Small Talk with Danny Hess

Discussing craft and design with the NorCal shaper

“The first moment I realized that what I was doing was being more accepted was when, without really planning to, I started taking orders for boards,” says Danny Hess in the above interview as he walks through the hills of Santa Cruz to his secluded wood shop. “People would see me surfing my board, or I'd loan them out to people, and then they'd just order one. I looked down one day, and I had, like, 20 orders for boards. But I was still building houses. I had to sit down and make the decision, and I thought, 'This could really go somewhere.' I was about to start a big remodel on a house, and I pulled out of it and decided to fully commit to the surfboards." The Vissla team spent the better part of an afternoon with the shaper, woodworker, and occasional treehouse-builder, whose beautiful poplar boards bring in orders through Northern California and beyond, enough to set his waitlist back to almost a year for one of his hand-shapes. Here are seven-and-a-half minutes with a man whose mindful craftsmanship finds its soul in the splinters.