This feature in Impact is focused on highlighting the "hidden talents" among UTMB's employees. If you have a hidden talent—or know someone who does—please tell us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!
Name: Stephen Pearson
UTMB Talent: Construction Inspector, UTMB Design & Construction
Hidden Talent: Surfboard shaper who transforms foam blanks into stoke-spreading spears
Stephen Pearson’s journey to seasoned surfboard builder started in 2001 when an old friend who visited each year from Oklahoma showed up on the Gulf Coast with a van full of foam blanks, some shaping tools and the patience to teach him the craft.
“He shaped boards in the 1970s and ’80s, so he showed me the basics and when he left to head back home, he told me to shape the remaining blanks into surfboards,” Pearson remembers.
Since then, Pearson—who has become a well-regarded surfboard shaper along the upper Texas coast—has built more than 4,000 surfboards, all from hand.
His favorite part of the process: shaping custom, one-off boards. “The whole process of translating someone’s needs and expectations into a surfboard that lets them surf the way they want or even improve their ability is what makes it all worth it. I have some dedicated friends who travel all over the world that provide me with really good feedback.”
When he’s not working at UTMB or covered in foam in the shaping bay, Pearson loves to surf. His favorite locales are in Costa Rica, Mexico and Southern California.