ABOUT THE SHAPER...
Mike Walker began shaping surfboards in 1996 out of a 9’x9′ garage in Northern Baja (Mexico), while finishing his last two years of high school in home study. He would crank out two to three days of school work a day when it was flat, which allowed him to surf all day when the waves picked up. All that water time meant Mike was going through a lot of boards! So, he started shaping his own. Through trial and error, Mike learned every component of the process. After building several dozens of boards his shapes began to work as well as the ones he had purchased from the surf shops in San Diego.
Friends would come down for days at a time to stay at his family's beach-side home and surf. They began having Mike make their boards and soon the word got out. By the time Mike completed high school he had a loyal clientele requesting custom shapes.
After graduating from high school, Mike returned to San Diego and landed a job with Pacific Surf Glass; at that time one of the world's leading surfboard production facilities. While increasing his skills and experience, he was permitted to utilize the shaping room after hours. Walker credits those days at Pacific Surf Glass for developing his talent as one of the youngest professionally recognized shapers in history. With multiple articles and interviews published in international surf magazines; Surfer, Surfing, Surfing Life, Waves Magazine as well as business publications such as Transworld Business and San Diego Business Journal.
The quality of Walker’s work soon triggered a demand for customized boards from some of the industry’s most dominant labels. In 1998, he began shaping boards for brands such as Rusty, Xanadu, Sharp Eye, Rawson, Gordon & Smith, Lightening Bolt, South Coast and Kane Garden.
“Having the unique opportunity to be mentored by all the shapers I looked up to in the industry was truly a privilege. Not many people have that kind of access to such a vast amount of surfboard design knowledge. Being able to shape under their labels and learn the theories behind their designs really allowed me to get my experience up and clarify how I wanted to approach my own shapes.”
For several years, Walker continued subcontracting for these labels, generating as many as 70 boards in a single week. By 1999, demand for his boards required that he venture out on his own to focus solely on his own brand – Walker Surfboards.
In 2004 Mike began receiving requests to build custom boards for riding behind boats. With his experience and understanding of hydrodynamics and the feedback of several professional wake surfers – Walker Surfboards quickly gained a reputation as a leading producer of high performance wake surf boards.
“It was so fun being a part of wake surfings earlier evolution. I always dreamed of being able to expand the board business to interior “land locked” states. I just always assumed it would be because of wave pools! Haha. But once I learned about wake surfing and how family friendly the sport was – I really embraced the sport and knew I wanted to help come up with boards that would allow people to get the most out of their surfing experience.”
Now, having built boards for over 20 years, traveled to multiple countries for surf and shaping tours. Mike continues to build boards for discerning clientele, who are looking for high performance, customization and attention to detail.
“Surfing, whether in the ocean or behind the boat has always been an escape where all the cares and distractions of our fast pace lives fade away and you're really living in the moment. That's why I build boards. I want to help other riders find that peace that comes from riding waves. Since day one we've operated under the motto – Built in the Pursuit of Freedom. It's so rewarding to get feedback from our clients after their first sessions. It makes all those long nights worth it.”