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Australia’s Best 11 Surfboard Brands & Shapers

January 29, 2013 by jakethepeg in Buyers Guide, Surf boards with 0 Comments

So you’re in the market for a new ride, and thanks to our 16 tips about buying a surfboard article, you’ve worked out exactly what you’re looking for. The question now, is which shaper is going to make it for you?

Whether you buy a custom craft, or a deck straight off the shelf, here’s some of the best surfboard brands from across this fine land:

1. DHD – Darren Handley Designs

Found under the feet of multiple world champs and pros, Darren Handley is a Gold Coast shaper who creates the ultimate high performance short boards. But just because he’s got Mick Fanning, Steph Gilmore, Adriano de Souza, Mitch Coleborn and Ryan Hipwood on his team roster doesn’t mean you also have to be surfing at that calibre to ride his boards … but it does mean that DH has some of the best testers in the world to give him feedback on his designs. DHD’s are renowned for their ability in long, peeling point breaks, but with a team of young aerial masters also rocking DH’s rides, you’ll also be able to find a hi-po new-school stick for you to shred.

Found in Rip Curl stores around the world, as well as other top line surf shops, you can also order a semi-custom boards online or contact DHD for a full custom.

DHD Mick Fanning Series “Ducks Nuts” – the ultimate board for perfect, big waves.

2. JS Industries – Jason Stevenson

Another of Gold Coast’s shapers to the stars, JS Industries boards are championed by new World Champion, Joel Parkinson, as well as dual Junior World Champ, Jack Freestone and a whole swathe of pro rippers. Equally at home on the Goldy points, in the air above a punchy beach break, or deep inside Pipeline’s Backdoor, JS prides himself on the versatility of the range of his boards. And with 29 different types of boards on offer, you’ll have no trouble filling your quiver with JS’s for every kind of wave condition and surfing style.

You can buy JS Industries boards in premium surf shops around the world. Find your closest dealer here.

3. Firewire

Master shaper Nev Hyman first revolutionised surfboard construction with his machine-shaped cores, parabolic balsa rails and high-density aerospace composite top and bottom decks, and his Firewire brand has become one of the top sellers in America each year. Lighter and stronger than traditional polyurethane foam and fibreglass surfboards, Firewire offers all sorts of high-tech construction without compromising the ride. Taj Burrow was one of the first to switch over to Firewire, and Sally Fitzgibbons has just joined the team. With a massive range of long boards, fun boards and performance short boards, you can find your ideal ride straight off the shelf, or order a custom shape from “designer” Nev to be made in Firewire’s Thailand factory.

Want to design your own board? Firewire’s Custom Board Design is the best way to do just that.

4. Hayden Shapes

A shaper on the rise, Hayden Cox has become one of NSW’s most prominent board makers and his designs are found under the feet of style maestro Craig Anderson. Based out of Sydney’s Northern Beaches, Hayden patented his FutureFlex (formerly FiberFlex) parabolic carbon fibre rail and expanded polystyrene (EPS) core construction technology. Combining hi-fi with something a little out of the ordinary, Hayden Shapes are always innovative and cutting edge.

5. Chilli Surfboards

Another Sydney-based shaper pushing the performance levels of surfboards, Jamie Cheal’s Chilli Surfboards are the favourites of some of North Narrabeen’s finest, like Laura Enever as well as Port Mac’s Matt Banting. Andy Irons famously rode Chillis on his way to his 2004 World Title, and if you’re looking for a high performance ripper, or an everyday all-rounder, Jamie Cheal at Chilli Surfboards has got you covered.

6. MR – Mark Richards

Newcastle’s favourite son, Mark Richards, revolutionised pro surfing with his speedy, manoeuvrable twin-fins and won four consecutive World Championships on the boards that he shaped for himself. MR’s boards are still the most popular make you’ll see ‘round the Central Coast, and no matter your level of surfing ability, his “low output, high quality” business philosophy means that purchasing an MR will not only improve your surfing, but give you a board you will cherish for life.

Recently closing his famous Newcastle shop, you can purchase a remake of a famous retro MR, a modern twin, thruster, longboard or custom online.

And take a look at MR’s personal blog where he talks about his most famous boards and contests:

7. Simon – Simon Anderson

Perhaps the most famous pro-surfer/shaper, in 1980 Simon Anderson introduced the world to “The Thruster” tri-fin setup and his surfing went from strength to strength in waves across California, Hawaii and to the top the 1981 Bells podium … and the surfing world quickly caught on, making Thruster fin set-ups the most popular for the last 30-plus years. Simon boards are a particular favourite of many Victorian Surf Coasters, and are sought around the world for their rideabilty and reliability, and Simon says you can expect his boards “to have good hold, good speed, a level of friskiness with a blend of solid feel and good contact with the water through turns in the critical part of the wave.”

Pick up a Simon at Quiksilver stores around the world and premium retailers, or order a custom on their online store.

8. Channel Islands – Al Merrick

Kelly, Dane, Machado, and a team of exceptional surfers too long to mention all trust Al Merrick’s Channel Islands surfboards to provide the ultimate ride in every type of condition. From Reynolds-inspired fun boards, to Slater-style pro-model rockets and Jaws-taming big wave guns, the demands of the world’s greatest surfers result in designs for the highest performance possible. “To provide the most dedicated surfers with the most advanced, performance designs is my passion,” says Santa Barbara-based Al Merrick.

Buy Australian-shaped Channel Islands boards at premium surf shops around the country or order online.

9. … Lost Surfboards – Mayhem

The go-to shaper for Southern Californian surfers, Matt “Mayhem” Biolos has been a leader of the shorter, wider, more volume trend in performance short boards. Mick Fanning rode one of Kolohe Andino’s Mayhems at Trestles in 2011 and changed his whole range of DHD’s afterwards, and Mayhem’s boards revolutionised Taj Burrow’s 2012. If you’re looking for an aerial weapon to take to the skies and shred the open face, Mayhem’s your man.

Find …Lost Enterprises Mayhems at premium surf shops, order customs online, and hit Matt Biolos up for advice on his blog.

10. Rusty

Created by legendary San Diegan shaper Rusty Preisendorfer, during the 80’s half the pro surfers in the top 16 were rocking the big “R-dot” logo on their boards, including one young Mr Mark Occhilupo. In 1985 Preisendorfer travelled to WA to shape some boards and set up the Australian Rusty licensee, who now runs the worldwide clothing arm of Rusty and their own range of innovative, hi-fi surfboards. With Josh Kerr leading the way, backed by Jay Davies and Noa Deane, you know that Rusty has a board for you.

Buy Rusty online or at premium surf stores around Australia.

11. DMS – Dan MacDonald Shapes

Kiwi-born, Gold Coast-based Dan MacDonald has built a reputation for constructing finely-tuned high performance short boards, with his patented carbon wrap flex pattern, as well as iconic fun boards and retro shapes. Dan is “constantly delving into surfboard history while forging its future through experimentation and design.” So get on board.

Order customs and in-stock boards online.

To browse the largest range of off-the-rack surfboards in Australia check out our surfboard price comparison tool.

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