Hands On Deck

Give a man a fish, and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and, if that man is Dave Shoemaker, he will proceed to build a 29’ fishing boat with his own two hands.

When the opportunity arose for artist, craftsman and spear fisherman Dave Shoemaker to trade in his old fishing boat for a newer model, he grew intrigued by the idea of building a boat rather than purchasing one. At a point in his life when he was trying to simplify and scale back his growing dependence on modern amenities, Dave welcomed the notion of returning to the hands-on roots of his seafaring forefathers.

As we well know, simplifying is not easy. When Simple was conceived, we struggled to convince people that the time had come to move away from the bright, loud, over-the-top attitude of the ‘80s. Eventually, though, our voice was heard, and the concept caught on, to say the least.

Still striving for simplicity, Dave has been working almost completely independently on his boat for the past couple of years, and he still has a fair amount of work ahead of him. But, in a way, the inherent labor intensity of building his own boat by hand attracted Dave to this endeavor in the first place.

Like spearfishing, building a boat is an incredibly intimate experience. Just as the spear fisherman must get in the water with the fish and anticipate the natural movements of his prey, the craftsman must understand the natural flow of the sea and how the shape of his boat will interact with the water. From sourcing the wood for the hull to spearing tuna 90 miles offshore, vessel, water, fish and man all become linked. A simple connection not easily realized.