Matt Penn - Matt Penn Designs

When did you get your first surfboard?
I was about 7 when i got my first foamy but i think i was 9 when i got my first real surfboard , A 6'10" Rainbow single fin pin tail

What do you love about surfing?
Every aspect really from the act itself being such a personal one on one escape to always trying to better yourself right through to learning about your equipment and dialling that in and always learning new things it's never ending really . Also a connection to the water which I feel goes further than just surfing like going fishing which I love to do also that makes you feel a part of it.

How many surfboards to you have in your garage?
I have about 6 or 7 at any one time which are always mainly prototypes I am constantly working on to develop new models which is one of the great parts of the job and some sentimental boards that have brought some good results over the years from previous team riders and so on.

What is your go to board at the moment?
Probably a new model I am just about to release that I have been working on the last 8 months called the SKULLY. So much more generous in volume and width and a toned down rocker so just so easy to ride but with a lot of performance aspects that I have learned over the years with my development with pro surfers which is always hard to mix both together but really feel this is where current good board design is at plus I am surfing less now that I have 3 kids so it has forced me to re-evaluate designs for my customers change of needs and also keeping up with current trends.

What kind of education have you had? 
I went to year 12 but was far from academic, from then on I just went on a mission to learn all aspects of the craft from the ground up which you have to do off your own back as there is no formal training to become a shaper just the school of hard knocks which I am sure most other shapers would agree with.

What was your very first job?
I did landscaping 4 days a week and ding repairs the other day for 6 months then brushed the landscaping and opened my first little factory out the back of Dee Why.

What is your current job and what does it entail?
Firstly directing my own brand Matt Penn Designs so anything from designing to social media and customer service and also have ghost shaping contracts with some bigger brands to fill there orders.

How did you get into shaping?
It started from ding repairs then to glassing, fins , fillers etc… I was lucky enough to learn all the aspects of board building before I became a full time shaper which I think is so important to produce top end quality surfboards because you know exactly how it all works.

What do you love about your job?
Probably just being able to work on things on a daily basis which you are so passionate about and your love for surfing which a lot of people don't get to do in their day to day grind of work. Also travelling to new places and forming new relationships both on a business and personal level and of course riding your own creations.

Do you have any words of advice to anyone looking to get into the shaping industry?
Thats a hard one without sounding negative as I have seen so many guys come and go with good intensions but quickly give up. Its a tough game but if you stick it out long enough it can be very rewarding not so much in a monetary sense but more self rewarding. The only advice I could probably give is work hard and be humble and don't be in a rush to see your name up in lights so take the time to earn respect from your peers and the general public by not talking sh*t up but just hone your skills and let your boards do the talking.

Where can we find you online?



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Posted by: Matthew Ryan, on September 16, 2013
Categories: Interviews