Shaper: Colin Hansel

Posted: Aug 18 2015

Space is not easy to come by, especially in the northeast near the coast or a major city. Getting something affordable often means you are in a rough part of town. I entered Philadelphia for the first time to pick up a board from Colin Hansel of Rodeo Bird. I found the rough part, but also the diamond inside; it was six foot and orange.

In an old Ann Taylor factory where everything including the brick is exposed and light gushes in unforgivingly, on a street called double negatively "East Westmoreland", I found a shaper and his factory.

"Lemme know when you're there, it's a super sketchy area so I'll let you know where to park"

A mostly uneventful three hour drive from the suburbs of Long Island to the outskirts of Philly, upon arrival I was sure to follow orders. I met Colin and he directed me towards safe haven. We shook hands and not long after he led me to his creation, which I will lovingly refer to as the orange diamond quad.

No longer garments or textiles in this old building - now furniture, art, and surfboards. The floors were covered in years of dust and history, they creaked from the weight of past lives. The air was still and the heat oppressive. Many of the rooms were lit in two ways: blindingly bright with sun, or trip-and-fall dark. My eyes and my lens were struggling to adjust quick enough as I moved around the place, eagerly absorbing it's character.

The scars of the old building sat in perfect contrast to it's new innards. Shadows of past objects on the walls and the floor, missing paint in spots where unknown objects once lived; now foam dust and surfboard silhouettes.

We talked about different shapes, from Greenough's Spoon, a bonzer recreation in the works complete with Pucci-esque fabric inlay, the longboard he's building for himself, and a foam construction paipo experiment. Not unlike many east coasters, we work mostly... and then we surf when we can. The unfortunate and frequent lack of waves forces us to explore surfing in other outlets, such as board building and design.

About the board, the reason for my trek across state lines, it's a beauty that encompasses the essence of it's birthplace. Bright and solid. Colin built to last. A combination of 4 and 6 ounce glass with polyester resin and polyurethane foam. It's 6' x 20" x 2.6" with the smoothest curves. Enough rocker to make the drop and enough foam to pull through the flat sections. Some bells and whistles too, why not? Resin tint, cut laps, pinlines, gloss coat, diamond tail, tail patch. You see retro, flip it over and find futures... 4 of them. This board is sure to stand out, perform, and outlast your typical popout. Make sure you have the muscle to handle this beauty; strong and fast, she's sure to take you where you need to go.

It was great meeting Colin and I'm grateful for the opportunity to visit his shaping room and his city. I brought the orange diamond back to Long Island, you can view the product details here: It's available for sale right here on with free delivery anywhere in NYC and Long Island. From Brooklyn to Montauk, maybe even beyond. Want the diamond overseas? Let's talk about it. This marketplace is worldwide.