Shazrul Izwan, 38, Founder of Kemudi Surfcraft

“Stay focus and put soul into your goals, you will achieve success.”

1. Can you introduce yourself and Kemudi Surfcraft? 

My name is Shazrul Izwan. The founder of Kemudi Surfcraft. I was born and raised in Johor Bahru. Initially, Kemudi Surfcraft was started after me and two of my mates, Rahman and Alif, established Kemudi Fin, a business where we produce fins for the surfboards. After one year in the fin-making business, we decided to expand the business to surfboard making. Therefore, I opted to chase my dream to learn the art of surfboard making. I discussed with my mates from Kemudi Fins to go to Australia and learn from the legendary shapers there. After one month, we return to Malaysia and officially established the Kemudi Surfcraft in 2016. Until today, we have run the Kemudi Surfcraft business for around 5 years.

2. Do you think that your business is been recognized by any other brand?

I am grateful that today our brand has been recognized by few local and international brands through our social media, Instagram. I am quite surprised when Vans Malaysia casually came and visited us at Kemudi Surfcraft studio last year. With a positive sight from Vans Malaysia, they make me felt recognized and appreciated for what I have been doing in surfing activities and surfboard making in Malaysia. It was a great pleasure to me.

3. What makes surfing interesting and where is your favorite spot for surfing?

For me, surfing is an interesting activity because we can get closer to nature. I feel like it is a good therapy for me when I can surf and connect with nature at the same time. It’s calm us with the very fresh environment. There are several local spots that I love to surf and one of them is, of course, Desaru. Another spot would be Cherating and Pulau Kapas.

4. Malaysia was known as a tropical country with monsoon season; besides Kemudi Surfcraft business, what is your routine when the season arrives?

Usually, during the monsoon season, I went to the beach and fill up my free time with surfing activities. For order and production of the surfboards, we will start during the off-season. The duration for making surfboards is different based on the type and number of orders.

5. What is the best type of surfing board that is suitable for beginners?

There are different types of surfboards for different levels of experience in surfing activity. For beginners, I will advise using the soft top surfboard because it is more convenient and safer to use. The hard-top surfboard is not recommended for beginners to avoid any injury during training in case the new learners fall into the water and hit the surfboard.

6. During the early pandemic of COVID-19, where there is tight SOP that we must comply with, people were restricted to travel and we can see there are businesses are forced to shut down due to financial issues, but how was your business doing at that time?

I think that we are not quite affected by the pandemic. In fact, our business has been doing greats in recent years. Last year, I do realize that the demand for the surfboard is getting higher in Malaysia. I am quite happy with the sustainability of Kemudi Surfcraft which going in a good direction. I am grateful for my business right now.

7. What do you think about people’s awareness and acceptance of surfing activities especially in Johor?

Back then, around 2003 or 2004, if we went to any beaches in Johor, we could see only few surfers in the water. But nowadays, if you come to most of the beaches in Johor during peak season or weekend, you can see there are lots of people who come to surf. The awareness and knowledge about surfing sports have been accepted by the community over the years.

8. How many surfboards that you have been produced until now?

We currently have been produced 45 surfboards and now in the making of 25 more surfboards for this season.

9. What is your target for the next 5 years?

My target for the upcoming years is to create more functional concept and design of surfboards, as well as to reach the best quality and high standard of finished products like how other great international surfboard makers have done. I hope there will be more people who appreciate and support the art of local handcraft surfboards.

In the next five years, I wish Kemudi Surfcraft being known and recognized by more surfers from local and international. Also, I wish to see a collaboration between Kemudi Surfcraft and local artist in producing our own creative and quality local surf essentials and supply.

10. Are there any words that you live by?

Do whatever you want and believe is best for you. Keep your focus and be passionate about what you’re doing. I am confident that if we have strong enthusiasm for what we are doing, we will be able to overcome any hurdle. So just stay focus on your goals, and you will achieve success.