Born in 1983, 33 years old John Tsoutis has a distinctive style in 3D designing and shaping. He is not only the founder of Cohete Surfboards but is also the very first professional shaper in Greece. An iconic personality within the local surfing community, John Tsoutis is known for the custom designed boards he is producing for elite surfers in Europe, US and Australia. With his core aim to deliver well proven surfboards that will last forever, John Tsoutis is reinventing surfing locally while get Cohete Surfboards established worldwide.
Here is what he told us about his brand and the art of shaping.
How did you get into board shaping?
Back in the days I started shaping my own boards as a backyard shaper. I was repairing my friend’s boards and from times to times I was shaping a few boards for my self. Eventually this never stopped and after a handful of time I took the decision to create a surfboard brand and start shaping professionally.
What personal characteristics you feel are necessary to be a successful shaper?
I believe you have to have a passion for surfboard shaping. That is the most important or the most magical I would say about this profession. You have to be patient and learn from your mistakes. It really helps to be a good surfer as well as this makes you understand better the board’s performance. Being a successful shaper requires skills that you have to learn empirical through the years. It takes time and a lot of effort to master the art of shaping.
Describe a typical day at Cohete Surfboards?
Well I guess there is no typical day at work. We are crazy working and time is always against us. We have many operations to deliver to and this requires tons of organising and workflow. We have a sales distribution network that we collect our orders and then we are setting up production schedules to produce all the surfboard orders. In the mean time we are pushing for a better brand image by following marketing and sales strategies. Shipping, logistics, accounting are some of the less creative operations we deal with almost everyday. Last among a few others that I might forget now is that we constantly try to innovate on our board designs and construction elements.
Have you had any mentors along the way?
I would say my mentors are all the pro surfers I collaborate with and design boards for them. A lot of research and development usually takes place when I shape boards for pros. I feel blessed to have the opportunity to shape boards for pro riders that are surfing all over the world and competing as well. It helps me have a better understanding about the board’s performance on different waves and conditions. All of our team riders test our different board models and come with a feedback on how the boards are performing. I try to evaluate this feedback and constantly refine existing board models or design completely new ones.
Are you hoping to leave a legacy?
I chose to become a surfboard shaper not because I was hungry to become rich but because I love making boards. In our days there is a lot of competition worldwide. Business wise at the moment we focus a lot to go international and sell more. To prove we are manufacturers of quality surfboards, grow our business and expand worldwide.
Where do you see the future of surfboard design in Greece?
There is a big movement of beginners that are putting their hands on blanks and shape their own boards. I see this evolution the last years, it is in a way expected and at the same time super important for the local surfing scene. As I said previously though to be in the position to create professionally a proven good quality surfboard is something that takes time and knowledge.
How will you define an ideal surf break?
Anywhere really… Friendly atmosphere in the line up or warm temperatures or perfect empty line-ups may be ideal but you can’t have anything you ask for in life, can you?