I'm a second generation surfboard maker from Copacabana, Central Coast, New South Wales, Australia. I grew up in a family of surfboard makers which included my father, uncle, brother, cousin, and sometimes my sister. Some of my early memories are of shaping little surfboards out of the foam off cuts left on Dad’s workshop floor.
Straight out of high school, I went into the family business learning the ropes under my Dad’s watchful eye. At 24 I moved to the Gold Coast, Australia’s mecca for surfboard making. There I plied my trade for 5 years picking up trade secrets from a whole bunch of the Gold Coast’s best shapers including DHD and Simon Anderson.
Byron Bay was my next port of call, and for two years I worked with Emery Surfboards. It was in Byron that I met an Irish girl who would turn my life upside down, not only agreeing to be my wife and mother to our two beautiful kids, but also the inspiration to move back to my hometown and start a surfboard glassing factory and my own label, Luke Underwood Creations. I am proud of the fact that Chilli Surfboards and Lost, two of a long list of surfboard shapers, trusted in my services.
Even though life in Australia was great the call of the Emerald Isle and family was to strong for my wife. So, in 2015 we packed up our lives in suitcases, jumped on a plane, and headed for the Wild Atlantic Way.
I grew up making surfboards in an age where the quality of your work was the most important thing. Before the days of mass production, a surfboard maker would build a surfboard from start to finish. They would do the everthing, shape, glass, sand, and even the artwork. Coming to Ireland gave me a chance to once again be that all round custom surfboard maker.
As soon as I arrived with my Australian boards, I knew things had to change in both my shapes and glassing, to suit the heavier Irish waves. The glassing side was a big eye opener for me. Since cold water is heavier than warmer water, which I found out at Crab Island snapping a new board on a 3ft wave, lapping over both top layers of glass has become a must for every board to deal with the power of the Atlantic ocean. These are just some of the standards you will find at our surfboard factory in Ennistymon, The Board Locker - in County Clare.
As far as my shapes and surfboards go, I've always built my boards to get up as much speed as possible. I believe that if you're going as fast as you can, you can do whatever your heart desires on a wave. Early entry into waves and the proper paddle power to suit each surfer is a big thing for me because if you're not catching waves you're not having fun!
Thank you to my amazing wife who typed this out for me, twice.