MEET SPIDER MURPHY
Spider is one of the most, if not the most recognized Shaper in South Africa. He is a member of the South African Surfing Legends and basically has been part of this sport his entire life. His boards with the characteristic spider on it are well known all over the world
In earlier times, Spider was referred to as “the surfing shaper”, giving him the opportunity to really see through all aspects of surfing. From the basic mechanics, feeling of boards and waves, down to every little detail in a shape. As the owner of the famous Safari Surfboard Factory in Durban, he also has very good insight into the business world of surfing. In total that gives him unbelievable 45 years’ experience in shaping and building surfboards.
This year, Spider has crossed the magic mark of 70 years, however that leaves him pretty unimpressed. If you look at his daily routine you wouldn’t imagine him being older than 40. Getting up at half past four, doing some Yoga and arriving at the beach the moment, the sun rises.
What awaits him there is a local group of young and talented surfers referred to as “Spiders web”. This little group of potential future Surfing stars is relying on Spiders advice in Surfing but also learns from him in his approach to life. Each of Spiders surfing lessons starts with a short Skateboarding Session with carver trucks, followed by a quick warm up. After an hour of focused surfing at famous North Beach in Durban, Spider arrives first at his factory and his day as a shaper begins.
So now imagine setting foot in Spiders Shaping bay you’ll possibly be greeted with some reggae or funk music, followed by a warm and welcoming smile. Spider is wearing boardies and walking barefoot through the, what he and his team refer to as “fairy dust”. After he showed you the latest shape idea he has been working on you can see the amazement in his eyes. You can tell that, even after all this years, Spider is still giving all his effort and dedication to every single board in order to create perfection in shape and quality. He refers to it as boards with “added soul” and that’s something you can actually feel once you get hold of one.
After asking him if he has a wild guess how many boards he has possibly shaped in his life, he answers with a laugh.
“Imagine someone asks you how many times you have eaten in your life, it is just something that you do. But I guess it was a lot.”