Self Surfboards

Joseba Bernardo Designer, Surfboard Builder

On a recent trip to Basque country we were fortunate to hang out with the talented Joseba of Self Surfboards. Whilst visiting his studio and shaping booth we found out a little more about the sublime boards he designs, build and rides.

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When did you start surfing and where abouts?

I started surfing about 5 or 6 years ago. And my baptism happened on a sunny day in south west France. I last 30 minutes getting back in.

How’d you get into shaping?

My first board was a 7feet epoxy board, super buoyant and imposible to move. I wanted something different and I couldn´t find what I was looking for in the surf shops so, after a hundred of videos, I made my own board. Everything was made wrong but it floated so I was happy enough to continue shaping and improving board after board.

Who are some of your shaping influences and who would you like to work with?

There are a lot and big influences for me in shaping, but if I had to choose one, that would be Jeff Mc Callum. I love his shapes and I thing he is one of a kind shaping all his boards by hand. That would be amazing if I could spend some days at his workshop but I think working in the Temple Of Enthusiasim for Deus in Bali would be much better. Just for the fact that I would be in Bali :)

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Have you found you’re establishing a house style or getting known for a particular shape?

I think that´s not particularly for a certain shape but for glassing jobs and finishes. There are customers that ask for a particular shape and others for my own ones, where The Trio model is one of most shaped, but most of the time, I shape what the surfer needs to improve the surfing and achieve what they are searching for.

You’re also a graphic designer and do all your own graphics, right? I think this is obvious in the quality of the finishes and resin work on your boards, how do these come about?

I take a lot of care on the finishes. I think it is one of the things that makes my work more personal. It is just a matter of how do you want to be known. Many others preffer to make as much boards as posible in a less time. I prefer to take my time to think, design and make everything slower than making crappy board with no feeling.

Your workshop has a shaping booth and a studio which is really cool, what other items are made in your workshop other than surfboards?

I don´t have much time to use the studio part, it is mainly used by my girlfriend. She makes wooden handmade necklaces under the name Moana Handmade and normally when I´m shaping or glassing she´s there painting and doing her stuff. The room also has a small surfboard rack so it works as a showroom too.

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Outside of surfing do you have any other design or style influences?

I was into skating before surfing but music has been my passion since I have memory. I´ve been playing bass in a hardcore band from 10 years now and I think I wouldn´t be in surfing right now if I didn´t start playing. One thing get to another and you never now how´s going to end!

Whats the Basque surf scene like? Self Surfboards along with Follow the Vane crew seem to have more of an alternative/retro vibe, in an area where thrusters and neon wetsuits are the majority?

That´s a shame but it´s true. Anyway, there´s a little light at the end of the tunnel and we can see more and more alternative surfing around Basque Country. I´m trying to play my part shaping different boards and make others see that not only thrusters work good on the waves. People like Follow The Vane, Enjoy Your Surroundings or Deflow Fins are also making words like “Mini Simmons” or “Single Fin” don´t look that strange as they where 5 years ago. We are not much but we are going to keep doing what we love.

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Which of your boards do you personally ride the most?

I normally use the longboard but I allways try to use different boards to feel how they ride and change what I feel it has to be improved. Last summer I really enjoyed the Survive model in Portugal. Nice gliding and heaps of speed! Now is time for a 5´10 quad and see how she works!

What musics normally playing in your studio?

When I´m shaping I can´t hear much so I usually put the radio on and let it play. But when glassing I can hear from Refused to Bon Iver. Right now I´m very into Manchester Orchestra´s Cope album.

You’re based between Zarautz and San Sebastian which are both rad places, wheres good to eat there and wheres good to get drunk?

I think San Sebastian is more poplular for both but in summer time any town in the Basque Country shore is great!!

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