Al Merrick

Carpinteria, California, 2005

I wanted to be “the best shaper in the world”—except, you later realize, there's no such thing.

Michael Kew interviewed Al Merrick in 2005, when Merrick was 62. Quotes were used in “You Can Call Me Al: in the Court of Al Merrick,” which ran in the January 2006 issue of TransWorld Surf.

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Let’s start at the beginning.

I was born in Bradley Beach, New Jersey. My parents moved from there to Florida and we lived in Florida and Colorado for a little while, mainly in Florida, I guess until I was seven or so. We moved to California, near Palm Springs, then to Encinitas.

Is Encinitas whe...