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He's Off His Board Enough to Shape More


Cordell Miller shaped his first surfboard seven years ago. He had always wanted to make his own board, and after watching local shapers Mark McConnell and Ben Lotts make theirs, Miller, then a senior at Corona del Mar High, knew he could do it.

"I just decided I would like to make a board on my own," said Miller, 24. "As a surfer, I knew what I wanted in a board and so I gave it a shot."

Miller, who periodically competes on the Bud Surf Tour, has been surfing for 15 years. His last competitive event was the AirTouch Pro in Huntington Beach in July, and he'll compete in September at Trestles.

It didn't take long for others to notice Miller's handiwork, and he ended up selling his first board to a friend for $170.

"That was a good board and it lasted two years before it broke," Miller said. "By that time, friends started to call me, asking me if I could make them boards."

While Miller's surfboard business grew by word of mouth, the Costa Mesa surfer found himself engulfed in a business he was learning day by day.

When Miller asked Brad Lyle, also 24, to join him two years ago, Lyle jumped at the chance. They had surfed together since they were teenagers.

Lyle, a senior psychology major at UC Irvine, admits he hasn't a clue when it comes to shaping a board, but he takes part in the daily operation, from sales to accounting.

Lyle said Miller will produce about 1,200 boards this year. While that number pales in comparison to those of the larger manufacturers, Miller is happy with his output.

"I got into this because I wanted to shape boards for myself and my friends," he said. "I look at it as a way I can help them surf better. I like helping them."

Currently, such professional surfers as Dave Post of Newport Beach and Wyatt Simmons of Huntington Beach use Cordell Surfboards.

Miller said his boards, which include a lot of concave in their design, make the water run a little faster and provide a more rocky ride. He also makes longboards, but shortboards are the bulk of his business.

Though the business makes major demands on his time, Miller makes it a point to surf everyday.

"I get up, go surfing, then kiss my wife and go to work," Miller said. "I think it's essential to go out there and surf. It gives me an advantage in my business. I listen to the feedback. And when I'm out there pushing it with the kids, they have more respect for me and my designs."


Ryan Simmons of Seal Beach, who won a wild-card berth in the U.S. Open this month in Huntington Beach, appears to be on a roll, winning the Bud Surf Tour East Coast Surfing Championships at Virginia Beach, Va., last Sunday.

Simmons finished with 30.68 points, followed by Ron Hope of Melbourne Beach, Fla., (26.5) and Jason Borte of Virginia Beach (26.40).

Alisa Schwarzstein-Cairns of Laguna Beach won the Wahine women's event. Kim Hamrock of Huntington Beach finished fourth.


With world champion Kelly Slater's victory at the Rip Curl Pro in Hossegor, France, last Sunday, San Clemente's Shane Beschen has slipped further behind Slater in the World Championship Tour ratings.

Beschen, who's still second behind Slater on the World Tour, failed to advance to the quarterfinals after being defeated by former World Champion Damien Hardman of Australia in the fourth round.

Slater, who leads Beschen by 1,010 points, has been on a roll since his U.S. Open victory and had little trouble against Hardman in the finals. Slater has won five WCT event this year. With only four events left on the World Tour before the Pipe Masters in December, his lock on first place gets tighter.


The U.S. Mainland National Surf Team, which will compete in the World Surfing Games (Oct. 5-13) in Huntington Beach, has been announced. Troy Tecklenburg of Seal Beach will compete in the junior men's division. Hamrock is included in the women's division and San Clemente's Geoff Moysa will be the team's lone longboarder. Jeff Booth of Laguna Beach will join Steve Farwell of Costa Mesa as two of the team's seven coaches.

The World Surfing Games will feature 40 international teams. Olympic officials are expected to attend to help them determine if surfing should be included in the 2000 Summer Games in Sydney.


Karch Kiraly clinched his third Miller Lite Cup this season. That's nice, but it will hardly be the epitaph on his career.

For the last six years, Miller Brewing Company has awarded a total of $1 million in bonus money to the top 48 ranked players on the tour at the end of the season. The top-ranked player wins $125,000.

"It's a wonderful thing to win and it's a great accomplishment to win the Miller Lite Cup, but I don't think it's anything that special to win three because it has only been happening for six years," said Kiraly, who lives in San Clemente.

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