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Start To Finish Course

Shaping School Main Start To Finish Course Learn To Shape Learning Artwork Glassing & Sanding Learning CNC Design

cary-newboard.jpgWelcome to Essence Surf's Start to Finish Shaping School Course.

Please browse through the sections listed below for information on this course.

If you have any questions please feel free to Contact The Shaping School anytime.



 What Do You Need? (return to top of page)


Where Do You Live?

If you live in the state of New Jersey you are probably within a few hours of our location... Please keep in mind that the classes involve multiple sessions that can last up to 3 hrs. each. If you do not live in the wonderful Garden State we would not deny you the classes but the area we are in is fairly expensive and you will have to stay for about a week to complete the course. Feel free to contact us about places near us to stay.


How Old Are You?

If you are over the age of 18...no worries. If not don't be discouraged, we can still teach you but you MUST have a guardian present at all times during the building process. Guardians must also be present before any waivers or contracts are signed and must understand all the rules.
Parents, we run a safe but dirty operation. If you feel uncomfortable with your child participating in a certain aspect of the building process we respect that and will allow you child to watch and ask questions. We have taught individuals as young as 14 and have had the pleasure of working with both the parents and their children. We meet with all students and guardians prior to any classes and answer any questions you might have.


 Mind Getting Dirty?

No Joke, shaping glassing and sanding boards is a dirty job to say the least. We would recommend that you bring a change of clothes or coveralls when you start. You are welcome to change on the premise or leave your clothing in the shop to change into.

 Getting Started. (return to top of page)


Getting Started!

So, this turns out this is something you would like to do. Question is how do you get started?

We do not accept walk-ins although we welcome anyone into our shop. We always invite the  student to come into the shop and see what the area is like and what we are all about. We do not want any misconceptions as to what the student will be getting involved in. We are located about 30 minutes West of New York City. Please feel free to email or call us to schedule an appointment. We require a 50% down payment on all classes prior to ordering any materials. Even though we have a stock of blanks, glass, and resin we may have to order if we are out of particular items. A contract and waiver MUST be signed by the student and/or guardian explaining the responsibility to their instructor and themselves. Safety equipment must be purchased for the classes.


 How Much Does It Cost? (return to top of page)


Is Learning Expensive?

Pricing for the start to finish course is very straight forward and all depends on board size.

Pricing includes:

Blank, Glass, Resin, FCS II Fin boxes, Leash plug, sand paper and all associated classes from shaping to sanding. Student also now have the choice to machine their blank and learn CNC Design instead of hand shaping.

If additional items are added like artwork, we present those prices before you do the work...no suprises.


We break this list down primarily by board size. Base price signifies a plain white surfboard with (1) custom logo (8" x 10") of your choice. Base price covers all raw material costs, and instruction on Shaping, Glassing, Fin Installation and Sanding. (PU Blanks and Resin ONLY, we do not work with epoxies).

Board Size: Base Price: Fin Config. Fin Box Type:
5'8" - 6'9" $919 Thruster (3) FCS II
6'10" - 7'11" $1,020 Thruster (3) FCS II
8'0" - 9'1" $1,160 8.5" OR 10.5" Box Bahne
9'2" - 9'8" $1,325 10.5" Box Bahne
9'9" - 10'0" $1,430 10.5" Box Bahne

 How Long Does It Take? (return to top of page)


 How Much Time Do I Need?

Of all the questions we are asked about the shaping school this is by far the toughest to answer accurately. We have found that all people work at different paces and usually show better skills in some areas more than others. Kids can take substantially longer during the shaping parts of the course.

Estimated Times:

Shaping: 1-4 sessions. Ranging from 2-4 hrs each.

Glassing & Fin Install: 1 Session. 3-4 hrs.

Sanding: 1 Session. 2-5 hrs.

 What Is NOT Included? (return to top of page)


What Do I Need To Get?

We try and supply our students with everything they need in order to build their first surfboard. However, there are some items we do not supply in the base cost.

