Josiah Morris gets excited when he talks about the opportunities for his surfboard brand, Morin Surfboards, and his family in the Coastal Bend.
“Everyone here has been so kind and so welcoming,” Morris said. “I’ve never lived in a place with so much diversity, and everyone has been excited about us coming to the Coastal Bend. We’ve already met with local leaders who learned that we would be coming to Corpus Christi and they’ve been helpful in so many ways. It’s hard to put into words, but we know we made the right move.”
Morris, who owns Morin Surfboards with his wife, Crista, is still new to the area — but has numerous ties to South Texas through the surfing industry and his connections within the surfboard crafting community. He said his passion for surfboard shaping was developed through many different angles.
“Surfing has always been important,” Morris said. “My dad was a surfer and both my brothers were semi-pro surfers, so we built up a lot of great relationships with pro surfers and others in the industry. We’ve always been around surfing, and growing up I learned how to fix my own surfboard dings. In high school and college, I would help friends work on their own boards, so it’s always been a natural fit.”
He has always enjoyed working with his hands, he noted, which led to a slight deviation in his career.
“After my wife and I got married, I got into guitar building with Larrivée and really learned how to work with my hands and manage other people,” he said. “I was a production manager and learned a lot about that aspect of business, which was beneficial.”
Morris said he was fortunate after leaving the guitar production world to meet people he now considers great friends, taking jobs at Proctor Surfboards and Jeff Hull Custom Boats in California. He was recommended by Hull to Channel Islands Surfboards, for which he is grateful.
“I was on the night shift at Channel Islands Surfboards, and at that time we still had people on our team like Kelly Slater, Rob Machado and Taylor Knox, all these really iconic legends of the sport,” Morris said. “I got to meet all these guys because they liked coming in at night to pick up their boards we worked on because no one was in, and I was just able to ask them all the questions I wanted — and they were all the most friendly people you’d ever meet.”
Morris went on to get an opportunity as a shaper at Channel Islands, which has helped pave the way for his family’s own business ventures.
“It was a six-month process, and I learned a lot,” Morris said. “The Channel Islands team has 20 world titles in men’s and women’s surfing, so they expect their boards to be perfect. I’ve been affiliated with Channel Islands for about a decade, working with some of the best shapers on the planet.
“I’ve got my own brands, Morin Surfboards and Morin Manufacturing, and I also work with Channel Islands, Campbell Brothers and other companies I’ve done contract work for in the past. It’s a good collection of good friends and good people in the industry.”