After a Death-By-Delam a Historic Clark Foam Core is Resurrected by the Son of the Original Shaper
Written by Cooper Collins
Somewhere, Terry Martin is smiling.It is well chronicled that Terry, having spent decades as a production shaper for Hobie, may hold the record for most surfboards ever shaped by one human. Conservative estimates put the number somewhere in the vicinity of 85,000 shaped blanks. And today Terry’s legacy lives on, literally.
Since Terry’s passing in 2012, using many of Terry’s old templates and tools, including a custom-modified Skil 100 planer, his son Josh has been shaping stunning foam, balsa, and redwood surf craft. Josh’s “Martin Shapes” logo even features Terry’s hands.
So, when my beloved 9’3″ Terry Martin noserider finally succumbed to death-by-delam, I asked Josh if he would be interested in a trash-to-treasure salvage project designed to get a new mini-Simmons out of the old 9’3″ his dad shaped me back in 2006.
Giving the project some added appeal was the fact that the old 9’3″ was very likely the last Clark Foam blank Terry ever shaped.
Terry told me he found the blank gathering dust in Velzy’s backyard many months after Clark was shuttered and all the remaining Clark blanks were thought to have been gobbled up.
Josh, my good friend since high school, was initially reluctant about the project. He was probably imagining the itch factor involved in cutting through all that fiberglass and resin.
But once the beat up 9’3” was posed on the racks of Josh Martin’s north Capistrano Beach shaping bay, I could see the wheels begin to turn as he envisioned that historic Clark blank disentombed and repurposed into a lively new twin keel.
We templated the new Simmons with a Sharpie onto the decaying glass of the 9’3″. Josh then proceeded to cut the outline with a Skil saw—through wax, resin, glass, foam and all. As he peeled off the old skin of glass, unveiling the bare foam, we realized that Terry’s penciled-in dimensions and signature had stuck to the glass skin. But the indentations of Terry’s signature and dims were still in the foam. So Josh retraced his dad’s signature and the old board’s dims using one of Terry’s original Sanford 314 pencils. A chicken-skin moment for sure.
The final result was a Lazarus board of sorts: A new 7’0″ Simmons with a Clark Foam core, and twin marine ply keels hand foiled by Josh. Another magic Martin sled.
It’s hard to believe it has been more than seven years since Terry passed. I can still hear his infectious laugh, although it becomes harder and harder to conjure as the months slip by. When my teenage son and I trade waves on the trans-generational Martin mini-Simmons these days, however, Terry’s presence is palpable.