Ryan Jeffs is a LA native and the founder, designer, and shaper of BP Surfboards. His craft began when he stumbled upon a blank at a Venice garage sale, took to it with a butter knife and carved out his first surfboard. Friends began asking Ryan to make them boards which led him to further his craft, apprenticing under a well-known San Clemente shaper in exchange for shop labor. Using his newfound skills, Ryan transformed his initial kitchen creation into the local business that is now BP Surfboards.
We partnered with Ryan and BP Surfboards to create a number of custom boards in celebration of his craft and the beginning of Summer. His boards will be featured in all of our store windows throughout June and on Saturday, June 13th we will be hosting a party at our Abbot Kinney store to celebrate the partnership. His boards will be on display at the event and we will be raffling off custom boards to attendees. RSVP for the event here.
When do you feel most creative and how does this affect your process?
I think I am most creative while problem solving. I’m more interested in hearing what I’m doing wrong than what I’m doing right, because I like to live life as a student. It’s comfortable knowing that there is always more to learn.
As far as the creative process, my friend Max Miles who is responsible for the other half of this project, is pretty instrumental in the aesthetic and design of the boards. He thinks differently and is an unreal artist so it’s easy to avoid boring work.
How did you get into making surfboards?
I found a blank at a garage sale, and ended up carving it up with a bread knife on my kitchen island in Venice. My old landlord is still finding foam there. Probably still pissed off about it as well. I brought it to my friend Eric and he asked if I’d make him one. If it weren’t for him I probably wouldn’t be building boards right now.
How did you come up with the name BP Surfboards?
I didn’t actually. My best friend’s father is an amazing musician and artist in Hungary. All the music and art he makes goes under the name Bp. It stands for Budapest. A long time ago he gave me a poster that he’d made and I really loved it so I put it on the first board. The rest is history. So yeah, I can’t take credit for the name, just happy he supports it.
What is like working on something you’re so passionate about?
It doesn’t feel like work. It’s really easy to build these things because I really care about them, just as I care about the people I get to share them with. The relationship is easy to maintain and I love learning to navigate the process.
Describe your personal style. How does Alternative fit in with your lifestyle?
I love the idea of function – getting rid of everything that doesn’t serve a purpose. I like the unembellished version of things. We are always striving to build surfboards like that, clean and simple so that the board is merely an extension of the user. Idiosyncratic. Alternative does a good job of that.
For more information and for custom board inquiries check out bpsurfboards.com.
Written by Caitlin Mathias
Photos by Alise Mongeon