Out of the Ordinary with A.J. Finan
Head Shaper, Cannibal Surfboards
With an engineering education from UCF, A.J. Finan designs and shapes small, precise seaworthy crafts and surfboards using his own vacuum bagging production process.
How did you get started?
I shaped my first board at 14 years old just playing around; then for several years I shaped boards for surfing behind the boat when the surf was flat. At 19, I shaped a few with proper tools and in better conditions and the result was much better.
What inspired you to go into this field?
It was an attempt at a hobby that I quickly had an overwhelming demand for. Then it evolved into a possible career, followed by a full-time business. Now I am re-inspired by building the CoreVac vacuum bagged boards. The product has gotten so much better that surfing has become more fun.
Any certification necessary?
Unfortunately not, though the quality of your product will dictate your ability to keep a business license.
How long have you lived in Brevard? 21 years
Did you go to high school in Brevard? If not, where? Clearwater. I graduated from PTECH for Architecture at 19, and studied at UCF for engineering until the business was taking over all my time. With only a few credits left I had to make a decision to sit at a desk or run my own show. I’m not much for sitting at a desk and having to calling in sick when the waves are good.
Can you briefly explain the process?
I can answer any questions or you can learn more online at cannibalsurf.com.
What type of tools do you use?
We have everything a wood shop and body shop has plus all of our vacuum equipment. We have designed a lot of proprietary tools to help speed up our builds and create precision shapes.
What do you enjoy the most?
It is a reward to pick up the finished product, knowing how much work has gone into it. Everyone in the factory does the same thing to finished boards.
What’s the biggest challenge?
Getting customer to understand the difference between quality products and archaic, inconsistently built products.