California, Sunshinestory Interviews

Sunshinestory; Matt & Margaret Calvani (behind the scenes of Bing Surboards) in California


A company that produces surfboards for which people all over the whole world crave, dating back to the 50s with one hell of a story.

This is Bing surfboards.

Let us take it to the beginning. A young 13-year old boy named Herbert Bingham Copeland hanging out on the pier at Manhattan Beach, Los Angeles watching the older guys surf big heavy Redwood boards. He used to do this every day, but one day, in 1949 Dale Velzy offered to let him try his 8 foot 80lbs board. Bing was hooked the same day. Shortly after he started helping out in Velzy’s shop, he started shaping while he attended high school. In 1959 he created the brand Bing Surfboards and started to make his own unique surfboards.

Today it’s a brand that has survived the ”shape-it-yourself” backyard-period, the shortboard revolution, the introduction of thrusters, the mass production companies and every other thing that could happen to a company in 50+ years. For a while no one even surfed longboards, no one, it’s hard to think for us youngsters that now experience the new longboard era but that’s the truth. Bing Copeland put shaping on hold, sold his shaping tools and as the drug scene in LA worsened, he moved to Idaho to find work and security for his family. As the enterprising man he is, Bing managed to start a new business that had nothing to do with the surf industry and build a new home.

The tools and the brands were in the hands of different people for some time.

Until 2000 when a young talented shaper, Matt Calvani, was on a surf trip down in Baja, Mexico and ran into Bing on the beach and started talking about boards. Matt recognized Bing as the shaping legend and asked if he’d allow him to take over his legacy brand, luckily for the surf scene today he said yes.

The main persons behind the brand is Matt & Margaret Calvani and Bing Copeland himself. Yes, Bing is still very much apart of it but mostly from a MacBook or iPad in Idaho where he surfs the Facebook page of Bing Surfboards almost every day, leave a comment I’m sure he’ll answer.

Matt and Margaret moved the factory from Hermosa Beach, Los Angeles to Encinitas, San Diego just over a year ago. It’s now situated on a hill overlooking the ocean, the perfect board-making-place. A normal day at the factory starts after a surf at one of Encinitas local surf breaks, that’s the vibe in southern California; surf comes before work and many people make surfing apart of their work somehow. For the Bing employees it’s the deluxe version. While in the factory Matt is in his blue shaping room designing new models and shaping each board and Margaret is upstairs in her office working with everything from this year’s budget, marketing, foreign dealers to organizing which board is going where. In between them are up to 12 guys working, everyone with their precise task.

Bing boards are the dreams of many, shipped worldwide, handcrafted, “Made in California”, with every inch of soul. Matt, Margaret and Co. are producing them with a bunch of awesome people. It’s all very amazing, I would live there or any of their employees’ lives any day. You probably gotta watch it to understand how real their dream is.

Just as amazing, Matt & Margaret open their home in Encinitas for dealers, teamriders and friends from all over the world, including Swedish bloggers they’ve never met before. We were fortunate to hang out with them and the whole team for a few days.

Here’s our view of it.

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