavily on reputation and word of mouth.”

Ando

It works! (Photo by Iker San Martin)

So what next, you’ve created a viral monster, and the demand’s through the roof. What do you do? Take it to Thailand and pump out as may of the suckers as you can of course! Hayden Shapes are manufactured in three factories, Sydney and LA (that Hayden owns,) and one in Thailand where the stock boards are now made. But how do you overcome the stigma of boards made in third world countries, they can’t be as good as the real thing, can they? “The guys in Thailand have been making boards longer than I have,” raps Hayden, unfazed by the topic of mass produced surfboards, “I’m pretty humbled every time I go to that factory and see the craftsmanship of the team over there.” What about the process of setting up shop in Thailand, without setting your reputation ablaze? “My role from the start was to train and teach the already experienced staff the ways that I like to operate and build surfboards.” says Hayden. “The beauty of producing all my stock boards in that one location is that we’re able to set up a production line that breaks down processes to a very micro level. And there’s very tight controls. “I’d say that all three of my factories are within three percent of each other quality wise.” It’s not exactly Baddy Treloar shaping boards on the farm at Angourie, but perhaps the outsourcing of surfboard manufacturing to Thailand isn’t quite the moral panic that most surfers think it is.

It’s easy to shoot down successful people, especially the ones who are young and handsome. But fuck, can you blame a man for backing a winner and reaping the spoils of victory? There’s always going to be a place for bespoke surfboards, and if you’re happy to wait six to ten weeks for your custom craft then power to you. But surfing’s a blank canvas for a mover, and trying hard and doing well’s no longer a faux pas in surf.

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