John Kies began his shaping career in 1965 after surfing a 9’6” Dale Bewoodward board. He cut the fin into a speed shape and realized he could redesign a board for maximum performance.
It was in 1969 that Kies found a market for his boards, shaping and glassing out of his parents garage. A graduate of San Dieguito High, he used the money he got from selling boards to put himself through college.
In 1972 Kies began shaping for Hansen Surfboards. In 1974 he became the shaper/factory manager for Koast Surfboards. Kies says that as a University senior, it was difficult to keep up with the demand and so he hired Rusty Presindorfer, Bill Shrosbee, and Mike Slingerland to help out.
After graduation he moved to Oahu, planning to find a 9-5 job and settle down. It was only a couple of months before Marc Adam called to tell him Koast had closed down and there was an opportunity to open a shop and shape for a living.
That was over 35 years and more than 24,000 boards ago. Today Kies says he can’t believe he’s doing this for a living.