Charlie Walker is the shops jokester. He’s modest about his career, and he currently works as a sander at Schaper surfboards. He is passionate about the boards that the team makes, “there should be a big bell that rings every time a board is sold. Confetti. All of it. It’s exciting every time we sell a board.”
Charlie was born in 1953 in Coronado, San Diego but did not begin surfing until the age 13 when he moved with his mom to NorCal as a teenager. Charlie’s surfing career began during what he dubbed as the ‘Single-Fin Era.’ The surfboards that were around at that time in the late 60’s were pretty heavy and not easily transportable so Charlie would hide his board in the bushes by the beach and bring his long board out to knee paddle in the cold, “sharky” waters of Stinson Beach. Charlie proclaims that he was never a strong swimmer and would stick to knee-deep water and was hesitant of catching big waves. Charlie and his mom moved back to San Diego a few years later where he surfed in the warmer waters. At this time, Charlie began dabbling in customizing boards when he started cutting the tails off long boards down to short boards with a single fin (which was trending). Charlie became more immersed in the culture and lifestyle of surfing when he was in Encinitas. The waves in Hawaii that he saw in surf magazines and movies captured him and he bought a one-way ticket in 1971 to Honolulu for 75 bucks and has been here ever since. “I just grew old but never grew up.”
Charlie procured odd jobs and questionable living situations around the island, including but not limited to, a two-day stint at McDonald’s while living in a guy’s house under his stairwell. At one time he cut his hair, got a uniform and pretended to be a BYU freshman and slept and ate at the dorms for free! When Charlie felt like the scam was getting old, he began working at Crouching Lion, the now Turtle Bay Resort and moved to Sunset Beach where he was introduced to shaping and glassing. During the 70’s, boards were more streamlined, “gunnier” and Lightning Bolts started to get big and he began doing ding repairs.
Charlie began his career as a glasser when he realized that it was profitable (“someone actually wants to pay me to glass their board”) and began creating backyard shops where he was sanding, glossing, pin lining and glassing. Charlie’s surf career also took off around this time when he began surfing at Waimea and got hooked on big waves. He was the first surfer to do a top-turn at Waimea Bay and was an Eddie invitee in the early 80's. Charlie still surfs every day and is regarded as one of the very best sanders on the planet!