Matt Calvani’s first job in the industry was apprentice to Tom Stanton, a well-known South Bay shaper and airbrusher. After learning and mastering the art of airbrushing, he became interested in board building. In 1988, Wayne Rich gave Calvani his first blank to shape. Though he continued to make his living at airbrushing, Calvani began to hone his skills as a surfboard shaper.

Eventually, he moved his airbrushing business to Shoreline Glassing (Hermosa Beach, CA) and was offered a job by Hap Jacobs to do some rough-shaping on the side. Jacobs was so pleased with Calvani’s work that he hired him on as a part-time shaper. Calvani shaped foam and balsa boards for Jacobs. Dennis Jarvis of Spyder Surfboards noticed Calvani’s talent and brought him on a job shaping for the likes of Tom Curren, Shane Dorian and others.

In 1993, Calvani was offered a full-time shaping position at Becker Surfboards as Phil Becker’s main production shaper. While shaping for Becker, Calvani created an impressive shortboard quiver for the likes of Greg Browning, Geoff Moysa, Pascal Stansfield and others. He was hand-shaping more than 25 shortboards a week in addition to longboards and mid-ranges. During this entire time, he continued to shape Jacobs and then Lance Carson and Rick Surfboards. His talent and passion for shaping traditional longboards became well-known.

In 2000, Dan Bendicksen, head shaper for Bing Surfboards in the late ’60s, introduced Calvani to Bing Copeland and Mike Eaton. This introduction paved the way for Calvani to inherit Bing Surfboards. In 2003, Calvani set up shop alongside Tyler Hatzikian of Tyler Surfboards. The two worked together for almost one year, but when Jacobs decided to retire in 2004, he asked Calvani to take over Jacobs Surfboards. Calvani jumped at the chance. Having considered Jacobs a mentor and having worked with him for so many years, Calvani was eager to continue the legacy and tradition of Jacobs surfboards.

Since Calvani has taken over the Jacobs label, he has moved his shaping bay back to Shoreline Glassing where Jacobs was located for many years. Calvani continues to shape exclusively for Jacobs, Bing and Rick Surfboards today.