Stab Magazine | Morgan Maassen Discusses His New Film "Dusts Of Gold" With Alternative Board Builder, Ryan Lovelace

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Morgan Maassen Discusses His New Film “Dusts Of Gold” With Alternative Board Builder, Ryan Lovelace

Come inside for the interview and a film about a strange fish in a weird pond. 

style // Aug 17, 2019
Words by Stab
Reading Time: 5 minutes

I think the best part of my passion for filmmaking is being able to point the camera at my friends and document their pursuits and adventures.

Ryan Lovelace has been one of my closest friends since we met a decade ago and is constantly inspiring me with his craftsmanship and creativity. Stir in the ever-stylish Trevor Gordon and you have my latest video, “Dusts of Gold”, a short film about a weird idea Ryan brought to fruition… 

Morgan: Tell us a bit about yourself, and how you’ve situated yourself in your life and career as a boardbuilder in the community of Santa Barbara, and globally?  

Where to start is always the question…I moved here from Seattle when I was 18 – within my first year here, I started making boards for myself and that snowballed rather heavily over the next couple years…consuming my life and focus completely. 

I met you and Trevor Gordon in the first couple years (2008-ish), and that gave the three of us a really cool platform to work together and expand our own obsessions together. Flash forward another couple years and I started getting invitations to shape around Europe and Australia every summer, which ended up planting a lot of seeds globally – I was doing between 100 and 200 boards a year so that was a lot of seeds over five years or so.

Social media kinda kicked up right around then and I’ve always liked to share what’s going on in my shop so it was a pretty natural outlet for me to welcome everyone into my work; as I said, everything seemingly snowballed… One thing leads to another and I’ve always just tried to work as hard as I can and make good on the challenges presented to me with the thought that all of those choices together would lead to something organic and real, rather than specifically designed.

The term ‘balls to the wall’ comes up a lot around my shop.  

MorganMaassen Lovelace 27

How often do you grab a blank and just experiment? What spearheads the creativity and/or randomness that go into these experiments?

Very often with conceptual boards, I’ll come into the shop with an idea or vision of in my head and it morphs in front of me as the imagined curves start to tie together in physical form; and then it always changes when it becomes reality. My little sketches and images in my head morph and clean up as I try to balance the vision with rationality.

What is it like experimenting as a shaper… contemplating designs, factoring in riders, new models in your business, public perception, budgeting to potentially waste time and foam?

Experimenting is the key to my happiness in shaping, or at least the key to opening that door. While I get a lot of satisfaction and gratification in making my custom boards – the core of my daily practice – but without the experiments, it would fall flat after a couple years when everyone is ready for something new. If I don’t keep pushing on in my own curiosities and the things I want for my own surfing and my friends’ surfing, then my business also suffers.

Luckily for me its all tied into the same organism, I just have to balance it in order for all of the functioning arms to stay healthy and be a positive force for myself and others.

Public perception is a funny thing, you can imagine what someone’s life and reality is based on their social media but you don’t know jack shit until you see their space – whether that’s life space, workspace, headspace, you’re clueless until you step outside of your own platform. We only have so much bandwidth and anyone’s attention span anymore to try to connect and convey a message if we have a platform to do that so. It can be hard to get a message across especially if it’s conceptual but I’ve always focused on the people who have been watching for a while and get the picture I’m looking at – those are the people who you as a builder owe something too have to stand by.

MorganMaassen Lovelace 20

You have an incredible relationship with Trevor Gordon. What’s it like working with him? How does he effect how you tackle projects, mow foam? What does he mean to you, as a small/medium-sized shaper?

Trevor is like my ideal customer…I’ll get a text that says “let’s make some boards” and he’ll make me a really vague description or reference to another board we’ve already made. From there he pretty much lets me do what I want and (I think) trusts my approach. He ultimately expresses it on a wave; so it’s truly gratifying for me to see him surf my boards. I get a lot of moments on the shoulder of a wave watching him come down the line. We don’t really rush through boards, but we’ll make a few in batches or as trips come up here and there, it’s really mellow and there’s never any pressure on it; so, it stays really fun and pure for both of us. 

Did this board succeed or fail? Did you learn anything or earn any takeaways?

I’d say it was a success in achieving the down the line speed that I wanted – the big curveball was how much more surfable the big version was than I thought it would be; The little blue one got passed around a lot but I kept the big tan one for myself and rode the crap out of it for a few seasons – my friend Owen Kaestner has been riding it the past few months now and he’s been sending me back images of some mental moments that I’m really stoked on. It’s not really something I’d want to ‘put out there’ for public consumption though as a model or anything; they’re really fun boards but are so singular and particular that without a really really applied and appreciative owner would likely fall into circulation between confused craigslist connoisseurs. That’s kinda worst case scenario for someone like me on a truly experimental board. 

What are you working on now that inspires you, or are there any projects in the pipeline that encapsulate your creativity/wonderment of experimentation?

I’ve been having fun with midlengths as always, that always been my bread, butter and key to my heart in my own surfing. I’m really intent on furthering the tradition of hand shaping as a legitimate way to make a living, so my other company Trimcraft has been a big sink for my energy as well for the past few years.

I’ve got a finless project that’s been in rattling around my head for a few years that I’m hoping to get out of there soon, I’ve prototyped it a few different ways but it’s a bigger kinda vision and will take money to get out there. It involves different materials and building processes, but I’m going to will that one into existence…we’ll see how long it takes!

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