- WSL / Jackson Van Kirk

Shaper Marcio Zouvi was born in Rio de Janeiro and has been based in San Diego since the 1980s. In 1992 he formed Sharp Eye Surfboards and in the last 25 years has turned it into a global business.

Zouvi's most notable surfer/shaper relationship has been with Filipe Toledo. However, at the Jeep Surf Ranch Pro Tatiana Weston-Webb, Sally Fitzgibbons, Johanne Defay, Kanoa Igarashi, Miguel Pupo, Peterson Crisanto and Morgan Cibilic will all be on his boards. Zouvi took time out from a surfing vacation in Mexico to chat to the WSL about his latest designs for Lemoore.

WSL: How different is a "normal" CT surfers quiver from the one for the Surf Ranch?
Zouvi: The boards are a little different for the Ranch. At first, we didn't know what to expect, so we tried the same designs as we used in the ocean, but we soon realized we needed some tweaks.

Pretty quickly we pushed for smaller boards and less volume. As you don't paddle at the Ranch, we could make the boards far more responsive and sensitive. The surfers needed boards that were less stiff and so easier to turn; that meant so they could fit more maneuvers in and push as hard as possible.

What challenges does the Surf Ranch provide as a shaper?
The main challenge is that I really had to go there with the riders and see for myself how the wave works. I think the surfers that spend the most time there are the ones that have it the most dialed. It's really visible; very few surfers can read that wave in the first few sessions and surf it flawlessly. It's the same for a shaper, it takes time to come up with boards that work.

Have you tried anything new for the event? For a particular surfer, or in general?
All the riders are on the Dark Arts construction. They use stringer-less EPS blanks which are vacuum-bagged and wrapped in Carbon Fiber. Last year it was only Kanoa who was riding that tech. Also, Filipe is the only one on a true quad, and he's been surfing so fast on it and it seems to fit the wave so well. In terms of models, everyone has been testing the Inferno 72, the Stab in the Dark winner.

Can you run through the actual quiver for Filipe - models, dimensions, sizes, and volume?
Filipe has six of the Inferno 72 model. They are all 5'8 1/2", 18 3/8" wide, 2.3" thick with a volume of 25 liters. Three are Dark Arts construction, three are EPS. Three are swallowtail quads and three are thrusters, but I'm thinking he's leaning towards the quad. That could be a huge point of difference for him as he may be the only surfer at the Ranch on four fins.

Are there different boards for when the guys and girls surf the right and the left?
Yes, the left is softer, so the surfers go with the design with a little bit less rocker or flatter boards. The right is hollower, and especially after the first and last barrel sections, the transition area is so small that the more rockered designs tend to work better.

LEMOORE, CA, UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 20: Tatiana Weston-Webb of Brazil surfing in Heat 2 of Round 1 at the 2019 Freshwater Pro on September 20, 2019 in Lemoore, CA, United States. (Photo by Jackson Van Kirk/WSL via Getty Images) Tatiana Weston-Webb - WSL / Jackson Van Kirk

Has there been much feedback or changes since the Australian leg?
I'd say the Sharp Eye team in Australia and myself have been working closely with Sally Fitzgibbons and Morgan Cibilic. They are relatively new to the team so we have been getting them dialed in on the existing designs. Once that is done, we can start to experiment more.

Anything else you would like to add, please fire away!
I'd like to add thanks to the WSL for their efforts in such a strange year. I know it's not been easy for everyone, and to get some competitive surf action has been a real feat. I appreciate it and can't wait to see the Tour in 2022 when we can hopefully have a full year and come back all guns blazing.

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