no difference between shapers.....?
Hell yes there is.
Some are good & some are really REALLY bad.
The difference between the two is their ability to actually stop what they're doing at the time, no matter how busy they are & talk to you. Not just nod their head & go yea yea yea I know what you want, but to fully grill you for all sorts of information.
For example (and I don't have any connection with the guy ok) ...Andy Jordan here in Mount Maunganui (Jordan Surfboards) is a good local shaper. I wandered in off the street one day, no appointment or phone call, he was busy but still stopped everything he was doing, dusted himself off & we chatted for about 10 mins before he even picked up the order form.
When he did I told him what I wanted & he took some notes, and by the way he was looking at me as we talked I could tell he was sussing out my build (to see if I was a strong paddler or not), he was just watching. After this time I looked at the order form & saw he'd jotted down notes about my shoulder width, he had my weight & height nailed almost exactly, he'd worked out the glass weight I'd need based on the above. And he'd calculated rocker as well.
He grilled me intently on the type of board I wanted & for what breaks locally. (I's after a fish for the gutless fun-mush waves of the Bay of Plenty area).
He then said, "ok, this is what you want.....but then he said, this is what will actually work for you ", and we went through this whole chat about realistic board volumes & thickness for small waves etc. , and we calculated something that would work...based on my desires & his knowledge of what actually works. Sort of a compromise.
I have now, the best surfboard I've ever owned, perfectly suited for the breaks intended. Perfectly suited for my height & weight...it's even perfect width wise for paddling. I cannot say enough good things about the whole experience. It was even ready three days before the agreed date.
That's a good shaper.