Cory Russell - Cory Surfboards
With over 25 years of shaping under his belt (and thousands of boards to prove it) Cory Surfboards is the namesake of Ocean Grove-based Cory Russell. As a grom, Cory and his family moved around a lot, continuously relocating houses, which meant that his first contact with the ocean wasn’t until he was 15 years old.
Growing up a skater, Cory has stacks of old and re-issued skateboard decks lying around his house. As a teenager he built his own half pipes (three, to be precise) in his backyard using his old man’s tools. He was just mucking about, but he found working with his hands to be intriguing and exciting.
Reading Surfing Life and Tracks was critical to his surf education. Reading about the masters of cool in the 90’s motivated Cory to swap skate decks for fiberglass and get into the water. Despite Cory’s first introduction to the water being on a bodyboard at Ocean Grove main beach, he quickly progressed to fiberglass thanks to the generosity of a family friend. As it turns out, this board was a Hot Buttered thruster with a Terry Fitz rainbow spray on the deck. Epic.
At the ripe old age of 19, Cory shaped his first board, which was later stolen off a mate’s car’s roof. At the time, he was working for a friend as a signwriter and just like any other late-teen he was trying to figure out what he wanted out of life. One day, he noticed a regular customer of the signwriting business ordering decals for his boards. Intrigued, Cory hit up the customer and bought two blanks, and started carving foam. Shaping came naturally – to this day, Cory’s skills were all self-taught.
These days Cory’s “chasing millimetres” on his designs to “find errors, and work our what you like or dislike about a board, and ultimately what you want to improve”. Perfection is the aim, and Cory’s motivated by the challenge of making the perfect board, whether for his team riders or customers. “It may not be the perfect board for everybody, but as long as it’s the perfect board for them, then I’ve done my job”.
Cory’s shaped thousands of boards over the years, for fierce competitors including Nikki van Dijk, Jordi Watson and Adam Robbo (as well as Lipped’s very own Cahill Bell-Warren), through to teeming hoards of Surf Coast groms and local legends.
Even with his prowess and reputation, Cory works full-time as a crane driver, and shapes boards out of his backyard in Ocean Grove between shifts. “I 100% love [shaping]. Obviously family comes first, but I absolutely love it. If I’m not shaping boards for a couple of weeks, I’m getting grumpy. It’s a similar feeling to not being able to surf during a flat spell – I just have to do it. I could not imagine not being able to do it.” Amen.