Leslie Anderson a Woman Glasser
By Thomas Takao
In a setting where most of her peers are males, Leslie Anderson has squeegeed around the glassing stands to her own drum of resin. Starting out in the board-building field in the mid 90’s as a stand in airbrusher for Steve Walden in Ventura. The airbrushing was temporary until the regular airbrusher returned from his vacation. But being around a surf factory made an impression on her and would start her on a new career.
As the saying goes one thing led to another. Steve would show her how to polish then the finer points in finishing sanding. After the basics she was sanding and polishing at Walden Surfboards for a few years. Meanwhile being around the surf factory she learned other jobs that needed to be done. Fabric inlays, ding repairs and other miscellaneous shop jobs. Eventually she started to do some of the preliminary work in shaping by drawing the outline of the shape and then cutting it out.
It takes a certain amount of time and trials and errors in reading foam before developing into a shaper. If you are willing to spend the time and money on the blanks then you will be on your way, but not guarantees on your investment. Besides shaping, glassing would be another avenue to travel on in a surf factory so to speak. And that is what happened to Leslie. She started by glassing her own surfboard.
Having watched other glassers at the shop she was familiar with the process. Watching is one thing and doing it is another. Once you mix the catalyst to the resin you are off to the races. Pouring the resin onto the cloth and working it in was no problem. But further along you notice that you might not have enough resin but you are almost there. Looking down at the floor wishing some of that resin was still in the bucket.
If you had added a few cc of catalyst more than you should have and the room temperature started to warm up. You begin to notice the resin isn’t flowing as easy as before. Then panic sets in, you rush to finish the overlap. Barely finishing the procedure and exhausted you look to see staring back at you unsaturated air bubbles shinning in varies places of the deck or bottom.
You can call it quits after that or keep on going. Leslie would continue on and become a glasser at Walden’s for several years. Besides working at Walden’s she would polish Casey McCrystal’s boards and then later glassed for him. Learning the tricks of the trade, her technique was being fine tuned.
Then one day her good friend Jay Stone of “Blue Cheer” introduced her to Clyde Beatty Jr. and after that she started working for him. Doing epoxy boards, fins, inlay fabrics and paddleboards. Eventually becoming the main glasser, she was doing Cooperfishes, Yaters, and Wayne Rich’s boards. Having work there for five year, she learned a lot from everyone there.
After working in Santa Barbara Leslie moved north to Fort Bragg and started working for Paul Kraus. There she continued to glass. Having the experience and confidence glassing, Leslie started her own glassing shop called “Fatty Fiberglass” and business has been steady doing glassing, ding repairs and restorations.
Beside her glassing, she started her own surfboards called Fatty Surfboards. The boards are being shaped by Jamie Murray a shaper Leslie highly appreciates. Jamie also has his own label called Jamie Murray Custom Surfboards. Jamie grew up surfing on twin fins and quads in the 80’s while on the East Coast.
After a surfing hiatus during college, he moved to California in 1999 for graduate school. After his arrival he began shaping a board from a stripped-down longboard that had blown off his girlfriend’s car (she is now his wife). His first board wasn’t what you would call shop quality, in Jamie’s words it sucked, but he was hooked on shaping.
For a while he bought every sub $20 yard sale board he could find, stripped it, then reshaped it and finished it off by glassing it himself. After a while the shapes started to look good and most importantly they rode ok. His glass jobs of resin colors, pinlines, and high glosses started to get noticed.
In 2001 he bought his first blank and it blew his mind. No more hours of stripping the glass and cleaning up the mess before shaping. Since then he shapes for his local clientele when he isn’t doing his day job of teaching. He doesn’t do a lot of boards so he concentrates on doing quality.
Jamie continued glassing his own board until 2003 when he met Leslie Anderson. She blew his mind with her skill, stoke and spirit. Still developing as a shaper, Jamie has been getting insights in the art from other shapers. To name a few, Greg Griffin, Brian Bulkley, Jed Noll and Steve Boehne.
With Jamie shaping and Leslie glassing, Fatty Surfboards will continue to grow in popularity. If you are in the Fort Bragg area stop by Fatty’s and check it out. Leslie is now married and living in Alaska.