Nick ‘Mez’ Mesritz is the man behind NMD and VS Bodyboards. We were lucky enough to catch up with him and hear about his career in shaping, Bali and where to next with bodyboard innovation.
For anyone meeting ‘Mez’ for the first time the first thing you are struck by is that he doesn’t look like a bodyboarder. Imagine a 6ft plus man mountain who was designed to run through people on the rugby field rather than do multiple spins to get through heats (Mez has even spent 5 years playing and coaching the Indonesian national team).
However when you talk to him you instantly realise that he is deeply passionate about bodyboarding and knows more about the technology of our beloved wave riding vehicles than anyone. Think of a rugby playing Doc Brown but instead of time travel he’s all about hydro dynamics, polypropylene, surlyn and the Bernoulli Principle.
BB: When did you first come to Indonesia?
Mez: I came for a surfing trip in 2001 and then moved to Indonesia to open the factory in January 2002.
BB: What was your favourite thing about living in Bali?
Mez: The culture of the Balinese people. I used to get the shits when I’d be stuck in traffic behind a Balinese procession, but I came to appreciate and respect their steadfast devotion to their beliefs, religion and traditions.
BB: Which was your favourite wave to surf here?
Mez: I used to love Canggu back in the early 2000’s. Its was pretty much a secret spot and quite often I’d surf it with 2-3 guys out.
BB: What was your most memorable session in Bali?
Mez: Dan (Sivess) and I hit Canggu early one day 12+ years ago and it was on fire. Just spitting barrels all over the place. We were the only guys out for hours and we couldn’t figure out why. Then literally truck loads of Balinese rocked up and held an upacara (blessing) on the beach. We later found out it was Melasti and that the trucks had blocked off all the roads to and from the beach.
BB: What’s your favourite Indonesian food?
Mez: Babi Guling from Ibu Oka in Ubud.
BB: How and when did you first start shaping?
Mez: I had been on holiday with my family in Australia and while over there I had purchased my first board, the iconic Morey Mach 7-7. I also brought an issue of “Bodyboarding” magazine which I read over and over, slowly becoming obsessed with all things Boog. Around around mid 1990 my dad tells me that he noticed a bodyboard factory in an industrial park not far from our house in Auckland, New Zealand. This, of course, blew my mind and I went straight to the White Pages, looked up the phone number and called the owner (Rick Broderson) to see if he had any after school jobs. I pretty much begged him to give me a job and I started by doing prep work for the day shift guys. I didn’t start shaping until I moved to Rheopaipo in 1991, but my true shaping education began at Toobs under Buzz Morasca in 1993.
BB: Did you have a Mr Myagi, Master Splinter, Obi Wan Kenobi style guru who guided you through your early years?
Mez: Yes, Buzz was my Mr Mayagi and believe me, I did a bloody lot of wax on, wax off! Buzz is an engineering freak of nature and he had worked out the “Buzz-Tech” method of making boards from reverse engineering an old BZ board. What he devised was truly remarkable and I still use a lot of his machinery and techniques to this day.
BB: What have been the highlights of your shaping career?
Mez: I am fortune to have a number of highlights. These include Ben’s 3 world titles, shaping Andre Botha’s boards for his 2 world titles and shaping with Mike Stewart who I idolised as a grom. I also get a massive buzz when I make a board for a micro grom and see the stoke on their faces when they catch their first waves. Its pretty cool to be able to make something with your hands that gives people such enjoyment.
BB: Whats the weirdest board you have ever been asked to shape? (maybe that transparent fishing vessel I asked you about?)
Mez: Aside from your floating fishing vessel, I haven’t been asked to make anything too far from the norm. Some of the stuff Mike (Stewart) comes up with is out there, like a carbon-fibre stiffening plate that had a shape similar to a cat that had been squashed by a steamroller, but otherwise its all pretty tame.
BB: NMD has been at the forefront of bodyboard development (especially core technology) for a long time. Which aspects of the modern bodyboard do you think still have room to evolve?
Mez: There will always be a place for evolution. Surfing progression and board development are a symbiotic relationship in that you really can’t have one without the other. The riders are constantly going harder and higher and if the boards don’t evolve to meet the riders requirements then the progression curve will taper. Personally, I think bottom design will be the next area for advancement. The Quad Concave is not yet a year old and I’m confident it be the precursor to much bigger developments.
BB: Whats the process for developing new board technology how long does it normally take between the light bulb going on and then the board being available in the shops?
Mez: It really depends on the tech. Something like the Quad Concave had been in the back of my mind for years, but once we took delivery of our AKU CNC shaping machine it took less than 6 months to take it to market. On the flip side, ISS was close to 5 years in the making and PFS took about 2 years to bring to market. Once we have an idea, the first step is to figure out how we can make it, initially as test sample and then in full production. Water testing can take several weeks to several years, dependant on rider feedback and board functionality. With PFS we knew we were on to something special but it took over a year just to work out how to make the core in full production.
BB: Can you explain the theory behind the PFS3 Quad Concave?
Mez: Its actually pretty simple, by channelling water flow through the middle of the board there is less slip/ drift on the wave face. This means that you can hold a higher line and better control your board speed. On a regular channeled bottom you get a fair amount of slip/ drift which causes loss of speed, so it feels like you are constantly fighting to exit the barrel or generate speed on the open face, especially in smaller, weaker waves. With the Quad, by being able to maintain a higher line, you can then generate more drive through the barrel, into a bottom turn or projecting up to the lip.
For anyone coming to Bali we have an exclusive arrangement with NMD to provide our guests with CNC custom NMD and VS boards.
Drop us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will have the board of your dreams waiting for you on arrival!