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The Shaper

Tom McNamara

I began shaping surfboards in about 1986. At the time, there was only one surf shop in Oregon, and it was in Portland. Faced with a limited selection, getting a new board sometimes meant a trip south into California. A friend and I decided that, since we had each gone through the “shorten and reshape” process in the late 60’s at the “end” of the longboard era, we could build ourselves a couple of boards. We did, and they worked, and we sold one. That was the beginning of Ocean Pulse.

Over the next 3 decades, we opened a retail surf shop in 1991 and moved the surfboard operation from the coast range forest to the coast. The shop did very well, especially with Greg Niles joining me as a partner and managing the retail business. By 2017, we were looking into the future and my retirement. Greg was ready to become a full-time charter fishing captain, so we tried to sell Ocean Pulse, but did not get a buyer. We closed the store at the end of 2018.

Today the custom surfboard business continues at my South Beach location, where I create everything from high performance shortboards through fish, hybrids, longboards and guns. Being “half-retired” means I have a pretty low-key schedule, and you may find me at the beach or in the surf, or sailing on Yaquina Bay.