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Shelton Mason County Journal
Shelton, Washington
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Mason County Journal
News of Mason County, WA
August 21, 2014     Shelton Mason County Journal
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August 21, 2014

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Thursday, Aug. 21,2014 - Mason County Journal - Page A-17 Aaron Cleveland shows off one of his hand-made surfboards next to his VW Mini. Journal photos by Lloyd Mullen By LLOYD MULLEN Iloyd@masoncoun com When the hour is late and the kids have been put to bed, Aaron Cleveland exits his front door and walks to his shed. The shed, about eight paces from his front door, is approximately 10 feet wide by 20 feet long. Dust has gathered on the ceiling walls and floor. The only clean spot is a small wall of tools. It's where the owner of Crazy Eddy Surfboards goes to work. "I've been shaping for about five years," Cleveland said about the meth- ods in which he turns a piece of foam into surfboards. Cleveland was born and raised in Shelton. He worked odd jobs most of his life until he landed a position with the Washington state Department of Trans- portation, working as a construction in- specter. Building surfboards was happenstance. Cleveland decided he wanted to get his wife a board for her birthday. He found a shaper, a term used to describe people who carve surfboards, in Seaside, Oregon. "I asked if I could watch him build the board," Cleveland said. "I watched for the weekend, came home and took it up from there." It was eye-opening, he said. "The guy (Lanny Shnler), a pretty ec- centric, very fun, colorful character, he didn't hold anything back," Cleveland ex- plained. "He showed me what he did and why he did it. You don't see that from many professional shapers." The board Cleveland had commis- sioned for his wife was an 8-foot fun board. According to Cleveland, a fun board can surf almost any wave from small to large. They're universal, slow to high per- Aaron Cleveland sands a surfboard in "i want the person to customize it themselves to make is as personal as they can, to make it their own creation,' Aaron Cleveland, Crazy Eddy Surfboards formance," he said. Cleveland has been surfing for 18 years. He started near Westport when he was 19 years old. He'd always wear a wetsuit, boots and gloves when he surfed. his shop at Crazy Eddy Surfboards. In recent years, Cleveland said, the most fun he has had is taking his 3-year- old son, Edmund, surfing. He began shaping his first board about one month before Edmund was born. "I built a board from a kit I had bought online. It came out really nice. I still have it," he said. his first successful attempt, Cleveland decided to take another whack at it. He started with a "blank," made of raw Styrofoam. "It surfed really well, but I did a bad job fiberglassing it, so I don't surf it any- more," he said. Now that he's been building for sever- al years, Cleveland, 37, has started mak- ing boards for friends and co-workers. The type of board he makes depends on the surfer. "Depending on what they want, where they surf, how big the wave, what style of wave, the ocean face of the wave or the inside, mushy water -- they all change how I would shape the board," he said. For more experienced riders, Cleve- land starts the board length at 7 feet and works his way down. An inexperi- enced rider will get a larger board for stability purposes. With every new board, Cleveland said he tries to get the customer to help him build it. "One of my favorite things to do with a client is to get them inside the shop with me and get them to paint or do artwork or help shape the board," he said. "I want the person to customize it themselves to make it as personal as they can, to make it their own creation." The largest board he's built is 10 feet 6 inches long. "I'm about to start an ll-footer next week," he said. The smallest board Cleveland has worked on is a hand plane, about 14 inches long. "It's a miniature for your hand -- for body surfing," he explained. According to Cleveland, ' ou make a Superman pose and you just get out there and go for it." All of his board work is done during his free time. He said he hasn't kept track of how many he has built, but guessed somewhere in the 30s. The name Crazy Eddy Surtboards came to Cleveland as a child. "There was an outdoor writer, Patrick F. McManus, he wrote satirical outdoor short stories," he explained. "Crazy Ed- die was a character he used a lot." When Cleveland was in high school, he decided to use the name Crazy Eddy so he would stop getting so much junk mail. The junk mail stopped and the name stuck. For more information call, 490-2189.