Todd is one of only a handful of shapers from the East Coast who has experience on the world-class stage. He has worked with most of the best shapers and pro surfers in the world.
Interview with Todd Sutz:
What led you to the North Shore?
At 15, I began surfing every chance I got and later realized my passion was to become my career. At 21, I moved to Oahu, determined to learn from the best and become a great shaper and board craftsman.
Who was your shaping mentor?
For 10 years, I worked with well-known board maker Bill Barnfield of Raging Isle Surf & Cycle located in Oahu’s North Shore. Bill was part of the original Hobie crew. He taught me to push hard for excellent results every time.
Who did you work for on the North Shore?
Raging Isle and Hawaiian Island Creations (HIC). Working for the two top surfboard companies gave me the opportunity to glass boards and meet shapers like Phil Byrne (Australia), Al Merrick, Rusty and Brewer. Legendary surfers like Tom Curren, Tom Carroll, Derek & Michael Ho, Kelly Slater, and many more.
How was the surf?
I surfed double overhead waves and bigger waves most of the time on the North Shore. There are more days on the North Shore in the winter that the surf is too big (for me) than too small. The locals have secret spots that they protect; I was able to surf most spots with a few good friends. I also spent time free diving and spear fishing, diving for lobsters in the middle of the night when the moon was full, and belonged to the North Shore Outrigger Canoe Club where I did the 43-mile Molokai Challenge, regatta and mid distance races as well.
What was the surf culture like?
Everything revolved around the ocean, surfing and water sports. Doctors, politicians, professionals and everyone made it part of everyday life. A life style we still promote where we live now in South Carolina.
Why did you leave the North Shore area?
After ten years on Oahu, Cate and I knew it was time to return to the southeast and raise our children closer to family. My daughter Grace was born on Oahu and my two sons David and Justin were born in South Carolina.
What keeps you inspired?
The joy of teaching kids to surf and introducing people to the sport. Water sports have added so much to my life and even though I never surfed competitively, I learned to push myself to be my personal best. I hope to instill that philosophy in the people I teach to love surfing and paddleboarding whether they are competing or not.
What are some innovations that you are working on?
We are involved with something exciting, The Adaptive Surf Project, which involves designing and producing boards for people who have a spinal cord injury or other physical challenges that make surfing different for them. It is so fulfilling to see the joy on the face of someone who is riding the waves again like they used to surf before their injury. These boards are life changers and we are so proud to be a part of it.