SAFETY EQUIPMENT: This is the most important! Due to hygienic concerns we require all students or people watching to bring their own safety equipment. You will need an organic respirator that is good for vapors, goggles and chemical resistant gloves. YOU CANNOT enter the shop without the proper protection!




img-20140601-132233.jpg Josh Allen:

"Your Bottom Turn Looks SO Sick!" (or, How I Shaped My First Surfboard.)

After years of dreaming and talking about it, I finally shaped my first surfboardthanks to Gene at Essence Surf, and by no feat of luck, it worked!In fact it worked so well on my first session, a stranger paddled out to tell me how good my bottom turn looked on the board and asked to check it out - total validation!

This was a surprise to hear, and to be honest, I was a little uncertain.After all, I've never shaped a board before.I had a lot of preconceived notions of how my first hand shape would be before I met Gene.Of course, all those notions were of me "totally ripping on a flawless board, in awe of the whole lineup! I mean, how else would I do it?I knew the blank I wanted to use.I knew the rocker I was aiming for at tip and tail. I knew how I wanted the rails to feel based on other boards I'd owned and the type of surf I was shaping for (east coast summer mushburgers).I'd seen a million videos of other shapers ripping out finished shapes in under an hour.So, ok, I'm a beginner, maybe it'll take me two hours instead, right?Whoops, maybe not!We got the blank laid it out the measurements for my self-designed template, and then I quickly burned up those first two hours learning how to make a spin template work for my particular set of curves. (It was so much faster in all those videos!)Gene laughed, and knew when to step in to keep me from getting lost - "You need a break! You're getting snow blind, I can see it!"

Next up - the planer.The planer looks so easy when you see other people doing it.Some guys like Ben Aipa look so comfortable cutting foam back and forth with that thing it's like a paint brush instead of the board eating beast it wants to be when in my hands.However, with each new shaping procedure, Gene would step in and give me a demonstration on the board to get it started, and then allow me continue on with the rest of that shape.Soon enough (admittedly,after a couple meaty gouges of my own) I was much more comfortable with the planer and the way it felt underhand, making some smoother passes of my own.

I had the template cut perfectly, foiled the board to what I was looking for and blended in all the planer marks with a surform, various sanding blocks, pads, and screens. On to the rails - kind of the coolest part of making the board. It's where your chunk of foam really starts to look like a surfboard.Gene took the time to make sure he understood what I wanted from my rails, and showed me a couple of passes with the dragon skin, and how to avoid digging the edge into the rail, and when it was my turn….. it worked!I managed to finish with the top turned down in the back edge, bladed out rails in the middle, and the front third turned up - my first "S" deck!Just what I imagined.

The opportunity to glass the board was why I really came to Gene in the first place.I haven't yet found a shop that will show you how to shape your board as well as glass it.There are a couple places out there that claim to teach you how to shape the board in a 4 or 5 hour class (that is laughable at best!Your first board?It's gonna take some time), and then they glass they board for you.Why would I only want to learn half of the process?Glassing is where the real shape of your board and all of it's nuance dialed in, some would argue the most important step.For my board I was able to mix my own deep opaque blue tint - though you can airbrush if you chose instead -and cut lap the bottom and top of the board, which came out really well.I even learned how to rout out the fin boxes and glass them in.Total board construction from blank to finished surfboard, and I learned and performed every step.You aren't getting that anywhere else.Just try and ask around, it's not happening.

The only problem I have now is I can't stop thinking about my next shape!Fortunately, since I've taken his class, I'm welcome to come down to Essence Surf and use his tools and shaping bay for free as long as I buy the supplies from him.You won't find that anywhere else either.Gene is a true gem for anyone sincerely interested in shaping their own board, and no one on the east coast is doing what he offers.As much as I'd rather he be my own personal secret, I really think anyone who surfs should be calling him now, figuring out how to make their next surfboard!


Some Of Our Past Students. (return to top of page)


Shaping School Contact Form: (return to top of page)

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