As one of the most well-known figures in the surf industry, Al Merrick has been shaping boards under the Channel Islands name since 1969. Inspired by the rapid progression of surfboard designs of the time, and a desire to push the boundaries of performance, Al’s boards began garnering international attention in the mid to late 1970s thanks to the achievements of Channel Islands athletes around the surf world.
Al's continuous refinement and perfection of contemporary surfboard shapes has proven incredibly successful. Shaun Tomson rode a Channel Islands board to victory at the 1977 world championships, a first of many world champions with Channel Islands under their feet. Other examples include triple world champion Tom Curren, quadruple world champion Lisa Andersen and of course, 11-time world champ Kelly Slater.
The early 90s brought a major change to Channel Islands – a switch from 100% hand shaped boards to computer-assisted shaping. Nowadays, CI boards are shaped by a CNC machine and finished by hand. This allows Channel Islands to manufacturer upwards of 10,000 boards a year. This makes CI one of the most prolific surfboard builders in the world, and also provides their athletes with an insanely fast turnaround time for product development and testing.
Channel Islands’ authenticity and commitment to athlete driven performance is unchanged from Al's early shaping days - creating boards that are certifiably rad and proven on some of the mose challenging surf around the world.