The surf culture of Hermosa Beach, California is special. We strive to stay rooted in the tradition of our laid-back beach town to continue the legacy that has made Hermosa what it is today. What better way to represent Hermosa culture than by having our very own custom surfboard shaped by the one, the only; Jose Barahona.
We visited Barahona Surfboards to get the inside scoop on Jose’s story and capture the shaping process. Here’s how our conversation went:
How long have you been surfing?
“Since ’81. I fell in love with the surf culture and the ocean. It was an easy adaptation.”
How long have you been in Hermosa?
“I was born in El Salvador, and came over in ’81. At first I started in Los Angeles. I went to high school in Van Nuys. All the schools in LA were full, so they put us on busses and sent us over there. My brother started working over here [Hermosa] so I started helping him out.
How long have you been shaping?
“When I started in the shop I was sweeping and hand-sanding. 3 or 4 years later I started shaping.”
How different are the boards from ’81 to now?
“They have advanced. In the 80’s, they were thick and the rocker was a little bit lower. At the end of the 80’s they became really thin.”
Has the shaping system changed?
“Not really. A lot of people have moved to using shaping machines. You scan a board, put it on a program, and the machine makes the board.”
“I’m old school and I still do everything by hand.”
“We’re probably one of the few that still does everything by hand.”
Who are some notable people you’ve made boards for?
“Laird Hamilton. I made a prototype stand up paddle board for him that he really liked, and that was sent to China to be mass-produced. I make all the boards for Becker, and Hap Jacobs retired so I make all the boards for him now. Hap Jacobs is a true legend and pioneer in the surf industry. I just picked up an account with Plastic Fantastic, an old school brand. I made the Teen Choice Award Boards for 3 years. I made a board for Kobe Bryant and the Kardashians.”
You must be pretty busy. Do you find time to surf?
I work 7 days a week, 12 to 13 hours a day. I find time to surf when I can. I surf at the south side of the pier. We have a group chat of 25-30 people. Every morning we start texting at 7am to see how the waves are and where we’re going to meet.
Is the pier the best wave in the area?
“It’s not the best wave but it’s the easiest and closest and all my friends go there. After surfing we go to Brothers Burritos. “
What’s your go-to order?
“Everything there is good. I like the Jackie-O, The Homie, and Carnitas Burrito.”
What inspires you to keep going?
“Passion of the surf boards and surfing. I come over here and I come to make toys. I make toys for all ages. Right now we’re making a board for a one year old. I make boards for 75 and 80 years old too. Age doesn’t matter in surfing.”
Any advice to the youth on how to keep the Hermosa Beach Surf Culture alive?
Well there you have it, you heard it first from the legend himself. Keep Surfing! Keep the vibes alive.
Thanks for reading. Read more of our blogs to see how we’re staying true to Hermosa Culture in other ways.
To order your very own custom Barahona surf board, contact Barahona Surfboards.