Local Legends Build Custom Surfboard
Surf forecaster Dean Vanderbleek shows off his new Josh Autrey
In the surfing world, the term “legend” can get thrown around a little too loosely. It’s an affectionate term, one that we use to describe the friends that we’ve made lasting memories alongside. But if you want to get down to the nitty gritty, there are only a few true standout legends that helped to shape the St. Augustine surf scene that we know today. Two of those legends are surf forecaster Dean Vanderbleek and local surfboard shaper Josh Autrey. Recently, Vanderbleek teamed up with Autrey to create his new custom surfboard.
Old Salty Dog gets a Custom Autrey
Vanderbleek, has an enormous knowledge of swell and weather patterns, an expertise that he has gracefully lent to the Surf Station with his surf forecasts. A self-described “old salty dog”, Vanderbleek has guided the surf sessions of St. Augustine surfers with his local swell outlooks. When he isn’t helping the rest of us plan for the next big swell, he’s out in the water catching a few himself. Recently, Vanderbleek approached Autrey of Warrior Surfboards to shape his newest stick.
Warrior Surfboards by Autrey
The Autrey family has been building surfboards since 1980, when Josh’s father Burgess first started shaping. Josh followed in his father’s footsteps and has created entirely hand-built surf-craft for decades. It’s this hard-earned prowess that convinced Vanderbleek that Autrey would be the right man for the job when it came to building his most recent board. Here’s what he had to say about his new custom surfboard:
As Josh applied the wax coat on his latest hand-crafted Autrey and his dad worked nearby in the south St. Augustine shaping bay on a sultry August afternoon, a billowing black cloud built just north over old town. Soon, all hell broke loose with lightning popping all around and near-hurricane force wind-driven rain pummeling the metal building in a deafening roar. Burgess and I thought it was a proper birthday for the board on my 62nd.
The quad Josh perfectly created for me cumulated from 50 years of riding Florida waves along both coasts. A hybrid full-volume fun board… wide nose and tail, nice thickness carrying through the mid-section., with the 6’7″ length falling between my longboard and the short board quiver that I had just sold off. A board that my aging rotator cuffs can paddle and catch waves with ease. Add a channel bottom flowing into bat-tail (like my knee board) for speed and responsiveness- and you have a Walter Payton-like sweetness on the water!
Due to surgery earlier in the summer to remove cancer on my left eyeball, I had to wait several weeks- missing a couple of decent swells- before I could christen her. Then at the end of August Hurricane Omar formed east of Hatteras. sending a moderate ENE ground swell down the coast to Florida with locally offshore wind. A three-hour session at the Sun Glow pier verified that Josh had created a magic board.
Autrey is just one of the local shapers available for custom surfboard orders through the shop. Our boardroom experts can find the right shaper for you and can aid in the design process of creating your perfect new stick.