Jim Phillips Surfboards


Custom Surfboards Good.  Mass-Produced Surfboards Bad.

We live in a world of mass production.  Imported goods are manufactured anonymously.  A “one-size-fits-all” mindset prevails on everything from toothpaste to automobiles to … surfboards?  Somehow, it just isn’t right.

Surfing Demands Craftsmanship:  Every Board Is A Custom

As surfers, we’re unique. We seek out things that other people often just dream about. We experience life differently, with a lust for living and an intensity that permeates just about everything we do. And that includes – HAS to include – our boards. Jim is Jim Phillips Surfboards.  Jim designs, builds and signs every board in his stable pulling from his vast experience as a shaper and surfer on all coasts.  And when a board calls for a custom glue up of one of Jim's signature stringer designs (figure 8, asymmetrical, eyeball, etc...) Jim glues up the blank in his workshop right next to his shaping bay.  That’s craftsmanship that isn't found anywhere else - things that the blank mfgs and other shapers can’t and won't do.

The renaissance of a renaissance man: Jim Phillips

Obviously surfboards are more than just fancy stringers and color.  Jim is a three-time US Champion surfer, a three-time East Coast Champion surfer, shaper of over 45,000 surfboards and 1998 Surfing Hall of Fame inductee, with a career spanning 49 years.   This is someone who knows why a surfboard works and how to craft you the finest functional surfboard around.  From humble beginnings in his Dad’s carport in Pearl City, Hawaii, to his becoming an integral part of Hobie operations in 1964, Jim has remained one of the surfing industry’s best kept secrets.

Jim has been shaping his own label as well as attracting many of the industry’s most legendary surfers and labels.  They seek out his help in crafting the finest boards to suit their surfing style, for show, masters/plugs, and production boards and customs.  A list of past clients and collaborators reads like a Who’s Who of the surfing world:




•Channel Islands



  1. Encinitas Surfboards

  2. Evolution

•Phil Edwards

•Gato Heroi

•Gordon & Smith

•Billy Hamilton

•Laird Hamilton

Quality and craftsmanship in the age of mass production

"While on a board, either surfing or paddling, one is truly free from land-bound restrictions. For that hour he is the captain of his fate, of his miniature ship. The burden of city, school, job, as well as the cares and worries of the subconscious mind, are erased and forgotten until the tensions of living again build up. The remedy again is obvious. Go surfing" 

-"Voice of the Wave," by Tom Blake, 1968

•Hap Jacobs




•Inter Island Surf Shop



•David Nu'uhiwa

•Surfboards Hawaii

•Donlad Takayama

•Joel Tudor


•Dewey Weber

"It is the pervading law of all things organic, and inorganic, of all things physical and metaphysical, of all things human and all things super-human, of all true manifestations of the head, of the heart, of the soul, that the life is recognizable in its expression, that form ever follows function. This is the law."

-”The Tall Office Building Artistically Considered” by Louis Sullivan, 1896

There are no frets on violas or stops on a trombone, but the music comes out beautiful in the right hands.  I look to my planers as musical instruments of a different kind. 

-Jim Phillips 2010.