Nicolas Delors : perfection is born from chaos

Bruno Compagnet celebrates the science of Nicolas Delors, a surf board shaper installed in Bidart. An enthusiastic craftsman who gives shape to the dreams of those who want to ride on water.

As usual, I spent the summer with my feet in the water, but in rivers far from the sea and the waves. So, this autumnal surfing session had the feeling of a reunion. I was as frisky as a young man going on a date. The taste of the salt water on my lips, and, above all the first wave that I surfed diluted all my questioning in a whirlpool of foam. It was if I had never left….

Layla Jean Kerley

The soft morning light, the light ground wind and then quite a lot of waves surfed confirmed that my board had a little something extra. Climbing back up the steps which lead to the centre of Bidart, I was satisfied. Almost fifty, but confidant about the future and the strength of my passions.

As I arrived at my van, two surfers complimented me on my board : a rider in 9.4.3 lathes of red cedar. A little gem I treated myself to last year after an epic day when I had seen this type of board at work at a robust two metres and whenI had been messing around with my 6.6 .

I was touched by the compliment even if I was a little bothered by it because it is the work of Nico Delors, a young shaper in Bidard who I had met thanks to my friend Dorothée who advised me to see him about repairing a long-board. The repair was perfectly done and within the time (worth mentioning because that is relatively rare) and he was a great guy whose personality I appreciated straight away. .

Layla Jean Kerley

I am not somebody very materialistic. I don’t think of owning many possessions which I am not ready to regret parting with except, maybe, a bike… But for this board, it’s different. I value it enormously. It’s my link to the ocean. And, I can honestly say that now I understand the attachment and love that the old Hawaiians have for their boards.

At a time where the mass retail sports marketing is tapping into the ‘wave’ market and invading it with line-ups of boards moulded in series, we could worry about the future of boards which are made by craftsmen. But, deep down, I know that there will always be a market for outsiders and those who are artists with a plane….

In only four years shaping, Nico has built himself a solid reputation which allows him to no longer do repairs so that he can focus on what he prefers : creating boards which give you a smile when you go onto the water. Because, for him, apart from the technical and behavioural qualities, a board must be beautiful. The glazing and the use of colour reveal a strong personality, doubtless shaped by the riff of rock guitars at a time, not so long ago, when music, motorcycles and cars came from the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, making old Europe dream.

If you are looking for a trusted performer you are not in the right place. Nicolas likes length (he rides a 10.4 board), the fish, oversized and twinned and the stoker. It is in these historic shapes that his metal work training as a turner, his precision and the rigour of his work on the shapes reveal themselves. A simple history A simple history which began like a good entry into a wave when Nico, who had shaped his own board was questioned by a surfer, passionate about this kind of board, who was so insistent that Nicolas eventually made him one. That was in 2006, the story had begun.

Layla Jean Kerley

Like any surfer, I love going in through the door of a shaping workshop. I experience a cocktail of emotions ranging from curiosity passing to respect and which are sometimes transformed into desire. The reason is there, in the midst of the dust and volatile vapours, that Nico works in shorts and wearing a pair of baseball shoes difficult to identify due the resin and colours which have transformed them. The uncultivated hairstyle and the untidy look contrast with the precision of the lines which he has just given to the surfboard blank resting on the trestles. The man is smiling. His creative and manual work pleases him before being transmitted to somebody else in the waves.

For his clients, things begin with a discussion. Nico has this capacity of interpreting the needs and expectations of surfers. I was delighted to chat to him about my passion and my desire for imagined the object. But, I also let myself be guided by science in order to finalise my order (on average a 4 month delay) and I am delighted with it each time that I come out of the water.

And, when at the rising of dawn, my feet move across the cold sand of the beach and I scrutinise the horizon for the revelation of the promise of a session of long rides , I experience the pleasant feeling of possessing an unique object, the fruit of the work and the passion of one person.

Cenitz, Pays Basque, le 6 octobre 2018

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