Miller Surfboards

Ellie Miller Surfboard Builder

Its really inspiring to hear the Miller Surfboards story, of how Ellie started shaping surfboards out of nothing more than curiosity and necessity. From these initial explorations Ellies reputation has grown and she's becoming one of our most exciting and innovative home grown surfboard shapers.

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How long have you been surfing? Can you remember that legendary first green wave? (though I can’t remember mine)

I remember the exact moment. I was at Fontenella in Andalusia on my bic 7’9. the water there is so beautiful, and it was a glassy 2ft wave. I popped up and realsied I wasnt going directly towards the beach, but sideways along a glassy faced wave…. I didnt shut up for days!

How’d you get into making boards and starting Miller?

I just got into it because I had such an obsession with boards. constantly trawling shops to touch and feel and drool, but never really able to afford my habit! id borrowed a simmons, which i loved, but couldnt afford to buy one, so i decided i’d make my own. id been reading up on shaping and glassing for over a year, but hadnt built up the courage to commit to a blank and materials, but i decided that if i screwed it up, atleast i’d have tried. It actually turned out pretty good, infact i still ride it now. along with my first log, a pig, its the only board i will never sell. after my 4th board I got a couple of locals ask me to build for them, which i did. So I never set out to start Miller surfboards as such….. it just evolved, I can’t think of it as a brand at all, its just me, in my little workshop, doing something I love, and making other people happy in the process.

Which shaper would you like to spend a week learning from and why?

If I had to choose one I think Skip Frye would be a decent chap to spend a week with. I respect the fact that he still makes all his own boards.. I’m sure he could have sold out a thousand times over. I’d love to shape one of his big section connectors with him, that’d be fun

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Obviously you’re governed by what a customer wants when it comes to colours and tints but all your boards I’ve seen look great (I guess they’ve all got good taste;) Whats been your favourite colour combo/design so far?

My Favorite board so far, in those terms is my current personal rider, a 9’6 ‘Slider’, it has a solid maroon deck, with a clear bottom, and some quite intricate resin pinlining with volan inlays, insired by a sort of geometric box design I saw in a Bonobo album booklet. Although it looks simple it was outrageously hard to pull off, but it looks terrific. second would be another of my personal boards, a 6’4 single fin, with what a friend calls “french grey” deck, and a green silk fabric inlay underneath. I’m really into those kind of muted solid colours. The possibilities with glassing are endless!!, alot of people are quite happy to be lead a little, or even leave it completely to me… I like these customers very much! : )

You seem to make a lot of logs and mini-simmons style shapes (which are my boards of choice;) Is any particular shape becoming a speciality?

Well I’ve made more custom simmons than anything other design, so id have to say that was my speciality. its nice for me because it was the simmons shape that started it all off! my own take on the simmons the design, what I’ve dubbed’the blimp’, has evolved to the point now that im really really happy with the design. Everyone who’s ridden one has loved it, and I’m really proud of it. I’ve just begun developing a different simm design, with changes to concaves, and outline, and im playing around with tail shapes…the latest being a sort of ‘whale’ tail. there are so many branches to explore on the simmons design tree. Dont get me started on logs….. : )

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Your recycled Clark Foam hand planes look rad and are a great use of old boards, how’d they come about?

They came about because i was getting large sections of foam left over when cutting out the simmons, so my partner decided to start making the handplanes, which also uses left over bits of resin I have hanging around, and off cuts of cloth. just a nice way to use up leftovers! when I ran out of off cuts, we put word out we take any old or snapped boards off peoples hands, and I just so happened the first one we got was made of old Clark Foam

Do you have any surfers that you support with boards, is a rider program something you could see happening?

No, not really. I’m not into the competitive scene atall, and I have some good local surfers out there buying and riding my boards because they like them. truth be told im a little bit a cynical about buying peoples favour, just doesnt sit right with me, but I guess it depends on the circumstances.

Whats in store for Miller Surfboards in 2014?

I think some of that lies in the hands of the surfers who will, or wont buy my boards! : ) im not one to push what im doing, its not my way. I’d prefer my designs, and the quality of my work to speak for themselves, and that will take as long as it takes. I’m getting a bigger workshop in the spring, which will allow me a bit more space and help keep me organised..i dont plan on upping production all that much…. in terms of workload I’d say things are just about right for me, but I think more space will be good for my head. its integral for me that what im doing remains fun, creative, and personal.

What music is usually playing over the drone of the planer?

Now that can vary greatly depending on what mood im in! last week I was shaping to classic 70′s disco, this week im glassing to Grimes, Nirvana, Flume, Fat Freddy’s Drop and The Doors….

Is everything you own covered in dust?

Yes, and resin..lots of resin

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