(Monday) 11.22.10

Life Is Just Swell, Isn’t It?

Profile: Almond Surfing Boards

As the old style resurrection continuously grows throughout Orange County and more youngsters in the lineup adopt this single fin mentality, a handful of surfboard builders are proudly equipping these kids with the essential traditional gear.

Dave Allee proudly sits before all of his hard work in tangible form

Dave Allee, 24, and his crew of eccentric, throwback enthusiasts of Newport Beach are remarkably doing just that. Quaintly tucked away on the corner of Old Newport and Hospital road grows an indigenous, free spirited entity that proudly refers to itself as Almond Surfing Boards.

“We’re a collaboration of friends who enjoy making things the old fashioned way. That’s really all it is,” states Allee.

This avant-garde group of true individuals respectfully makes their way through the once forgotten longboard scene. Allee admires authenticity and his work reflects that.

He states, “I want to hit on the whole lifestyle.”

Five years ago, Dave vigorously chipped away at a couple of rotten, 10 foot, balsa wood blanks he’d ordered online, trying to salvage whatever he could to begin his first project. “Some of it was nice and white, and some of it was like green and brown.”

After about a year of hard work, Allee had accomplished his goal. He states, “Out of 2, 10 foot blanks, I was able to make one 6’5” single fin ‘thing’.”

Upon completion of “the most difficult shaping project I could have possibly taken on”, he’d found his calling.  And, I feel like I’d be selling these guys short without properly painting an accurate picture regarding the squad that adorns Almond surfboards. They’re a tight knit group of characters, to say the least, all with their own specific trade and creative contribution (Along with the fact that they all rip).

From the Magnificent Gully, a 14 year old “wood-working prodigy”, who masterfully foils each and every one of Almond’s fins, to the soldiers on the front lines, Nathan Adams, Aaron Cervantes, and Cyrus Sutton, peacefully going to work in the water with ninja-like prowess. As well as tactfully arming themselves with the skilled photographic eyes of Cam Oden and Kyle Lightner.  There’s Griffin Neumann-Kyle who collaborates with Allee on each and every one of the boards that get built under the Almond label, and they even credit Neumann-Kyle’s help for springing Almond loose out of Dave’s backyard.


They got the legendary Greg Martz and his crew at The Waterman’s Guild glassing each board, and a handful of talented cronies, like shop operator/board tester, Taylor Allee and art guru, Theo Harrington. Each of these imaginative individuals plays a vital role in the success of Almond Surfing Boards. They’re more like a family than anything. A loyal tribe.

Almond soul.

“I’m still adamant that I didn’t want it to be like a ‘company’,” says Allee. With that said, I think he hits the nail on the head with unequivocal precision.

“It’s our way to completely express the creative things, whether it be photos or t-shirt design or whatever…you can just run wild with it. Everybody brings something to the table,” states Allee.

Hawaii’s got the “Aloha” spirit and Costa Rica’s got “Pura Vida”. I think someone needs to come up with a word for Orange County… with these guys in mind.  They epitomize the style that they’re after, and they tackle it wholeheartedly.

“We all do this because this is something we love. This isn’t a lucrative business. I was making more money when I was 19, doing graphic design. There are plenty of other things that any of us could be doing with our time. But, it’s fun and we’re passionate about it,” states Allee.

‘Nuff said. Keep up the good work fellas.

Check out the shop located at 367 old Newport Blvd, or take a stroll through lifeisjustswell.com, and definitely make sure to take a gander at the teaser for their upcoming video here.

  • Kathie

    Great story. With the huge companies taking over the industy, it’s wonderful to know that someone values true craftsmanship and follows their passion. With that in mind, you can’t help but be a success.

  • Larry

    I started surfing OC in the early 60′s and went through the transition of longboards to shortboards. Went back to surfing longboards in the late 70′s and stayed there. Dave and the Very Talented Almond Crew truly have the spirit with great attitude and make very classic longboards.

  • cj

    great article, great boards!

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