Getting a sleek, high-performance surfboard off the rack from brand-name shapers like Al Merrick and Rusty Preisendorfer can make you look cool on the sand but not necessarily on a wave. Those boards require the light-footed skills found on the pro tour. Guys and girls who don't have yoga bodies and a lifetime on the water shouldn't go near these blades (yet, they do…). The way to avoid looking like an oaf is to go custom. Venice's Guy Okazaki can size you up — height, weight and skill level included — to shape a board that will work well for you. Because Okazaki is a Venice shaper, his boards are at home at area beach breaks, the most-common waves locally. So, while a Channel Islands board will work great if you're Kelly Slater in Fiji, it might not be right for Joe Sixpack at three-foot El Puerto. Okazaki's work has been seen under the arms of some Southern California's best riders. Otis Chandler even rode “Guy O,” as locals call him. You can get a custom Okazaki board, with your name sketched on it, for less than the price of an off-the-rack performance board from Merrick or Preisendorfer. Guy Okazaki retailers: Ocean Echo, 23 Washington Blvd., Venice. (310) 823-5850. Also at Horizons West, 2011 Main St., Santa Monica. (310) 392-1122. Guy Okazaki direct: (310) 823-3359,

—Dennis Romero

Advertising disclosure: We may receive compensation for some of the links in our stories. Thank you for supporting LA Weekly and our advertisers.