Here is nothing out of place at Haydenshapes United States Headquarters in El Segundo, California. It’s clean. All white urrthing. Clean lines. Spartan decoration. A gaggle of Hypto Krytos hanging on black pipes. Some of the boards have a marble gradient. The rest are white with signature black future flex rails. I think I could eat off the show room floor and not get sick.
Hayden’s wife Danielle greets me energetically at the door. She’s excited. They’re about to leave tomorrow morning for the opening of their brand new store in Australia, and they’ve got a Virtual Reality installation that still requires a few tweaks. After opening their El Segundo HQ just a year and a half ago, production in the US is buzzing, and they’re still on a bit of a high from collaborations with Alexander Wang, Audi, and Google. You know, typical shaper stuff.
Danielle plays a very important role in Haydenshapes. She’s the Director of Marketing and Public Relations, and she has a background working with MTV and a handful of badass brands outside of surfing. Her instinct to collaborate with elite brands outside of surfing coupled with Hayden’s modern approach to surfboard building has created a distinct and monstrous force in surfing today.
Hayden’s Hypto Krypto is a three-time Surfboard of the Year Winner. Just a couple weeks ago, Hayden unseated Channel Islands, who had claimed surfboard of the year for seven consecutive years in the U.S. The victory was somewhat of a coup. To many, Hayden seemed to arrive out of thin air.
But Hayden, 35, started Haydenshapes twenty years ago. He designed the Hypto Krypto for himself in 2007 and shaped one for team rider Craig Anderson soon after. (Hayden only has two team riders: Craig Anderson and Creed McTaggart) In short order Craig graced the covers of a lot of magazines with those black rails beneath his feet. Now a lot of people ride that board. No matter that they can cost nearly $1,000 with fins and a leash off the rack. Hayden insists these boards are meant to last, and he wants to make sure he does right by every kid who saves up to take one of his boards home.
And looking around his shop, it’s clear he pays attention to detail. He just got his hands on a machine that he’s really excited about. Only or two of them exist, and once he gets it dialed he believes it will play an even more important role in producing flawless new designs. And he’s unapologetic in his open-armed approach to technology, data, and information. He really did just finish a collaboration with Google, and he’s pioneering a new wave of data savvy, technophilic surfboard builders. If Hayden has his way, the new vision of a shaper won’t be a crusty dude in a shed covered in foam. It’s something much more glamorous than that. It’s clean. It’s minimalist. You can eat off the floor and not get sick. It’s Haydenshapes.