Curate U


Between the Glass

Matt and Joe Tatum have taken what they learned in the Navy and brought it to the waters off coastal Virginia, turning a passion for engineering and design into the business of surfboard shaping. That business has allowed them to give back, making their mission about more than just catching the perfect wave. See how their love of surfing is having a positive impact in this edition of Curate U.

AIRED: May 11, 2021 | 0:05:14

(light music)

- I realized in 2005

that I could probably do this for a living

and do something that I love and enjoy

and make a good product for other people.

I wanted to make great shapes for people.

Nothing excites me more

than someone coming back and saying,

"Hey, that's the best board I ever road."

Mainly it's because when they come back

and they're stoked and they're like, "Man, that was it.

That was the best board."

The feeling that you get from that and having somebody

with that type of excitement is just, it fuels me.

- My brother was a huge influence on my life.

He always been a hero of mine.

He's probably the main reason that I went to the Navy.

We've always done good together

and I enjoy being around my brother every day.

- I was in the Navy for 20 years.

I retired as a chief petty officer.

- I served for 21 years

and retired as a chief petty officer.

- As an air crewman, I flew in airplanes all the time.

I started taking all these principles that I learned

from 20 years of military aviation

and I started putting that into my surfboard.

And so, that led me to being able

to get a better finished product.

- The inspiration probably came

from 21 years of experience and composites

which are your epoxies, your fiberglass, your carbon fiber,

all of that different stuff on jets

it just rolled right over into this and was a real fit.

- I do either the shape itself and the cut.

I go upstairs and glass it

and then my little brother is the sander

and he puts in the leash plugs and the fin boxes.

If I started shaping, because I didn't necessarily

get what I wanted from the shapes that I had

and I didn't know how to express it

so I started doing the expression on foam.

- His passion for this industry

and for the art of surfboards in general is amazing.

Every day he lives surf boards.

- He understands me and how I glass

and that makes him a better sander.

People were telling me like,

"Hey man, you can't just make white boards.

You need to have a logo."

I went to my kids and I was like,

"Hey, we need a logo for the surf board."

My oldest daughter came up with the one, "40 Toes."

I was like, "What's "40 Toes," I don't get it?"

And she's like, "It's how many toes are in our family."

And I was like, "Oh, I get it, yes."

She made a logo out of sidewalk chalk and water.

And then me and my wife and my daughter stepped in that

and made the logo.

Continuing on with that logo

has really brought our family together

in the aspect that we designed this together

and it's still going

and it's something we've done as a family.

- Organization is Disabled Veteran Surf Club

and basically it's building a community of surfers

that help each other cope with different situations

and to spread ocean therapy to other veterans.

What we do is we take out a small group of veterans

and we go out and we introduce them to surfing.

It takes your mind off everything

and it brings you into community

of other like-minded individuals

who can help each other with their struggles.

The surf shop wanted me to come by and talk a little bit

about how they could help out with the organization.

He said, "You know, we wanna get together with you.

We wanna help you get some surfboards

to get more guys out in the water."

Well, shortly after that I meet Joe.

What he's doing now is he's gonna start a chapter

in Florida, in San Diego, Gulf Coast,

and also on the Texas Coast.

That's where I found my peace

and I wanted other veterans

to find that same peace that I found.

- The art comes in to what you take with that shape

and what you can do with it and how you can personalize it

to every individual that comes in.


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