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Everyone Has A Story: 1-DA shaper Gavin Upson



Shaper Stories

Earlier this year, Upson launched 1-DA Shapes Surfboards 

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 11 December, 2014 - The small-town boy chasing big dreams, Gavin Upson never gives up. Waitara born & bred, Upson took the bold move of relocating to Queensland in 1991 in pursuit of shaping surfboards for the world’s best. He now lives on Australia’s Gold Coast where he has shaped surfboards for world champions like Mick Fanning, Joel Parkinson, Andy Irons and Stephanie Gilmore.

“My first job in the surf industry was at Freezing Hot Surfboards. My heart was set on shaping but my boss always said he wouldn’t teach me to shape, that I’d need to go to Australia for that. So off I went. That was the best thing that happened to me.”

After discovering similar resistance to teaching him to shape in Australia, Upson taught himself and created Intense Surfboards. However his dream of shaping surfboards for the world’s best continued to elude him.

"So I shut my factory down and started working at DHD (Darren Handley Designs). DH kept me on hold for a while and made me sweep floors to see how keen I really was.”

It wasn’t long before Handley noticed true talent and quickly elevated Upson’s position to main ‘ghost’ shaper. Under the DHD label, Upson travelled the world and made surfboards for the world’s best surfers.
Upson has designed and shaped surfboards for 12 world-title winners, however out of respect for his former position at DHD, he is reluctant to expand on the details.

Earlier this year, Upson officially launched his own brand, 1-DA Shapes Surfboards, in his continuing pursuit of shaping boards for the world’s best.

“I will continue my passion for making surfboards to fulfil my dream … for a male and female pro surfer to be crowned World Champion again but this time under my own label. Enjoy the ride with me!”
The locals enjoyed testing out the boards and talking all things boards with Upson during his recent return to his Taranaki hometown earlier this year for a promotional tour in conjunction with BeachStreet Surf Shop.

“It was exciting to return to where my inspiration originated and share my passion with the locals. I really enjoy working closely with surfers so they get the best boards under their feet.”

Jamie ‘Chip’ Andrews recently acquired the iconic BeachStreet Surf Shop. Andrews explains “I’ve always been heavily involved in the surf industry. I’ve been surfing since I was 9 years old and I’ve been competing for over 25 years. I love all types of surf craft – short boards, long boards, SUPs, knee boards. It’s in my blood.

My memories of being a keen learner surfer inspire me to create a funky new vibe experience for our customers. I see the purchase of Beachstreet Surf Shop as a great opportunity to express my passion and give back to the community by supporting local talented surfers, encouraging community participation by organising surf comps and introducing fresh surf brands to the region. The most exciting new brand I’ve introduced is 1-DA Shapes. Super stoked to have Gav in town recently!”

Nikki Arnold

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