You don’t expect to see a surfboard marking the entrance to a gravel driveway off Route 141 in the rural Waldo County town of Monroe. But if you meet homeowner Josh Moody, it all makes sense.
Moody is a 34-year-old Mainer who lives and breathes surfing and enjoys his sport year-round in New England. He is a self-taught carpenter and fiberglasser, and he enjoys the research and design that come with his craft.
For the past 2½ years, Moody has been making custom surfboards for the ever-growing, ever-adapting surfer community in Maine and New England with his Monroe Surf Co.
Maine waters, unlike those in California, Massachusetts or Florida, “have a kind of surf that calls for a custom-shaped board, beefed up with more volume to ride breaks and swells that are further offshore,” explained Moody.
Maine has had a surf community since the 1960s, but in the last decade or so that community has exploded and moved up past southern Maine to the midcoast.
“I would estimate that there are probably 1,000 to 1,500 surfers in the state, and that number is growing all the time,” Moody said. He estimates that of that number, there are some 150 surfers in the midcoast who, like Moody, ride all year long.
Many appreciate the winter surfing more because “it separates the hardy from the fair-weather surfers,” he joked.
Moody lives in a log home with his wife, Jackie, who also is a surfer. The house was his first building project.
He doesn’t fit the surfer stereotype you might see in a movie. His wealth of knowledge about weather, tidal power, beaches and the Gulf of Maine, bathometry and hurricane history is apparent in conversation.
All come into play when looking for surf in Maine, he said. “It’s all about the whole quest, not just one particular part that makes surfing in Maine so fun.
“I first learned how to shape a board by reading ‘Essential Surfing’ and ‘Surfing: A Handbook.’ Then from there, it was just trial and error to dial it in to East Coast surf needs and the need of the person I am making the board for,” Moody said.
And that is what buyers get when ordering a custom board from Monroe Surf Co. They get Josh Moody.
Moody explained that when making a board, he applies his expertise to the buyer’s specifications to create the perfect board.
“I look at the person’s age, how much they weigh, how tall they are, how much they exercise, what kind of physical injuries they might have had in the past, where they are going to surf and during what times of the year,” he said.
He often will take the customer out before he starts shaping a board to see the skill level of the buyer, and then afterward to ensure it is the perfect fit.
Moody has sold 40 boards in the past two years, one of which has a hemp top sheet. He has been playing around with ecofriendly biofoams and recyclable bases to make Monroe Surf Co. as green as possible.
Hurricane Irene opened up possibilities for Moody and his surf buddies to do one of their favorite things — surf places that have never been surfed before, such as Boathouse Beach in Belfast Harbor.
“Irene is just the beginning of a great couple months of surf from now ’til October, but you can always count on surf at Popham Beach or Reid State Park,” he said. “I can’t be thankful enough to be in a position to live out my dream and enjoy every minute of it. What I really want people to know is that there is surf in Maine and you can have fun surfing all year round, on any size wave.”
Monroe Surf Co. shapes custom boards and does ding repairs, reconstruction and fin work. For more information, call 930-0504 or visit http://www.monroesurfco.com.