SEPTEMBER 5-7, 2024



The Florida Shape Off at Surf Expo is an annual surfboard shaping contest and exhibition that promotes the craft of hand-shaping surfboards.


The 2024 honoree was Bill Frierson
Shapers: Jordan Brazie, Lynn Shell, Scott Busbey, Brett Prinz, Jeremy McMahon, Nick Halleran and Ryan Harris.

Surf Expo would like to offer our deepest condolences to Bill Frierson’s family upon his recent passing. From his early days of literally shaping the future of Wave Riding Vehicles as a head shaper and co-owner, to hand shaping every board at Frierson Designs, being inducted into the International Surfboard Builders Hall of Fame and the East Coast Surfing Championships Legends Hall of Fame, Bill will be remembered as a master craftsman, polished surfer, compassionate human, and true legend.


About this year’s honoree Bill Frierson

Bill Frierson keeps good company, after joining the likes of Duke Kahanamoku, Hobie Alter, Gerry Lopez and a number of other notable shapers as a member of the International Surfboard Builders Hall of Fame. “A lot of heavy cats,” remarked Frierson at the time of his induction in October 2019. “It’s pretty humbling, actually. There’s a lot more to the award than just doing it for so long. The beauty of the whole thing was the journey.”

That journey started in 1965 when Frierson was a young surfer coming up in Virginia Beach. He befriended Pete Smith and Bob Holland, who had recently opened the area’s first surf shop. Two years later, Frierson started shaping boards for Bob White at Wave Riding Vehicles (WRV). “I was helping to repair dings back then, and he asked me if I wanted to shape,” he said. “It was pretty much a Cadillac Dream.”

Frierson surfed for the Hobie team from 1965 through 1967, won the Men’s division of the East Coast Surfing Championship (ECSC) in 1969, and is a member of the ECSC Legends Hall of Fame. In 1970, he moved to Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, where he shaped boards for WRV. He wintered in Indialantic, Florida, doing piece work for the newly formed Sunshine Surfboards.

He teamed up with Les Shaw in 1974 to buy WRV, and together they built the business into what it is today — two showrooms and a factory capable of producing 3,000 boards a year. He sold his half of the business in 1997 to open Frierson Designs, where he shapes every board by hand. Owning a Frierson board is considered a badge of honor in the surfing community.

Frierson says his newfangled status as a hall-of-fame shaper will not impact the price of a Frierson stick. “It’s never been about the money for me,” he said. “I’m a man of the people and I make a good board for an honest price. It’s about the art.”
– Content and pics courtesy East Coast Surfing Hall of Fame.