Tim Jump of Secula Surfboards is a true craftsman and artist. We asked him about his passion for art along with why it’s important to support local shapers and shops.
BTR: How long have you been shaping and what inspired you to start?
TJ: I shaped my first board back in 2004. A few years prior to that I was lifeguarding in the summer on Long Beach Island, New Jersey and I was painting Surfboards whenever I could get my hands on one. A local board builder Marty Bennett, saw my work and asked if I would be interested in painting some boards for him. I started painting boards for Marty, and picking his brain. I got my first blank from Brian Wynn, who was glassing Marty’s boards at that time, made my own cardboard template, and started hacking away. Brian glassed my first board and few batches of boards after that. I would hang out at Brian‘s factory a little bit and watched him glass and sand and thought “I think I can figure that out.” Before long I was doing everything start to finish.
BTR: You are an artist through and through. You handcraft surfboards, recycled fin keys, bottle openers, resin planters, and more. Plus you are a painter and graphic designer. Ever think of opening your own Surf Shop/Art Gallery?
TJ: It would be really cool to have our own little shop one day, we will see. My wife is a pediatric gastroenterologist at the Children’s Hospital here in Charleston, and we have a four and five a year old who are little water rats, so we like to keep the weekends open for family time. Being able to work from home and have a flexible schedule that I can work around my kids school and my wife’s work/ call schedule is really the best thing for us right now.
BTR: Let’s talk about your art for a minute. Who are some of the brands you’ve designed for and what projects are you most proud of?
TJ: I haven’t done a ton of work for “brands” The majority of my work tends to be small shops and businesses that see one of my art pieces, or designs and then want me to do some work for them, which is really cool because they’re coming to me because they like the artwork not just because I “can do” design work or know how to work in illustrator. I’ve done design work for Carolina Surf Brand, Synerx Pharma, Ocean Surf Shop, Wynn Surfboards. The recent project that I’m probably most proud of is the work that I did for the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources Oyster Recycling and Enhancement program. It’s always cool when you can do a project that’s a really good collaboration and it’s part of helping the environment as well. It’s also kind of cool seeing the design all over the state.
BTR: You’ve done design work for Ocean Surf Shop. What’s your connection with them?
TJ: Yeah I started doing design work for Ocean Surf Shop a couple of years ago. My buddy Chad, who runs the Carolina Surf Film Festival, introduced me to the manager at Ocean, Bates, and helped me get my boards in the shop. Bates saw some of the work that I was doing for the film festival, and when they needed some design work for the shop I jumped at the opportunity. It’s been awesome because I’m able to illustrate concepts that Bates has, as well as, integrate my own original work. He has also included me when they meet with some of the reps as well, which has been super helpful. If you understand the options and the process of making the products, you can get your design to truly look the way you want it to, instead of just slapping it on a bunch of things. Ocean really treats me like I’m part of the shop family too, not just a guy doing design work for them. We surf together, they help entertain my kids when I have to drop off boards or design work, and over the lockdown they called to check in, just to make sure the family was good. I am truly grateful for the relationship that I have with the shop.
BTR: Why is it so important for surfers to support their local shapers and surf shops?
TJ: I think when you get a board from a local shaper you’re getting it from somebody that most likely surfs locally so you’re going to get a board that will perform optimally in those types of waves. Also, it gives you the chance to speak directly to the shaper and get all your questions answered.
As far as, why it’s important to support the local surf shop, who doesn’t want to support the people in their community. Charleston is pretty small in the grand scheme of things, I see the guys from the surf shop and local surfers all the time, at the grocery store, the gym, my kids school. These are the same guys that are gonna come together for benefit events, help families when they need it, and probably help hook you up with a new stick when you snap one in the middle of a big swell. I think it’s important to develop those relationships and that sense of community. The surf shop is a special place, I played soccer through college and I never once hung out at the soccer store for hours on end to just shoot the shit or watch videos, but I’ve done that at surf shops more times than I can count. And maybe it’s me being selfish, but I don’t want to lose that. That’s why I love what your doing with BTR. So if it means paying a couple extra bucks for a pair of shoes, or having to wait a week to get a pair of boardshorts rather than having it today I’m all for it.
BTR: Any closing advice for the industry?
TJ: I don’t know if I’m qualified to offer advice to the industry, but if I had to give some: don’t forget why you got into this. I’d say the majority if not all of us got into it because we love surfing, and we love the ocean, we didn’t get into this for the money. I think when decisions are made without looking at the big picture and the impacts of those decisions that’s when problems arise.