Christine Brailsford is a talented California artist and a surfer/shaper of Hawaiian paipos and handplanes. Practically raised in the surf, Christine’s imagination and background in art and design truly give her craft a unique look and style. We spoke with Christine to learn more.
What was it like growing up?
I loved to be outside. And I was fortunate to grow up around animals. I took care of my parents horses and garden. Like most kids, I had a huge imagination and would draw a lot.
Who did you look up to and admire when you were a child?
I aways wanted to do what my older brother, Andrew, did…he was my hero. He showed me how to skateboard and ride a bike.
When did you get your first surfboard?
My parents would bring us down to the beach in the summer. One of my fondest childhood memories is of my dad pushing me into waves on a bodyboard – I felt like I was flying. I always wanted to surf. I started standing up and surfing my boogie board in the whitewash. After begging my mom to let me surf, she enrolled me in a summer surf camp at the local YMCA when I was eleven. I was hooked. I put all of my saved money together and bought my first board (with
the help of my parents). It was a 6’8 round-pin thruster from the “Board Room” at Hansen’s surf shop.
What was the feeling you had when you first stood on a surfboard?
I remember dragging one of those old, water-logged 8ft foam boards down to the Torrey Pines State Beach. I was too eager to wait for an instructor to take me out, so I paddled the thing out through the white wash.. turned it around, caught a wave, and stood up …stoked. I’ve been addicted ever since.
Where did you study art?
I studied at The Laguna College of Art and Design and received my BFA in illustration. This was in 2008. My focus there was on children’s books. Before that, I studied at Mira Costa College where I received my AA in art.
Tell us about the paipo and how did you start shaping them?
Not knowing anything about shaping, I this idea in my head to shape myself an alaia out of pine plywood. My shaping journey begins. I fully immersed myself into studying the ancient Hawaiians and their ancient forms of surfing. That’s when I came across the paipo. Paipo surfing, or belly boarding, was practiced amongst the commoners in ancient Hawaii.
I templated and shaped my own paipo, in the shape of a sun fish. I remember paddling it out at beach in Carlsbad. The first wave I caught was a little sectiony close-out. It was incredible… I had never experienced that kind of speed before.
Other than paipos, what else are you shaping?
I have been putting my focus into made hand-planes for body surfing. Hand-planes are a lot of fun and provide yet another way to experience wave riding. My focus is on flex and speed, much like a paipo, but in a more compact size.
Who/what inspires you?
My simple answer: God and nature.
What is the greatest thing you have learned in your life?
I have three: To be humble. To not be afraid to fail. And to never stop learning.
Do you have any regrets or wish you had done something differently?
No, only lessons learnt.
What are you most proud of?
I don’t think of myself as a prideful person, but I am stoked my life and what is to come.
What meaning does surfing hold for you and how has it changed your life?
“Surfing” is the epicenter of my life. It is were I find refuge, nature, God, and my closet friends. I can’t really say it changed my life, as much as it is why my life is.
What brings you the most happiness in the world?
My family, my friends, and my dogs.
Who are some of the people you feel are shaping the path for surfing today?
Everyday surfers that continue to support shapers and the board makers that make hand-shaped boards.
What is your current surfing quiver?
5’1 mandala arc-swallowtail quad, 5’9 mandala stubbie single-fin, Christine Brailsford 4’0 paipo, ‘Sesame’ Whomp Handplane and a pair of fins:).
What are you currently listening to on your iPod?
Ravi Shankar, Panda Bear, Fleet Fox
What’s next for Christine Brailsford?
More shaping and surfing:)
Photography credits are as follows: Photos 1 & 5. Tom Lareuf, 2. Kevin Roche. All other images provided by Christine Brailsford.