Shaper has an eye on things to come
COOLANGATTA surfboard shaper Al Colk is planning to give away some more of his new $600 surfboards - for a good cause.
The 53-year-old is hoping his recent gift of several of his Tube Time surfboards to young Fijian surfers will boost the fledgling Fijian surf industry which he believes has the potential to produce top, internationally recognised board shapers and riders.
"Fiji at the moment is back where Bali was 20 years ago, thousands of surfers travel through there, and they only have a couple of professional contests," said Mr Colk who is currently shaping a board for talented young Fijian surfer Paul Suechon, who has already competed in some professional contests on the Tweed-Gold Coast.
"I've spent a lot of time in Fiji and have fallen in love with the place and made a lot of friends there," Mr Colk said.
"They have a good little local surfing community there which is growing at an incredible rate with a lot of young talent, but there's no board industry really happening there and I'm hoping to start something.
"I saw they needed surfboards and as they had been so good to me and my friends by taking us to different surfing spots I thought I'd return the favour by giving them a few of my boards."
"I'm also looking at trying to teach them to shape and repair boards."
Mr Colk, who has visited Fiji twice this year and is planning to return to the islands again soon, said he would continue to donate some of his high-performance boards to talented Fijians "depending on my budget".
"They're extremely poor people and only get to ride old second-hand boards which they've been given in the past which are falling apart," he said.
Mr Colk said the waves in Fiji, which hosts a World Championship Tour event, are more suited for short boards but there's a growing demand for mini mals and longboards as well.