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Matt Biolos, the genius behind ...Lost Surfboards, has been at the leading edge of surfboard design since the early 90’s. His countless contributions to the sport of surfing range from the timeless “Lost Across America” videos all the way to the introduction of the Round Nose Fish. Fast forward 25 years and you’d be hard pressed to go a session without seeing someone ripping on a Mayhem shaped craft. In between coming up with new designs, rushing boards for the best surfers in the world, and scoring powder runs in Mammoth, we sat down with the San Clemente based shaper to get an inside look at ...Lost Surfboards, the surf industry, and what we can expect in the future.
Over the years, we’ve seen surfers rise to stardom only to burn out. Your boards, however, have stayed at an elite level on both the men’s and women’s tour for what seems like forever. What do you attribute to this longevity?
Longevity is almost always based on building a solid base, then remaining valid by staying creative and consistent. It’s much easier to remain in a solid position than it is to get there. Once you get there, it actually requires less work. This is true in almost any profession.
That said, for …Lost Surfboards, and myself in particular, it means staying in touch with the upcoming and current surfers, continuing to surf and be involved in the global surf culture and scene, and focusing on a tightly run and streamlined business that can roll through the bumps in the road.
When developing a new model, do you personally test it out, or do you rely on feedback from your team riders? Or is it a combination of both?
BOTH! For models like the Puddle Fish and most of the on going “Domesticated Series” I am basically the test pilot and RnD guy. If a board like that works for me, then it should relate well to the typical customer. For models based around pro surfers, which work great for younger, more athletic and physically fit surfers, then of course I use the team for feedback. Models like the VooDoo Child, V2-HP, etc I have not even ridden.
You’ve been at the forefront when it comes to innovation in terms of utilizing alternative surfboard construction. What inspires you to use things like cork, black dart, and lib tech?
It’s fun! I mean we try a lot more techs and constructions than we actually release to the public. If your not open to new ideas and new ways to creating, then you will eventually get left behind. Like Herbie Fletcher used to tell me, “If you’re not the lead dog in the pack, the scenery will never change.”
It’s a well known fact that a ...Lost surfboard off the rack, for lack of a better word, WORKS. Why do you think your models resonate so well with surfers up and down the east and west coasts?
We strive to build boards that are easy to use. That’s plain and simple. Cover the basics, but not to the extreme. There’s faster, down-the-line boards available, but can you turn them? There’s looser boards, but can you generate speed? We focus on balance.
In your opinion, has the Volume measurement helped, or hurt, surfers looking for a new board? Is there a “right” way to factor volume into board selection?
Like anything new, it can cause confusion at first. Close minded people refute it and overly amped people jump in and think it’s the end all/be all. It’s neither. It’s simply another tool to closer pinpoint the details that work for you. Instead of using three dims to narrow your focus on the correct board, you’re looking at 4 dims. It closer targets the exactness and gives just a little more confidence that a board is in your wheelhouse. For working with team and athletes, it has actually been a massive improvement in nailing what a competitive surfer likes. It has really helped there, more than in the market place.
Where do you see potential growth in the surfboard industry? Is it the shape and design? Will it be the way it’s manufactured? Will it be the material the board is made out of? Or is there something else?
It will always be evolving and changing. I don’t have a magic window, but if you look at the industry now, it is different than even 5 years ago, and very different than 10 years ago…
What can we expect from Lost Surfboards in 2017?
Well, we’ve already released most of our new models for 2017. The last big release is coming in the next few weeks: The Puddle Fish. We are releasing a bunch of new models in Carbon Wrap and Black Dart techs this spring; new colors and expanding the offering there. Behind the scenes I will be busy as usual with the team and competitive surfers. By Summer, I will be inspired and coming up with more ideas for fun machines.
Other than that, we are working to be better in everything we do: design, manufacturing, customer service, and quality. It’s always an endless effort.
The ...Lost Puddle Fish
If you could pick one new model you are most excited about, which would it be and why?
I like The Puddle Fish because it is a blast and makes me feel like I can rip in small, typical surf. Anything that makes me have fun in small, crappy waves because if you can have fun in bad conditions, then you can have fun in anything.
Looking to update your quiver and find a fresh feeling in the water? Be sure to check out our current STOCK LIST or stop by the shop and give the boards a feel! If you don't find what you are looking for, let us know and we will do our best to get the board for you! Also, be sure to keep an eye out for the official release of The Puddle Fish, coming to the shop soon!