Guillaume Fournier’s passion for surfing quickly turned into an interest in the process of making surfboards. Orphans was born from this fascination; he now handcrafts surfboards in his workshop Verdun, Montréal.
“The best part is having one of my friends get out of the water and tell me my board is their favourite of all the ones they’ve tried.”
I can’t do anything halfway. As soon as I started surfing and got interested in boards, I started looking into how to make them.
I thought I’d make a board or two for the fun of it, but in the end, I dove right into the project. In no time, I found a space and invested in tools. As soon as I started, several of my close friends asked me to shape a board for them. From there, it spread by word of mouth and never stopped. Today I have a complete workshop where I work for several months of the year.
Over time, I experimented and perfected my technique, until I hit on a style that represents me. Today, my approach is more deliberate. I don’t do this year-round, so I select my clients and make sure I offer the best boards to surfers who will appreciate what an Orphans surfboard has to offer.
When I take an order, I know the dozens of hours I’ll be putting in will be appreciated. The surfboard will see plenty of waves and the person will take good care of it.
I can only travel and go surfing for a few weeks out of the year. Working on boards lets me stay connected to the sport all year, and keep up the lifestyle even in Montréal.
Though it’s nearly impossible to find good waves for surfing in Québec, there’s still a community of travellers and people who are passionate about the sport. That’s who I make surfboards for.