I had an awesome time sitting down earlier today with Maine surfer and shaper Colby LaPointe. Born in Kennebunkport, Colby is the modern day renaissance man. He balances a couple of jobs and the rigorous demands of UVA’s architecture school, while still finding time to shape boards and surf some of New England’s coldest and most picturesque breaks. Colby has one of the best Instagram accounts these eyes have ever seen--so give him a follow @colby_lapointe and be sure to check up on his progress and marvel at his newest creations.
CP: Tell me a little bit about growing up surfing in Maine. When did you start surfing? Did you always have a passion for surfing?
Colby: Growing up less than three miles from the ocean, I’ve always had a fascination with the coast, but ironically I didn’t pick up a board until high school. My old roommate during my junior year at Andover [a prep school forty minutes outside Boston, MA] split time on the Jersey Shore during the summer and he spiked my interest, so I had to give it a try.
CP: Besides your roommate, what inspired you to start surfing and what inspires you to continue surfing?
Colby: The clean lifestyle, the art, and the thrill of chasing waves are some of the things which got me hooked, and have kept me interested.
CP: Do you have any pre and post surf routines?
Colby: I always play some indie rock on my way to the beach and am sure to eat my signature avocado toast beforehand (Toast, Avocado, tabasco, lime juice, and cayenne pepper).
CP: What’s your favorite surfboard to ride?
Colby: My Log! I picked up a 10’ 6” this year and the effortless glide is unmatched.
CP: What is your local break?
Colby: Goose’s is definitely the local break--it’s really easy for me to get out there. It's so Maine, you’ve got these pine trees, the huge oak, a rock cliff...it’s really cool paddling out there.
CP: How did you get into shaping and creating surfboards?
Colby: That same roommate in high school, Dale Lattanzio, bought a 5’ 8” Fish kit from Grain Surfboards over in York, Maine. He built it up that spring semester and it looked fantastic. Naively, I decided it wouldn’t be very hard to build one myself from scrap wood my dad had.
CP: That’s awesome, but has to be a ton of work. How long does it take to complete a board?
Colby: Wood boards can take quite a while for an ameteur builder such as myself, especially being a full-time student. My most recent board was started in august of 2016 and it just received its finishing touches about a week and a half ago.
CP: What is your favorite project you have completed?
Colby: After a couple of unsuccessful attempts, I finally finished up a hollow longboard from cedar this spring. I pretty much did everything other than mill the wood which made it very rewarding.
CP: What do you think makes the New England surfing culture unique?
Colby: Besides the thickness of our wetsuits, it's the drive and passion that makes NE surfers unique. You gotta really want it to be out there in the middle of January during a snowstorm. Not for the fainthearted.
CP: From start to finish, what would be your ideal beach day consist of?
Colby: I love being the first one out there on a really good morning, which usually requires wakeing around 4:30-5:00 AM. Crashing in the back of my jeep for a nap in between sessions helps me refuel and keep warm. Then, maybe picking up some burritos later from a place like El Rayo would top the day off.
CP: What are some of the best travel destinations surfing has taken you?
Colby: So far, I have surfed at most breaks in Southern Maine, my favorite being Higgins beach in Scarborough. Next week I am camping at Acadia National park and hope to paddle out at the many points up there on Mount Desert Island.
CP: I didn’t know there was surfing in Acadia! Tell me about your plans for the Adventure.
Colby: There’s this place called Otter Cove. It’s totally rocky, you have to jump off a rock formation to even get out there. It's going to be raw, very rainy, totally stormy, and completely Maine.
CP: Haha that may be one of my favorite quotes ever. We might have to put “it's going to be raw, very rainy, totally stormy, and completely Maine” on a t-shirt. Are you going to Acadia alone?
Colby: Yeah man, I’m going alone. I’m taking my ‘01 Cherokee, putting the back seat down, and sleeping in the trunk. I found my jeep on Craigslist with 45,000 miles on her and everything runs smoothly, except for the heat. No heat in the middle of winter in Maine is no bueno.
CP: That’s incredible. On the topic of travel, what won’t you travel without?
Colby: My camera. I like shooting with the Fuji x series because it's small enough to fit in my jacket pocket and very durable.
CP: At Fair Harbor we try to live by the motto, Keep it Clean. How do you practice a clean lifestyle?
Colby: I am always trying to eat healthier, and find new ways to stay active. I picked up bouldering this year at my school's rock gym and have been doing a lot of yoga recently.
CP: What are some of your favorite local food spots?
Colby: A Bennets sub is a town classic, but I prefer the pizza at Owens Farmhouse.
CP: What would your favorite barbecue spread consist of? Who would you invite to it?
Colby: Lobster, salmon, corn, potatoes, maybe some scallops. I’d probably invite anyone willing to come.
CP: So to get back to the surfing, do you want to shape long-term? Do you have anything for sale?
Colby: I’m just beginning down on a long track to become an architect, as I know that designing things is a passion of mine. I plan to continue surfing and making boards. I’ve also been experimenting with some other woodworking lately--I started making bread and cheese boards recently out of nice scrap hardwood that was lying around the UVA Architecture school and it blossomed into a small summer business. They’re on sale at Toroso, a restaurant where I work, ranging from $30 to $70.
CP: So you are cooking at Toroso right now? What is Toroso like and what do you do there?
Colby: Toroso is a little neighborhood restaurant in Kennebunk, ME, that serves delicious small plates inspired by Spain. I help out around the kitchen mostly with making lunch.
CP: Do you have a favorite food to cook?
Colby: I’ve gotten real good at cooking pizza over the past couple years. I can usually impress some people by throwing the dough up in the air.
CP: So if you’re doing all this cooking, are you selling these cheese boards with a hand-picked selection of cheese on them from Chef Colby?
Colby: Haha there is no cheese for sale yet, but we can arrange that--cheese available upon request.
CP: What’s your favorite cheese?
Colby: Just a classic cheddar.
CP: What’s your favorite local restaurant?
Colby: Owen’s farmhouse. You gotta check it out, the wood fired pizza is incredible. I worked there two summers ago and STILL like their food. If you can cook the food and still like it, it means it's really good.
CP: So it sounds like you’ve got an unbelievable amount of stuff on your plate right now man. You’re pursuing an undergraduate architecture degree at UVA, you work at Toroso, you shape boards and surf, your traveling around Maine…. Am I missing anything?
Colby: Haha no that pretty much covers it man. I’m also working at a surf shop in Kennebunk called Aquaholics.
CP: I bought my first surfboard from Aquaholics in Kennebunkport! A 5’10” oceanside spoiler that was blue and yellow--I still have it in my quiver! How the hell do you find to shape with all that going on?
Colby: It’s definitely time consuming, but so rewarding. The process of learning the trade and developing my woodworking has been great and while it takes a lot of time, after a couple rides on a board that you created from scratch, it’s all worth it.
CP: What are your future plans? What do you see yourself doing after college?
Colby: I’d like to be designing something--there's a lot you can do with an architecture degree and what it helps you accomplish conceptually. I definitely want to build my own home at some point and keep on creating.
Sea's the Day!
Written by: Clark Perkins