Dave Allee is the proprietor of Almond Surfboards & Designs. Almond is a brand modeled for those of us that like our stuff made the old fashion way; by hand.
Where did you grow up, and when did you start surfing?
I grew up in Newport Beach, California. I was actually born in the hospital across the street from the Almond shop. I didn’t surf for the first time until 5th grade… and got my first board when I was 13.
Ever surfed in the Pacific Northwest?
I have not surfed in the Pacific Northwest, although it is definitely on my bucket-list. I spend some time in Northern Idaho every Summer with my Grandparents, and the lake up there is always so glassy that I have spent many afternoons day-dreaming about surfing with a backdrop of pines and mountains. I’d really like to surf around Victoria, BC someday… seen some breath-taking photos of the coastline up there.
When did you start shaping?
I started shaping my first board at 19… and solid balsa singlefin with five 1″ redwood stringers and a glass on redwood fin. After that 12-month long project, I decided a foam/fiberglass board would be a bit easier… so I shaped myself a 5’10 twin fin fish that became the inspiration for the Sandia model.
How did Almond Surfboards come to be?
Once I made a board for myself, a few other friends wanted one… that’s when I started putting “Almond” on them. About the same time I started shaping, while I was in college, I started to formulate a brand-concept for Almond… I felt like there was a gap missing for a lifestyle brand around the stuff I was interested in… I would use my ideas for Almond as a filter for the stuff I was learning in school… which helped me further develop some of my ideas. When I met Griffin Neumann-Kyle in 2008 it really set the stage for us to be able to grow, because he was looking to shape all day every day, and I was more interested in the big-picture dreaming and business side of things. Once we started working together, things really started to click.
I understand that your brother Jeffrey & cousin Taylor also work at Almond. What’s it like working with family?
My brother, Jeff, helps me run the shop during the day… which is great. It’s a different dynamic being older brother and boss… but he’s a willing worker. My cousin Taylor does our accounting stuff… because it takes a uniquely gifted person to stay on top of all of the incoming and outgoing invoices.
Do you have a favorite board in the Almond quiver?
My favorite is changing all of the time… but this Summer I think it’s the Almond Joy.
Are there any other shapers out there you would like to collaborate with?
There aren’t any other shapers I’d like to collaborate with… Griffin and I have a good thing going. We’re like yin and yang… he’s like 90% function and 10% form and I’m like 90% form and 10% function. He’s always trying to make them work better, and I’m always trying to make them look a certain way.
I am all-for collaborations though… and we have a number of new collaborations coming down the pipe.
What was the best thing before sliced bread?
You have a lot of items on the Almond menu…boards, fins, wetsuits, apparel…Any new branches planned for 2012?
The Almond tree is always growing… deepening our roots and expanding our reach. Keep an eye out for more Surfer+Craftsman collaborations, projects and profiles coming in 2012.
Stoke Harvester is proud to be an Almond dealer. We will have a few Almond boards, t-shirts & fins available through our store, in the next few weeks. :)