John answers some questions about what shaped Trueline
John Neve shaping a '66 Classic Nose-Rider
The Trueline Name ... "When I was a kid, I was into the ocean in many ways, including fishing. I would work my paper route and save up so that someday I could buy the top fishing rod money could buy. The brand was TruLine and they made the best hands down! Quality, detail, strength, craftsmanship. To this day my eyes still get big thinking about 'em. Well, when I started shaping boards, I wanted to create the same quality and craftsmanship. Also, any shaper will tell you the lines of the rail make a board great. Well that's something on my boards that I take special pride in, and from the start I set out to make sure my boards were true. And they are. That's the story of the name Trueline. Inspired by a rod company and that perfect line from nose to tail on every board I shape."
The Aloha Spirit ... "Its something that - its a feeling within...it lives in your heart. If you get just a piece of it, it will grow. It's a love for everything. The Hawaiian culture is so special in that the spirit of aloha, to me, is its foundation. I try to spread aloha everywhere I go.
It's important to have aloha in the breaks. Mutual respect in the water. Nothing out there should be demanded; it's all a gift."
My Inspirations and Mentors ... "I'd have to say my biggest inspiration was my friend growing up Bobby Whitaker. Growing up, he and I didn't have the funds to buy the greatest boards out there, and so we would make 'em. He would work through not having the high price materials of the time. It all started probably in 1962 with him taking a woodshop class and shaping - I kid you not - perhaps the ugliest board the world has ever seen! It was made of balsa...we all surfed it...and we called it 'big red'. After that, Bobby and I screwed around with shaping with what we called bunker boards resin'ed with cheesecloth. Bobby really got me to see the fun in creating stuff, surfboards, race box cars, skateboards...whatever I would see, I would try and create with my hands.
As far as mentors, I would say Skip Frye, John Holly and Dick Brewer. You can see their influence in the rails, bottoms and rockers of all my boards. Great shapers and even better aloha! "
My Best-Wave Memory ... "Kalihiwai, Kauai. Part of a two-week surfari with Bobby who lived out there. It's a series of 4 or 5 waves that that get bigger the farther out you go. It was six to eight foot that day (Hawaiian) and I was in great shape. I was surfing my 7'9" Tiger Strip swallow-tail with hard hard rails. Throughout the morning we rode the inner peaks taking our time working our way out. The outermost peak is pretty localized and breaks right into a 30foot big round lava rock that they call hamburger rock. Lotta flesh has been left on the rock from surfers not making the drop and turn. Well I took my time, waited out some waves, and slid into the line-up. Shortly after, I am in the takeoff zone and along comes this 8 foot BEAUTY. I worked a two-stroke paddle and was up, screaming right towards that big haole-catcher of a rock and I laid into my rail turn and cranked off an amazing bottom turn. Right then, in my peripheral, I see a shadow way up above me and another boarder was taking off on the top about to drop in on me and send me into the bad place. I let out a series of hoots about as loud as I was going fast and he pulled off leaving me the most amazing ride I have ever had. I must have re-entered on the wave 8 times as I explored that shoulder. Afterwards, Bobby and I were on the beach together and he said, "John I have never see you surf so good!" I replied, "it's not me man - it's the equipment!" Bobby passed away while surfing Majors Bay a few years later. Sharing a session like we did that day at Kalihiwai...it was special."
What I do when I'm not shaping boards ... "Watching Lena, my beautiful wahine, dance hula and playing Hawaiian music with my Bruddahs is something I really enjoy. Of course, anything out on the water - fishing, surfing, boating - is key to my days. Whenever I get a chance to hang with my kids and family though, that's tops for me. They are why I have a smile on face whenever I do what I do!"
Surfing Advice ... "Do your surfer push-ups. I know it's preached all the time but it's the truth. Also, get a 2x6 plank of wood, throw it onto the ground and practice walking it. I had a grom team in the 90s and these kids ripped. They were fundamentally strong and I think that helped them really do well on the circuits. So work on the fundamentals. Most importantly though, be good to one another in the water. We are all out there to do the same thing."