We all know POTTZ surfboards, but few people know the shaper behind it: Stuart D’Arcy – here he is!
Who are you? Where are you living/surfing/shaping?
Stuart D’Arcy, Snapper Rocks, QLD, Snapper/D’Bah, Gold Coast/Sydney/Japan
When and how did you start surfing?
8 Years old, a friends older brother inspired us as kids. I grew up in Kurnell on the beach and it was something to do at the time other than fishing.
When and how did you start shaping?
When we were kids, surfboards were unaffordable so we used to find old surfboards, strip them down and re-shape them under the guidance of my mates older brother.
Do you remember the first board you shaped? How was it?
The first board I shaped from a raw blank in 1988 in Torquay, Victoria was overshaped to a 6’1-19 1/4-2 1/2 rounded square tail thruster under the guidance of Steve Friedman of Friedman Flyers at Strapper Surfboards where I was working as a sprayer. It went so good, it turned heads and started getting me orders.
© Cronulla Surf Museum
Which surfer had the biggest impact on your shaping?
It would have to be Martin Potter. We were friends ever since his first visit to Australia when he was 15 and it was the first time I’d seen anyone do an air. He was riding boards (Glen Minami shapes) that inspired me to think outside the box when it came to my surfing and equipment.
Which is the best board you have ever shaped back in the days? Who for?
The best board I ever shaped was for Pottz and was a 7’10 -19 1/4-2 5/8 bum tail gun. He won the only contest he ever won in Hawaii (The Hard Rock Sunset Pro in 10-12 foot Sunset) on that board.
Which was the most important era for you?
The 90’s. It was the biggest change in surfboard design and performance and I was lucky enough to be at the forefront of that era. Right at the start of the 90’s, Pottz and I collaborated to form POTTZ surfboards which went on to be one of the leading high performance surfboard brands in the world at the time… and all that before machines came along!!
Who is your favorite surfer from the 60’s-90’s and why?
In the late 70’s it was Cheyne Horan because he typified the change in surfing style, aggressive flow and then later in the 80’s it was Martin Potter because he took it one step further and took it to the air. Just blew my mind what could be done on the right surfboard.
Who is your favorite shaper from the 60’s-90’s and why?
It would have to be Terry Bishop, he was my shaper when I rode for Gordon & Smith (late 70’s to early 80’s). He taught me how a slight change in shape would improve my surfing and the importance of the shaper/surfer relationship.
Only time and experience makes a good shaper. I’ve been shaping for 30 years and over 30.000 boards and I am still learning.