While summer brings newer surfers and families to the Oregon Coast, winter is for hardcore surfers and other dedicated water adventurers.
Lifelong surfer Dan Murdey is one of them. Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, he settled in Portland in 1999 after five years in Bend. Now he spends most of his time hand-crafting high-end surfboards at Murdey Surfboards, which he founded in 2002. He shapes his boards at home and does the glass work in an industrial space near the Portland International Airport (and happy to give tours by request).
In between work and dad duties, Murdey makes time to hit the waves on the Oregon Coast as much as he can. We caught up with him at the start of the 2017 winter season to to ask him a few questions about his craft, tips for newbies and his love for the great state of Oregon.
How did you get started building surfboards, and what sets your brand apart?
“I was a fiberglasser of other surf brands by trade, starting in 1998. I worked in Hawaii, and was lucky enough to work for legendary builders before having my own label for a long time. Also, my boards are known for a high level of glasswork.”
For those new to the sport, what’s the best way to pick the right surfboard?
“The best thing to do when you start is rent different boards to see what kind of board fits your style, skills and ambition. Maybe get a used board. When you’re ready we can accommodate you, at whatever level. Our boards come with custom graphics and aesthetics.”
You’ve surfed in Hawaii, California and Mexico. What always brings you back to Oregon?
“I’m a Northwest person. I love cold weather, the rain, green. I love the vibe in the Northwest. I think I’ll just be here forever. But there’s nothing wrong with traveling.