STORY: ANTHONY PANCIA
PHOTOS; RUSSELL ORD
IT looks, sounds and smells exactly like a shaper’s factory should. A maze of bays, back rooms and racks of second hand boards stacked alongside shiny new ones.
Out front, a television plays an endless loop of vintage surf movies while the walls are covered in postcards, pin up girls and dusty old photos of locals charging big waves. And if the walls of Nathan Rose and John “Duttsy” Dutton’s Margaret River shed could talk, they would sound a lot like Maurice Cole.
The enigmatic shaper built the shed in 1995, partly to cope with the demands of his then busy export market.
“I had a very big contract with Japan for nearly 1000 boards a year,” says Cole.
“I had that factory fitted out as state of the art and I was there for about six years.”
And it was in that factory that Cole set to work shaping boards for a keen young grommet named Taj Burrow.
“I was introduced to Taj and his parents by (filmmaker) Jack McCoy,” recalls Cole.
“I saw how he surfed with beautiful style and presence and well he could ride the barrel I agreed to manage him and make his boards.”
The factory was home to many of Cole’s early design breakthroughs and ground zero for the new buzz sport of tow surfing.
“Many of those breakthroughs were and still are the foundation of what I am doing now.”
“The waves in Western Australia really let me loose, especially with the guns and those early tow boards. It was amazing to see how big a wave we could ride on such relatively tiny boards. A lot of the bombies around Margaret River were a favourite testing ground.”
But the one constant between those early years and 2015 is very apparent come Friday afternoon.
“All the locals were keen for a beer,’’ says Cole.
“I’m so stoked to see the boys continuing the surfboard culture and are keeping it real.”
For more of Anthony’s work go to www.byanthonypancia.com