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Written by Lottie Lewis
“First of all you have to know that we are not surfers, at least not the ones you are used to. We prefer football, a good bottle of wine, and some nice Portuguese food, and friends to go along with it. The truth is that we started to make surfboards, not only because we love the waves and the ocean, but also because we didn’t relate with the surf scene or the surfers around us, and we just wanted to do something for us and our friends. Simple, fun and adequate surfboards for every type of wave and surfer. And we have been very happy making some money doing what we love.”
The Lisbon Crooks are a Portuguese duo who we’ve admired for a while. Long-time Rebel team rider Rod makes up one half of the pair, and his style, musical flare and outlook on life has us hooked. Together with Nuno, the boys shape boards that are fun and unique, to be enjoyed no matter the conditions. “Our customers, who become friends, aren’t always the best surfers in the water, but they are always the ones having most fun.”
The idea for the Lisbon Crooks originally formed when Jamie, an Australian friend, introduced them to shaping. But the surfing bug bit the boys long before then. “When we were kids we were getting waves on a broken piece of styrofoam until our bellies got so red and painful that we couldn't do it anymore.” Nuno mentioned that his first surfboard came from “one of the rich kids in Cascais”, which he cut the nose off (the board, not the kid), painted it, then went back to make friends. We aren’t sure if he’s kidding or serious though. When asked about he most memorable board he ever shaped he said, “The first one. It’s a piece of shit, but it still floats and always puts a smile on my face.”
They also share our view on sustainability. “We believe that producing and consuming less is the key to do good to ourselves and the planet. With this in mind, we don’t produce surfboards to have in stock. We just do custom surfboards by order, and we only have a selection of ten surfboards in our quiver that everyone can test, rent, buy and exchange for a better world.” Nuno added, “It's an everyday thing, not only in what we do within the factory, but also how we live our lives.” They use Polyola recyclable blanks, which are the first ever Polyurethane surfboard blanks made of foam created from recycled materials. “We love these guys and we have been making surfboards using their blanks. Truth is that surfing is still a very ugly and dirty industry and it needs to change. These guys are going in the right direction and we are tagging along.”
We recently supported Rod to shape a couple of boards. One for him, one for our shop. We caught up with him to find out how it was riding; “Since I got the board I am trying new tricks, specially air manoeuvres. From the many things I like about this board, the tail and the rocker are the main ones. The idea of this shape was a combination of other boards I have and a few models from big surfboard brands. So far the best fin set is two plus one - two big twin fins and a small one in the middle. This type of surfboard pushes me to be more precise. It sacrifices paddling but it increases fun, and that's a priority for me. Soon I'll reproduce the same board, adding some foam. I’ve had some amazing boards and this one is surely one of the best!”
So, if you fancy a slice of the Crooks style, then get in touch with the boys. They even run a try-before-you-buy policy, if you’re unsure what you’re after; “We have our test surfboards that you can rent, but most of the time we let our friends take new surfboards out, and then we discount the price of the renting when they bring them back. This way we give you the possibility of surfing with a cool and new board, and not the shitty ones you normally find at rental places.” Plus, you don’t have to be in the area to score a fresh stick off the Lisbon Crooks, “No matter where you are, we can get the surfboard to arrive without a scratch. Let us know where and we will send you some quotes. At the moment we’re sticking solely to Europe, from other places just buy a ticket and come get it yourself.” They also said they’ll offer wine to everyone who buys a board from them, so what are you waiting for?