Steve Walden Q&A: The Father of Modern Longboarding Speaks
Steve is a soft spoken but confident artist whose work is rooted in pragmatism. Steve's unique ability to merge cutting edge features with time tested designs to create user-friendly surfboards that also perform at high levels is unmatched.
Do you still hold the record for longest nose ride?as far as I know., that was in 1995 the Tom Morey invitational. Tell us more?
I had the longest noseride I think at 27.5 seconds and a total for 3 waves of over 50 seconds.
Why did you start building boards?
I love to make things. I made my first bodyboard about 1960.
Which do you prefer: lefts, rights, or communists?
Rights, I’m a regular foot. Although I lived right at Rocky Point lefts during the 1970’s
Do you consider yourself a shaper or a surfer first?
Surfer I started in 1960 when I lived in Whitter, California.
I kept a log and in 1964 I went surfing over 200+ days and I didn’t even drive a car. It was a bout a 30-45 minute drive to the beach back then.
What is the secret to surfing longevity?
For me it has really helped being on or very close to the beach. That way to surf a lot more than living an hour or so away. Being in the surf business and competing in about 200 events also kept me really connected. Most of my friends and social life kept the stoke going for decades.
Can you tell us about the best board you ever built?
It would defiantly be the Magic Model. I designed a board to complement the way I surfed I love to noseride and surf a progressive style, off the lip , drop knee cutbacks , doing fin slides etc. I combined hard rails nose to tail, beveled edges, concave nose blending in to a double concave for lift and a higher nose and tail rocker than most other boards. I wanted an all around board.
Why did you decide to partner with Surftech?
Are your boards built for a particular type of surfer or person in mind or do you build boards with the intention of them working for as many people as possible? The Magic model is very versatile. take a 9’0’’ for example, It’s great for beginners as it turns very easy at low speeds, it is also used in competition by a lot of advanced surfers. It is great in small waves and I have surfers that have rode them in competition in Hawaii and Tahiti in 15-25’ surf. I have asked them if they need me to change the shape and no, it works great just like it is. So because of those features it’s a great travel board.
Who is the best surfer to ever ride one of your boards? Do you remember any specific sessions of that rider on your board?
There were a lot of really good surfers who have rode the boards. I do remember watching Duane DeSoto surfing in the triple crown in Hawaii surfing solid 15-20’ faces and the board worked very good.
What do you think is the most important design, construction, technology, or ideological change in surfing?
I have watched so much change in the last 20 years. It used to be you ride a 60-66 shortboard or a 90-96 longboard and nothing in between. Now anything is acceptable. You have fish, asymmetrical, hybrid’s, eggs, mini longboards etc. etc. And with the acceptance of EPS boards are lighter.
What is missing from surfboard building and or surfing in general?
If you had to choose a board that lasted forever or a board that performed at world champ levels for one session what would you choose?
Defiantly a Magic Model hands down.
If you could make enough money from selling surfboards with Surftech that you never had to work again, what would you do next (or would you keep shaping customs)?
I have been lucky making boards for over 50 years and could retire now. I am doing what I love to do. Shape and design new models and testing new concepts. I still glass a board or so every week and I do all the repairs for walden Surfboards Ventura. It keeps me current with my trade. To me as an artist it meets that need in many ways.
Is it the surfer, the board, or the wave?
It’s the surfer enjoying the power of the wave, a feeling that is enhanced being on a surfboard.
The surfboard is the vehicle that brings you and the wave together.