Handmade in O.C.: Dan Taylor Surfboards

After 40 years of shaping, the local legend still loves what he does—taking a slab of foam and turning it into the ultimate wave-riding machine.

Q: How’d you get started?
A: I grew up surfing, and boards were expensive for me. So I made my own board in the seventh grade. It came out really well, and I started making them for my friends.

Q: Do you really shape every board yourself?
A: Right now it’s just me. I make 50, 60 boards a month in my Costa Mesa shop. Mostly custom orders.

Q: What’s the custom-ordering process?
A: I ask a lot of questions. What’s their height and weight? How long have they been surfing? Where do they go? What kind of waves are they riding? Based on that information, I can figure out exactly how to shape the board so that it fits the surfer as well as the conditions.

Q: What makes your boards stand out?
A: Two things that set me apart are the quality of my boards, and the shapes I create. Every shaper’s boards are unique, and in 40 years I’ve really perfected mine to know what works and what doesn’t. Nowadays, some people, mostly kooks, are getting their boards from overseas companies that churn them out. It’s not right. I know they’re cheap, but the quality’s not there. When customers order custom boards from me, they wait eagerly for them. And they cry when they get their first ding.


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