Tommy Wayaba Janssen | The Gentle Perfectionist from ScheveningenMartijn Ronday
Tommy Janssen, a.k.a. Wayaba, is the newest member of the I Love Surfing team. You might know him from his blog about how to find your magic board, but I got to know Tommy in a very different way. When I first moved to Scheveningen to live with my girlfriend, I came from the city and almost didn’t know anyone. That changed quickly when I started working at a local surf shop for a couple of days a week. I got to know a few locals, but it wasn’t until I met Tommy, that I found a new surf buddy in these unfamiliar waters. Through a couple of surf session, in which some of them I almost ran him over, and an epic surf mission to Brittany, we got to know each other better and became friends.
Tommy stands about 6’2″ tall but is lean and fit. One thing I noticed quickly is that, despite his height, he surfs pretty good on quite short boards, usually under 5’9″ and smaller. A few of his better looking boards in his quiver have a ‘Wayaba’, logo on them. I ask Tommy about the meaning of the word. He explains that it comes from the Papiamento language of Aruba, an island that’s part of the Dutch Antilles. Tommy is originally from Aruba so that makes sense. There is no literal translation of the word, because it’s more a feeling and it has to do with how you pronounce it. However, most of the times alcohol is involved (as far as I know). In some cases wayaba could simply mean feeling a bit groggy, but for example if someone asks you how last night was and you go like wA…yA….baaaaaaaa, it was one hell of a party.
Okay, so now we know what it means, but why do you have that logo on the boards you’re surfing? “Well that’s because I made them”, Tommy replies. This is typically Tommy, here we are hanging out for months and all of the sudden a revelation that the man shapes his own boards. Even more so, he shapes boards for others as well. What a legend. So modest about his work. It leaves me impressed. Come to think of it though,this only explains what it means and it still leaves me wondering why Tommy chose this as a brand name. To be honest the man is a bit secretive about it. So let’s invite him to tell it himself in his special about fins.
Recently, Tommy and I went on a little photo shoot for a local board shaping competition. This was a good opportunity to get formally introduced with the Wayaba quiver. I work at a surf shop for a couple of years now so I know a thing or two about surfboards. The first thing I notice are the outlines of the boards. All of the boards look very surfable but you can see the evolution is his boards. I see more ‘old school’ short boards which are narrow and have quite some rocker. His newer boards are rounder and flatter, like you see more often these days. From up close I see Tommy’s personality in the details. Everything makes sense. Rail lines are shaped to perfection. Fins are straight. The artwork is divers and feels personal. Some boards are pretty old, which also tells me they are of a good quality.
The most impressed I am with his 9’3″ log. Not only are the graphics amazing, but the board surfs phenomenal. A big, also hand shaped, hatchet fin stands tall and keeps the board in line while I stand on the nose. Not for long though, because I’m no noseriding champ. Still like with all of his boards you can tell that Tommy puts a lot of attention to his work. And luckily for us he decided to devote more time on shaping boards. Recently I visited him at a local shaping room to check out his latest work.
By now he’s almost finished with these three boards. I am keen to see the end result. If you get the chance find Tommy on Instagram. Starting today he also offers the opportunity to custom order boards. Just get in touch if you want more information about the possibilities.
We hope to see much more of Tommy in the future. But for now from all of the crew: “Welcome Tommy!”