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Rachael Tilly and the balsa Travellete

Josh Martin

Rachael Tilly and the balsa Travellete

Many people today treat balsa wood surfboards as more of an heirloom piece for the wall than a wave-riding tool, but I have a different mindset as it pertains to the use of balsa as a core material for a surfboard. My love for balsa began in the mid 1970's. The first memories I have of balsa wood were of model airplanes and a board my father had made. This board was made in the early 1950's and was displayed prominently in the Dana Point Hobie surf shop. I recall my father telling many stories of great times selecting the lightest...


Martin Shapes welcomes Rachael Tilly

Josh Martin

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It’s a family affair… At 17 years old Rachael Tilly has defied the odds by winning the World Title in professional Longboard Surfing. In the early days of Rachael’s career it was the guidance of longtime surfboard shaper Terry Martin that helped pave the way to Rachael’s success. “I attribute a large part of my success to my relationship with Terry Martin that began in his shaping room. I learned so much from Terry and am very grateful for the knowledge and insights he gave me during our endeavors together.”​​​​​​​​​-Rachael Tilly Terry’s lessons about life were key to Rachael’s success…...


Another Martin carries on a surfboard-shaping tradition

Another Martin carries on a surfboard-shaping tradition

LA Times article by: Kathleen Luppi March 20, 2016 Some fathers pass down a love of fishing to their sons. Others share the tradition of fixing cars or building a model train set. Josh Martin's family legacy is shaping surfboards.Over a nearly six-decade career, Martin's father, Terry, was said to have shaped more surfboards than anyone else in the world — some 80,000 — although the exact number isn't known. Terry, wiho was given the nickname "The Machine," created signature boards for surf legends like Gerry Lopez, Gary Propper and Joyce Hoffman. The first board Terry made was out of lighter...


Fillets of Sequoia

Josh Martin

Over the past year or so I’ve had the opportunity to build a couple boards from some really old Giant Sequoia. This wood was legally harvested from 3 trees that fell naturally in a windstorm a number of years ago. I love the fact that this enormous logging and milling operation was hand cut by FarWest Forest Products. I go into a bit more detail about this special wood in an earlier blog post titled “Big Trees in the Surf”. You can read more about the wood and the surfboards I build from it there. This post is about preserving some...


A Martin Shapes Custom Board

I make boards to order. If I am making a board that's destined for a surf shop or my online store it's the same deal. There's always the rider in the equation when I shape a board. It's a real satisfying thing to build a hand shaped, made to order, custom product. There's not much of that kind of merchandise out there these days. If you've got the bucks you can hire a contractor to build you the custom house of your dreams. You can still in some cases (sorta) order a car built to your specification. However, for the...