It might come as a surprise to hear there is a surfboard company on Cape Cod, but Vec Surfboards founder, Shawn Vecchione, has been surfing the waves of Cape Cod since he was a kid.
The surf community “used to be really localized,” he says, but now people from off-Cape know “we get a pretty good amount of waves, and in the winter we get world class types of waves.”
Vecchione was born on Cape Cod, but spent some of his childhood in his mother’s native Hawaii. He says he “dabbled in surfing” in Hawaii, but the first time he really took to the waves was at Coast Guard beach.
After graduating from Barnstable High School, Vecchione tried his luck as a professional snowboarder in Waterville. An injury sent him back to Hawaii where he spent three winters living on the beach and surfing.
Vecchione made his way back to the Cape and opened the Boarding House on Main Street in Hyannis. The Boarding House “grew into a really successful business,” which he attributes to the fact he and his partner are athletes who are passionate and knowledgeable about their sports.
After seven years his partner bought out his share in the retail store, and Vecchione took the opportunity to make his way back to Hawaii. It was then when he “fell into making surfboards.”
Vecchione’s uncle, a big wave surfer in Oahu, introduced him to a number of surfboard shapers, and he began helping one of them sand surfboards. He went on to work with world class shapers, such as Bobby Allen, one of the first surfboard builders in the world, and he spent some time working for Max Medeiros (who happened to be his distant cousin) at Hawaiian Blades.
When a shaper suggested Vecchione make his own board, he took on the challenge. “It gave me a lot of joy to build something that helped people surf well and put a smile on their face.” He quickly began selling his handmade boards all over the island and then started sending them back to his contacts back in New England.
After spending the next few years between the Cape and Hawaii, Vecchione moved back to the Cape full-time five years ago, and recently opened Vec’s - a showroom, retail location, and shaping room for his brand of Vec Surfboards in Orleans.
Vec Surfboards “have their own design concepts and unique looks.” Boards vary based on fin placement, the size of the waves that will be surfed, as well as the size and gender of the surfer. Vecchione is the only shaper that knows how to design and work on his boards.
Vecchione uses polyurethane foam blanks to create the shape of the board, then the designs and colors are airbrushed onto the board. The next step is to lay a fiberglass cloth over it. Then a “hot coat” is put on to cover the weave of the fiberglass and an extra layer of resin is placed on top of that. All of the glasswork is completed in Gloucester. The board is then finished with another round of sanding and polishing.
Vecchione also produces a line of paddleboards using epoxy resin and polystyrene blanks made in Bridgewater. And in the next couple of months he will launch a fishing paddleboard with Freedom Hawk Kayaks, a company based in Newburyport, MA that produces fishing kayaks.
Word about Vec Surfboards has spread throughout the international surf community, and Vec Surfboards are now used to surf the waters off of France, Sweden, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Indonesia, Hawaii, and of course Vecchione uses one to surf the waters off of Cape Cod at least twice a week.
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