Today we're going to introduce you to one of our most loyal and long standing shapers - meet Joao of Barbudas Surfboards from Aljezur, Portugal.  It feels strange to say we've still not managed to ever meet up with Joao in person, because it really feels like we have as we've provided him with so many fins over the years, and he's always been so supportive of our work.  

Barbudas Surfboards Logo

We sent Joao our Shaper Stories questions to find out a bit more about him and his boards...

Tell us where you’re from and where you’re based.

I'm Portuguese, originally from Porto, but I moved to Aljezur about 12 years ago, where I'm currently living.

What inspired your logo/brand name?

The brand name was something that I didn't have a choice about, Barbudas is a nickname given to me by my closest friends and when the time came to create a brand they all got together and said I had no choice!  I felt quite overwhelmed by the situation and it never crossed my mind to even consider anything else!

Regarding the logo, that was something as easy as the name.  My girlfriend is a designer and quickly came up with a couple of sketches for me. The drop logo was an obvious choice when taking into consideration my connection with the water.

Tell us a bit about how, when and why you got into shaping.

This is something that came naturally as a result of my passion for surfing.  I've never thought about any other option other than shaping my own boards, although it never crossed my mind to do it for a living!  I tend to get very easily obsessed by things that truly intrigue me. The craftsmanship of shapers was definitely something that marked me from the moment I started surfing.  But the life I had was far away from the surfing culture that I was eager to get into.  About 20 years ago I started researching and learning wherever I could on how boards were made, the materials and techniques used.  The time came to make my own board for the first time about 12 years ago, and once I made that first one, my life took a giant twist in a increasingly spiralling adventure.  The main reason I started the company and decided to do this for a living was to be able to connect with people and give them the opportunity to see this process, to be a part of it and to enjoy something that for me was so hard to get access to.

What kind of boards do you mostly shape?

Fortunately the boards I shape are also the boards I most enjoy to shape, but I can't say I have a specific model, it's all low rocker mid-lengths with any fin setup that isn't a thruster. 

What’s your preferred fin set up to a) shape and b) surf?

They're the same!  Always single-fin!  From a 6 footer to a proper log.  I really enjoy the challenge of making a board work as people hope for in a single fin setup.

Best tip for the budding shaper?

Take your time to make something you'll be proud of.

What’s been the most memorable board you’ve ever shaped & why?

A lot come to mind, but I have to say that the first one stands out as by far the most memorable one.  Not because of the object itself, but for the meaning that it had in my life at that stage.  It was the most simple step that I've taken in a very long process of acquiring enough knowledge and reaching maturity to deserve my friends' trust.  Therefore, it's the most memorable for me because it represents the beginning of a journey.

What's the bonus of using Macho Fins in your boards?

Everything about you guys and what you do fits perfectly with what my brand represents.  Dedication, love and tons of sweat!  Macho Fins is a reflection of all of that, and so are my boards!  It's something special giving someone their custom board and knowing that it has a fin that was made with the same passion.

Thanks Joao!  And you can check out Barbudas Surfboards on Instagram, Facebook and their website.

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