Monster props and big love to winner Juan Rodriguez and the crew of fine craftsmen who participated in the First Annual Florida Shape-Off, sponsored by Paul Eaton and Ice-Nine Foam Works. With only two hours in Ricky Carroll’s portable, formidable shaping bay, the competitors weathered stiff competition as they strived to successfully replicate the signature 9-6 Robert Strickland Con Rail Model. Then the clock tolled, the judges deliberated, and legendary wavemeister Greg Noll called for Rodriguez to step up and claim his prize. But he had vanished!

Or so it seemed. “When ‘Da Bull’ announced the results,” Rodriguez said, “I was sure that it was a joke.” The surprised victor has been shaping boards for nearly forty years, and has heard it all. When the truth finally kicked in, Rodriguez made a dramatic walk to the podium, strolling down the red carpet with a celebratory beer in each hand – appropriately drinking foam.

Ice-Nine Foam Works supplied each of the six selected craftsmen with a 10-3 blank made from its proprietary MDI polyurethane CANE formula. Accomplished stickmen Tom Neilson, Stu Sharpe, Bill Eberwein, George Robinson and Dave “Davo” Dedrick joined Rodriguez in the competition.

“With only two hours to work on this shape, each of us really had to focus on the job at hand,” said Rodriguez, who was contest-garbed for full effect, with a head-to-toe white “race-shaping suit” which he had custom-made with logos to honor the special event. “I didn’t know it was a shape-off—I thought it was a shaping race,” he joked.

For judges Ricky Carroll, Skip Savage and Bud Gardner, the task at hand was also daunting. “The time given for this RS board made the job very difficult,” Carroll said, “and everyone did a great job.” Carroll won first prize at the original Tribute to the Masters Shape-off in October in Del Mar.

In the end, the Rodriguez profile stood out from the noteworthy contenders.

“I’d like to thank Ice-Nine for providing the blanks,” said the gold-star shaper when he accepted the winning trophy. “The consistency of the foam was everything I could ask for, and the blank shaped easy in the final finish.”

The winning board will be displayed at the Cocoa Beach Surf Museum, and the others will be donated to local charities.

The original Tribute to the Masters Shape-off was conceived by Chris Christenson and is held each year at Scott Bass’ Sacred Craft Consumer Surfboard Expo.

For more information on Ice-Nine Foam Works, please visit the Ice Nine website.