My name is Federico Ponsa and I created Yugen Surfboards to build 100% custom surfboards exactly the way you wanted. That’s what I always wanted for myself and I want you to experience the same. I always loved the ocean, that place for me is like home. If I could put a word to it would be gratitude. To understand the reason why I do this, you have to know that growing up I lived 400km away from the ocean but every summer my family and I would get a 2 week holiday at the beach.
I’d spend all of those days at the surf from the moment we arrived at the beach until my parents would call me in to go home. I had a bodyboard since my parents thought it was too dangerous for me to use a surfboard. However since I was 8 years old, I watched how a surfboard was built on TV and I thought: that’s something that would be really cool to do! I loved straight away. Life went on and I got busy with school and friends inland where surfing wasn’t a big deal. I finish high school as an aeronautical technician and went on to uni to study mechanical engineering while working full time at different manufacturing sites and then engineering jobs. I went to uni for 5 years but something wasn’t right I didn’t feel like the place for me until one summer I got gifted an old surfboard from one of my mates. All of a sudden the passion came back and I wanted to build a surfboard for myself since that one was too small for me and was really hard to use. I started researching and finding materials in Argentina was really hard and expensive however I managed to find a surfboard factory where I could figure this surfboard building thing out. I tried for 2 years but still didn’t see it the way that I wanted.
Argentina’s economic situation wasn’t great, so my girlfriend and I decided to travel to get away from the noise and have a break. We decided to take a year off and try a working holiday experience. I did the research and found that Australia has one of the biggest surfboard industries in the world. So I figured that could be a great destination for us to travel and learn about board building.
We came here in 2014 and loved the place. I got a few jobs at factories learning as much as I could. Life felt amazing until my body started not working very well. I’d wake up in the mornings with tingling and a numb foot. This build up to a point where I couldn’t walk and needed a surgery. Not being able to work or surf and not making any money made me question if I should stay or go back home to a “safer” life. I had the surgery and started recovering but then the quality of my work was not up to the standard, it was really hard for me. I was failing really bad until the point of seriously wanting to quit. I took some time to think about it and thought this is not for me, I can’t do this. I decided to give myself one more shot. If I could do it well at least for one day then that would give me more courage to keep at it. That day I went into the factory and did the best job I could. It turned out the best boards that I built up to that point and I was frothing. I could not believe myself. Right there is where I decided to make this for the rest of my life.
I created Yugen surfboards and started building 100% custom boards for surfers combining all my knowledge in design, computers, and manufacturing to give them exactly the board that they wanted. Yugen to me is what surfing is all about, the potentiality of the journey, the mysteriousness and deepness of the surfboard design and all of its details, how it will go on the waves is a feeling that only you can experience.