Today we're introducing you to not just one of our community of shapers, but also to a member of our Macho Fins Family. Meet Diogo Appleton of Diogo Appleton Surf Craft near Lisbon, Portugal. Diogo has been representing us by riding with our fins for several years now, and it's been a pleasure to accompany his shaping journey with our fins too. Always interesting to work with and meet, we've enjoyed designing custom models and a variety of set ups for his increasing range of boards, which are also available at the Appleton family business, Casa Do Pico in Carcavelos.
We sent Diogo our Shaper Stories questions to find out a bit more about him and his boards...
Tell us where you’re from and where you’re based.
I'm from Portugal and I'm based 20 minutes west of Lisbon in a town called Carcavelos.
What inspired your logo/brand name?
My cousin Maria did the logo design with my initials, I was looking for something simple and discreet, and I've never made any changes since she first drew the first sketch.
Tell us a bit about how, when and why you got into shaping.
I first started to shape my own surfboards in 2014, I did a few for myself and for whoever asked me for a very token price, since my goal was just to get my hands on a blank. I got into shaping after coming back from Australia for the first time, my dad shaped a few boards back in the 80´s so we started to build a few together.
What kind of boards do you mostly shape?
My two best-sellers are definitely longboards and fishes, although I shape all kinds of surfboards. I enjoy shaping what I usually enjoy surfing, and that’s what I like to sell because I know it works.
What’s your preferred fin set up to a) shape and b) surf?
My all time favourite set up of fins to surf is definitely glass on keel fins / fishes, and when it comes to build / shape I would say glass on keel fins as well. Just for two simple reasons, I know they work insanely well, and they are super fun to build.
Best tip for the budding shaper?
Don't overthink, try it and figure it out later. Having too many questions and no answers can destroy your creativity. Start simple, and progressively you'll start to build more complex surfboards. And the better you understand surfing, I guarantee the better board builder you'll become.
What’s been the most memorable board you’ve ever shaped & why?
The best memory I have from a board I made was a 5´0 keel fish with colorful dots that myself and Xué Gil made when we were filming for a short clip we did called “Digas” in 2016. That board in particular was a nightmare to build, it was one of the first boards I built by myself from start to finish. I think I surfed the board probably 15 times and I never had such an incredible feeling under my feet - until it snapped. I still have that board in my factory, she became a reference for all the fishes I still build.
What's the bonus of using Macho Fins in your boards?
Making fins is a very underrated job in the surfing industry, only those who know how to make them or have tried to make them know how complex it gets once you start to sand fiberglass. Macho Fins have perfected matching foils and outstanding finishes, if you happen to own a pair or two from them, you know what I'm talking about - world class fins. I have done a few collaborations with Macho Fins over the years now, I usually send them my templates and they make it happen from there, all made by hand. I'm proud to know that 95% of my custom orders have Macho Fins as a set up, clients also love them because you can choose the colour of the fins to match their new surfboard. On top of this, their communication and fast response makes it hard not to love them and if they happen to have the fin you want in stock, it can be in your hands in less than 48 hours [in Spain & Portugal!]. As a family business like they are, their dedication and passion is contagious. They love to make fins and we love to ride them and they are as true as they look, the real deal, priceless.
Thanks Diogo! And you can check out Diogo Appleton Surf Craft on their Instagram and website.
Photo credits: Xué Gil & Koko Fotografia