Inside a 14-by-eight-foot room that’s part wood shop, part garage, Vecchione—clad in a T-shirt and board shorts, with bronze skin and a few grey hairs—hovers over a faceless board and flares a sand screen across its face. There’s nothing gentle about the movement—a grating whiisshhh fills the eardrums, and dust kicks up and collects in anthill-sized piles on the floor. He turns the board on its side and sculpts its rails, tapering hard edges into smooth curves. A pair of fluorescent light bulbs mounted at waist height amplifies the shadows cast by nicks and bumps, imperfections that Vecchione buffs from existence.
In the 12 years since Vecchione first learned to shape a surfboard on the island of Kauai, his handiwork has found its way into oceans around the world. Some of his boards have been under the feet of the best surfers in the sport. Some of them are stacked inside his new Vec Surfboards headquarters on Route 6A in Orleans. The 39-year-old Vecchione is a New England surfboard shaper with a Hawaiian’s acumen. And, he says, it’s good to have brought his abilities back where he was born.