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Discovering the Craftsmanship of Jim Yarborough, The Master Shaper and Woodworker on the North Shore

Updated: May 29

Jim in his Shaping Room
Jim in his Shaping Room

Jimbo in his Shaping Bay

On Oahu's famed North Shore resides a living legend - shaper Jim Yarborough. Originally from Port Arthur, Texas, Jimbo is a master carpenter who worked in refineries to make ends meet before jumping over to the Hawaiian Islands. For over 50 years, Jim has been shaping magic into surfboards from Balsa Wood and Polyurethane Foam, working hard to keep the dream alive while also carrying on the proud craftsmanship tradition of the North Shore after all these years.

Jim's story began in the late 1960s when he was just a young Texan looking to hone his skills as not only a surfer, but also a well respected craftsman amongst his peers. Seeing Duke Kahanamoku in Galveston, TX for the first time changed his life. After flying to Hawaii as a younger man, he eventually found a mentor in seasoned shaper Dick Brewer years later, who took Jim under his wing. Brewer taught him the intricacies of shaping Wood and Foam into functional art. Jim soaked up the knowledge like a sponge developing his own style under Brewer's guidance.

This was a unique life experience for Jim embracing both tradition and innovation in his board designs that took years of hard work and commitment to this trade and lifestyle. He pioneered the use of lightweight balsa wood, hand-shaping each board and customizing it for his customers. The magic was undeniable - his balsa boards glided effortlessly through the barrel, showcasing both performance and craftsmanship.

Now, with just about 50 years of experience, Jim continues to blow our minds with his simple, yet effective approach to shaping surfboards. Jim has a personal relationship with each board and surfer that is fortunate enough to be able to get a custom board from him. . He mixes his own touch of tradition and magic to his boards leaving his wave-riding vessels with a lasting impression for years to come.

For aspiring surfers and board shapers who are interested in shaping the old-school way, Jim Yarborough represents the rewards of passion and dedication. His humble North Shore shop is a haven, where artistry and function merge in each unique board. By pursuing the shaper's craft, Jim has built a rich life of doing what he loves.

The next time you're on Oahu's North Shore, stop by and meet the man himself. Jim is always eager to share stories and a bit of his hard-earned shaping wisdom. Let him help craft the perfect board just for you - a slice of North Shore soul you can ride for a lifetime.

True Story Design LLC
True Story Design LLC

Mahalo Nui


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