We caught up with Hayden on his inspirational journey, making surfboards from just 15 to a career working with the likes of Alexander Wang, GH Mumm Champagne, The Cool Hunter, Audi and IWC Schaffhausen whilst keeping design, technology and innovation at the core of his craft including FutureFlex technology, invented by Hayden.
You started making surfboards at the age of 15, and you’ve never had another job. Where did that passion and direction come from?
We’d camp every school holidays when we were kids and I caught my first wave at 4 years old. Surfboards were always just as exciting to me as surfing was. I would always repair my own boards and then at 15 years old I shaped and built my first one on work experience and that’s when HAYDENSHAPES started.
How would you describe your brand ethos?
I’d say the core brand pillars revolve around design, performance, innovation, art, aesthetic. Whenever I release something new or work on brand project whether it be a collaboration with another brand or a film with one of our athletes, I always consider those 5 things. HAYDENSHAPES as a brand is known for our detail and focus on innovative design, but also being a little left of centre with our messaging and doing things differently to other board brands.
Would you say your craft is more art or science? How does creativity affect your process, and how does the need for technical innovation incorporate with that?
There is definitely mathematics involved and somewhat of a science in terms of fine tuning a shape, but at the end of the day whatever feels good under feet and creating something your customers will connect with is always what I aim for. In terms of technical innovation, I’m just personally really passionate about materials and construction and in how this impacts everything from the flex to the durability of the board. Right now, I’m focused on sustainability and engineering new eco friendly materials that will be available to the wider composite manufacturing industry – not just HAYDENSHAPES.
You’ve lived in Los Angeles, then Bondi Beach, and now you’re up in Palm Beach. What’s been the journey? Do you think you’re settled for good now?
There is no place I’d rather be in the world then right here in Australia. That goes without saying 2020 has been quite the year so far… I’ve never been more appreciative of my home and family and basing myself back on the Northern Beaches of Sydney. We still have a store and team over in Los Angeles that are doing an incredible job.
You’ve just had a little boy, and you’ve already got a girl - congratulations! How does family fit into your lifestyle? Is a love for the ocean a shared family passion?
That was a cool project! I enjoyed that a lot. We approached them with the idea. Inititally it was all tonal black and black boards with matt gloss detailing, but then last minute with threw out the idea of marble prints as more of an afterthought and that ended up being what we went with! We shot all the creative ourselves and I remember the imagery just being posted everywhere… Vogue, Arch Digest, Hype Beast etc. It was actually just shot on my phone near County Line, Malibu area, and once the filter was added, the (dirty) sand looked black as as though it was on some volcanic exotic destination. Funny really! I am currently working on a collaboration with artist Daniel Arsham… I’m pretty psyched about this one.
You obviously wouldn’t wear suits in your day-to-day life. When you do have to dress up, what would you say your style is?
I’ve never been too out there with colour and I tend to wear a lot of black and grey tones… I’d say my dressed up style would be quite monochromatic and simple.
Given you craft custom surfboards, you’d have an appreciation for one-of-a-kind pieces. The InStitchu model is obviously about giving guys the power to create really special and unique custom, tailored suits - is that something you relate to? (opportunity to call out customising every detail on suit with InStitchu)
Definitely! I really enjoyed the process of working with the Institchu team and I do really appreciate the craftsmanship involved. I am always really interested to learn about other industries outside of surfboards that creative bespoke product and there is something pretty cool about having a suit tailored just for you. I was definitely grateful to the team and the final result was pretty cool.