After a year on the North Shore, Don traveled back to California and started Hansen Surfboards, that was in 1961. The demand for Hansen surfboards was just exploding and so he could establish his shop successfully and sponsor some of the most progressive surfers like Mike Doyle, John Peck, Rusty Miller, Linda Benson and Margo Godfrey. He also shaped most popular Hansen models including the 50-50, the Competitor, the Classic and the Superlight.
Who are you? Where are you living/surfing/shaping?
Don Hansen, I live half the year in Big Sky, Montana and the other half of the year in Cardiff, CA. I am 86 now and have not surfed in a number of years. Shaping surfboards was a part of my younger life and during the first few years after starting Hansen Surfboards. I eventually left the shaping to other guys and focused on running a business which I have done for over 60 years now.
When and how did you start surfing?
I started surfing in the late 50s. I had roommates in college from Coronado who told me about surfing. I eventually traveled out to Southern California and surfed for the first time. Needless to say I fell in love with the ocean.
When and how did you start shaping?
Jack O’Neill showed me the ropes, but back then you kind of learned by trial and error.
Do you remember the first board you shaped? How was it?
Not really. I am sure it was not very good.
Which surfer had the biggest impact on your shaping?
Jack O’Neill and Hobie Alter.
Which is the best board you have ever shaped back in the days? Who for?
The 50/50 was probably my most famous surfboard. Mike Doyle rode this surfboard, but I am not sure if I would have shaped it. Hansen Surfboards was big enough at that time to have a handful of shapers.
Which was the most important era for you?
1960s during the longboard craze. We shaped about 6000 surfboards one year.
Who is your favorite surfer from the 60’s-90’s and why?
Mike Doyle. He was a great guy and really helped Hansen’s as a brand.
Finding surfing was such a blessing for me considering I was born and raised in South Dakota. Making a living and continuing to have a business in surfing has been a real dream coming true.
Address: 1105 S Coast Hwy 101, Encinitas, CA 92024, USA