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A Shaper’s Point of View: Dan Cobley

DANC SurfboardsMy first encounter with Hermosa Beach shaper Dan Cobley took place on a remote section of beach just north of Popoyo, Nicaragua. At that time, I had no idea that he was the creator of the several DANC surfboards that were located in the boardrack occupying the center of the beach house. I simply knew him as the guy who razzed me for bringing my electric tooth-brush with me to a third world country when first witnessing my vibrating teeth cleaner. Over the next couple of days I had the privilege of seeing Dan ride his beautifully shaped longboard with a unique, ultra-smooth style, and was eventually made aware that it was his work I had quietly admired each time I went to grab my board from the rack.

Dan established DANC Surfboards in 1997 and has also shaped boards under the very well-known and respected Becker label. Having received guidance from a variety of shaping’s best, Dan combines the wisdom he has received with his own unique touch and style in every board he makes. Dan was kind enough to take some time out from underneath the dust to give us this, a shaper’s point of view -

5ones – When did you start shaping surfboards and what is it that made you decide to be a shaper?

Dan Cobley – I started shaping at 17 but it was just a joke really. Me and a buddy got a second blank where a small part of the nose was broken off and we massacred it pretty good. I don’t really remember the exacts of it but there was a lot of smoke and giggling involved, oh and cookies too. I really got into shaping a year or so after that when Dave Daum took me under his wing and crammed my head full of knowledge. He’s an engineer as is my own father and I understand their language. I enjoyed the puzzles and challenges that Dave put into shaping. He has a way of looking a surf board that’s a bit different then anyone else.

5ones – Who are some of your shaping influences and why?

Dan – Dave Daum because his board always work amazing. Phil Becker because he’s freakin’ nuts and has a work ethic like a beaver. Hap Jacobs cause he taught me not to over think things (Dave created a monster and over shaped boards work worse then undershaped ones). My biggest influences though are the guys riding my boards. You may notice that the above mentioned shapers are long board shapers and AT least 70% of the boards I make are short boards these days. I’ve learned and progressed as a short board shaper through the good graces and patience of my friends and team riders.

5ones – What would you say are some specific attributes unique to the method and style that you use to shape boards?

Dan – I use a power sander to band the rails… I do a lot of weird stuff in the shaping room, I sing to the boards, talk to them a little. Try and encourage them to be magical and stuff.

5ones – How has being a shaper influenced the way you surf, and how has your surfing influence the way you shape?

Dan – During the winter the boards get narrower. Flat and fat in the summer. It pisses off some of my team guys like when they come to me in June and ask for a gun for Puerto and I give them a fish, ha ha ha. Not to that extreme really, but there are definite changes in rail shapes and bottom contours between seasons. I feel my own surfing has been progressing the last few years but you will never know frustration in the water when one of your own creations ruins what should be a magic session in epic waves…

5ones – Describe your dream session and everything it involves. Location, wave size, crew, board, and anything else you would have be part of it.

Dan – 75 degree water, slightly overcast, 75 degree air temp, any 2 friends, and 6-8 foot chubes. No boats, no engines running, nobody else in the water. I like being almost alone and staying out as long as I feel like staying out, or getting out when I’m done and letting my friends surf as long as they want. In good barrels I don’t care what I’m on. If its a log and you’re getting stuffed while hangin ten, Sweet! If it’s a 6-1 and you can ride right on the freakin foam ball, SICK ASS!! If you’re on a fish and you have to ride way low right where the lip is hitting so you don’t get tossed over the falls.. getting groovy is freakin’ awesome!! It doesn’t matter what I’m riding as long as I’m in the water.

Dan Cobley

To find out more about getting a DANC Surfboard created for yourself, contact Dan at dancsurfboards@hotmail.com

Posted by Shaun on Wednesday, August 27th, 2008 in Surfing.

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