Stuart D'Arcy - D'Arcy Surfboards
When did you get your first surfboard?
My first surfboard was a KFC (or Kentucky Fried Chicken as it was known in those days) Coolite. It came with a bucket of chicken my Mum brought home for my 8th birthday and that was it. I was obsessed!
What do you love about surfing?
How many boards do you have in your garage?
I have over 90 boards in various garages actually. There’s so many boards I make that I just can’t sell. I still have some of the first boards I shaped and then I’ve kept certain milestone boards like some of the ones I shaped for Pottz during our Pottz Surfboards era and some World Champion winning boards of Layne Beachley’s I made for her and the list just goes on.
What is your go to board at the moment?
As we are in Spring here, we’re having lots of small waves and onshore conditions so I’ve been riding my Pirate Door model, 5’6 x 20 1/2 x 2 3/8 Lots of volume but totally high performance. For the better days I grab my Frequent Flyer 5’11 x 19 3/4 x 2 5/8 so I can fly down the line out the points.
What kind of education have you had?
Not much really...hahaha. As far as shaping goes there’s no formal teaching there but I’ve been lucky enough to have learnt in the presence of some Master Shapers over the years who have guided and influenced me deeply. The rest is a lot of trial and error basically.
How and when did you get into shaping?
Necessity. Back in the 70’s when I was a grom and I had grown out of my KFC Coolite I needed a new board but my parents couldn’t afford to buy me one so I found an old single fin on the kerb side throw out and dragged that back to the garage where I striped it down to the blank, reshaped it and then re-glassed it with help from my older sister’s boyfriend who used to shape boards in his laundry. I did that a few times until I surfed well enough to get ‘sponsored’ which included working in a surfboard factory to ‘earn’ your ‘free’ boards...haha. This taught me so much, not only about shaping surfboards but the whole process of running a successful factory. Many years later after endlessly traveling the globe I settled down with my wife and baby in Torquay, Victoria and decided to get serious and back into shaping boards and that’s what I’ve done ever since.
Why is the custom shaped board important to the evolution of an individuals surfing development?
Because everyone’s different. We all have unique characteristics, body structure and movement so a good shaper has the knowledge, after years of manipulating design, to create the perfect fit for each surfer.
Tell us a bit about D’Arcy Surfboards and what the brand is about.
We are old school, often to our own detriment but we believe in handmade, custom made, one on one customer relationships, quality, taking our time and surfing when we want to..!! All this when our industry is moving towards a mass produced, quick buck mentality.The art of shaping surfboards comes from many years experience in the shaping bay with a planer in hand, listening and learning from your mentors, making mistakes, shaping for World Champions and all types of surfers from every corner of the globe. I suppose you get what you pay for.
What do you love about your job?
Smiles. I love that what I can do with my hands makes everyone so happy. That’s a good feeling and keeps me stoked to shape and constantly evolve with my shaping.
Do you have any words of advice to anyone looking to get into the shaping industry?
Start at the bottom! It’s like The Karate Kid, ‘Wax On, Wax Off’ Every tool you use in the board making process and the method of using it is eventually utilised in the shaping bay. We all start with the broom! (If you haven’t seen the Karate Kid then check it out and it’ll all make sense)
Where can we find you online?
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