Tad Ciastula started shaping boards with fellow British Hovercraft Corporation (B.H.C.) apprentice Dougie Clarke, spending their spare time out in the old tin shed at the training centre near Osborne House designing and shaping a knee board like the one George Greenough rides in Crystal Voyager with a scooped deck.
Surfing became a big part of Tad’s life and he soon went onto to travel Europe, South America (Venezuela) and the Caribbean with his wife Sue surfing and shaping where he went. By the late 1970’s Tad had moved to Cornwall and had started Vitamin Sea Surfboards.
A 1979 shot of Tad Ciastula of Vitamin Sea with kneeboard and single fin moulded boards
Teaming up with legendary surfer/shaper Chris Jones, they made some great twin fins during the early 80’s under Tads label Vitamin Sea and under licence for Mark Richards and Cheyne Horan.
Vitamin Sea imported their blanks from Clark foam in the US and used Californian fin control systems. At the time there was a strong tie between the British and Australian surf scenes. Especially as Tad and CJ were making Aussie’s Mark Richards and Cheyne Horan designs under licence. Cheyne signed a deal with Vitamin Sea while he was over competing at Fistral. Most of them were toned down versions of Cheyne’s boards, twin fins with a few single fins and a few more extreme lazor zap shapes.
Below is a shot taken around 1984/5 of Spencer Hargreaves far left with Lazor zap inspired Vitamin Sea
Above is an advert from Wavelength magazine and photo by Tad’s wife Sue Ciastula of the Vitamin Sea Team. Tad Ciastula (The Guv) and shaper, Chops Lascelles shaper (Chops sadly passed away earlier this month), Martin Wright Laminator and polisher, Andy Cranston Air brush artist and sander and CJ (Chris Jones) shaper.
By the mid 1980’s Tad Ciastula was a very highly respected shaper worldwide. In 1985 Wavelength magazine had a feature to build the “Modern Professional Surfboard”. The board was to be shaped at Vitamin Sea by Tad, airbrushed at Boardwalk and laminated at Ocean Magic. The board would then become first prize in a Junior Competition.
Here are some images taken at the Wavelength Studio of Tad shaping the board. First power planing in the bottom curve, once satisfied with the ‘Rocker’ he marks out the outline plan shape from a template and cuts out. He then puts the required amount of cure into the deck to complete the ‘Rocker’. The rails are then rough finished and once the deck has been blocked with a sanding block the rails are finally screened and the blank is ready for its next stage.
Here is a great image of Tad taken by Alex Williams shaping a new Vitamin Sea
Tad spent many years shaping in Newquay before moving to Wittering and then onto Fuerteventura shaping for the No Work Team.
Tad is still in the board business working as a Senior Technical Consultant in board production world wide. All boards are now designed on computer and he is doing quite a lot of designs for different companies in surfboards, kite boards and wake boards. Tad lives in Tarifa, Spain but travels between Thailand and Spain on a monthly basis as he is running a brand new factory in Thailand.