If you’re a surfer based on the Gold Coast, you’ve likely seen ACSOD boards under the feet of some of the best surfers in the world.
ACSOD aka ‘Alex Crews Shapes or Die’ has been shaping boards for more than a decade and is a familiar name on the surf scene. Alex is the younger brother of former WSL Championship Tour surfer, Mitch Crews, who recently signed a fairly legitimate lifetime contract with ACSOD. Mitch has also opened doors for Alex to shape boards for some of the best surfers in the world. Surfers such as Mick Fanning, Connor Coffin, Ryan Callinan and Jack Freestone.
We caught up with Alex to discuss shaping boards during COVID, tips on buying new boards, the ‘lifetime contract’ recently signed with Mitch, and much more.
Tell us a little about your background and how you got into shaping?
My dad always had a little shaping bay growing up, and I watched him make all of my boards start to finish until I was 15 and wanted to have a go at making a board myself. After learning off Dad for a while, I realised that shaping is all I wanted to do, so at 17, I got a job at Jason Headege’s factory on Ourimbah road. From there, I learnt about everything to do with making surfboards, and as time went on and I got better, more opportunities arose to ghost shape boards for shapers such as Lee Stacy, Nick Blair, JS, DHD and Chilli. The lessons learnt from those guys have been invaluable and led me to where I am today.
How have things been going during COVID? Generally, surf equipment has been selling pretty well, hasn’t it?
Yeh, COVID’s travel restrictions definitely sparked a massive boom. You had people wanting to spend holiday saving on new quivers, or some people using their stimulus money to get themself a new board. It was great for our industry.
What about the NSW/QLD border closure, how did this affect you?
The border closure was an absolute nightmare for anyone who had livelihoods dependent on crossing the border. Personally, with the factory (Glass Lab) being in South Tweed, I had to relocate my living situation from Tugun to Tweed Heads just to continue going to and from work, just so I didn’t have to do some dodgy border hop for six months. As for work, the freight and logistic issues it caused were challenging. We would have to meet customers and suppliers at the barricades to hand over boards or materials.
Recently, your brother Mitch officially signed an ACSOD ‘lifetime contract’, can you tell us about this? How many years in the making was this? And what sealed the deal?
Yep, he’s on for good, lol. Mitch has constantly tested boards out for me, and it’s played a massive role in my development over the years. So in a way, it had been in the making since I started shaping. In 2019 I really came into my own with the business. The boards I was making were performing well and consistently for some outstanding surfers, which caught Mitch’s eye. We worked on a couple of batches and found a magic recipe that gave him the confidence to ride them full-time.
Tell us about how you fit into the shaping market. What’s your speciality?
I believe ACSOD is finding its place in the market as one of the next premier shapers to come out of the Gold Coast. But, with a modern, youthful aesthetic, more diversity in our range and mixed with some traditional board building values. As for a specialty, I see a lot of what I love from surfing shine through in the models that do well. I have a competitive surfing background, and I love that style of surfing, so many people enjoy my White Ferrari model. As of late, I’ve been enjoying experimenting with alternate stuff, so the Lotus, an 80’s inspired thruster, has been a big hit for us recently.
Are there any trends in what people are riding at the moment? What’s popular and what’s not?
It’s honestly so diverse these days on what people are ordering. It’s great to see, actually. If I had to pick, though. I’d say mid-lengths are pretty popular.
How can a good surfboard help a surfer?
A good board can and should have you excited to go surfing.
What are some tips you can give people looking to order a custom board, or buy one off the rack?
1. Be honest with your ability
2. Have a clear idea of what you want the board for, e.g. what problem are you solving, small waves, big waves, all-rounder etc
3. Be real with your fitness levels. Foam is your friend.
What is your current favourite board to shape/ride?
At the moment, it would be the Lotus. Its an 80’s inspired thruster with all the classic features from that era but with some modern contours. It just flys. I can’t get off the thing.
Thanks for chatting with SQ, Alex!