Updated: Sep 8, 2019
El Segundo resident Grayson Daley proves you’re never too young to combine passion, hard work, and creativity into something great.
By Maureen Kingsley
At age 17, El Segundo resident Grayson Daley is already an accomplished creator of beautiful custom surfboards. His business, Daley Shapes, turns out one-of-a-kind, functional surfboards that are so stylish and gorgeous, they managed to grab the attention of Resin art gallery founder Rafael McMaster, who has since invited Grayson to show his boards at the Hermosa Beach–based gallery three times. One of those boards sold to a private collector and now hangs in the collector’s home.
Grayson, an avid surfer, began reshaping old, discarded, broken boards with his father, retired professional surfer Scott Daley, three years ago. Under his dad’s guidance and supervision, Grayson learned how to reshape and rebuild boards using saws and power tools, fiberglass, and resin. He reshaped five surfboards with his father, and then began rebuilding old surfboard pieces into handboards on his own.
Today, Grayson works by himself, creating boards of various sizes and shapes from discarded surfboards, polyurethane, and expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam blanks. He starts by shaping a board in his home-based workshop, which he says takes about three hours. After that first step, Grayson installs a fin box and leash hole, then cuts fiberglass from a roll and bonds it to the board with resin (pictured above). Additional layers of resin are applied and hot-coated; and, in some cases, Grayson combines resin and spray paint into a unique, colorful design, or places patterned fabric or original artwork beneath the coats of resin, depending on the final look he’s trying to achieve. He then spends time sanding the board down. That whole process of installing the fin box and leash hole, glassing, applying resin, and sanding takes another five to seven hours. Some of the finished boards he keeps for himself, and others he sells. Some are, as mentioned, shown as artwork.
Grayson credits his mom, Wendy, with helping him with some of the graphics and artwork for his custom boards. “She was in the fashion industry, and I think I got most of my creativity from her,” he says.
At the time of my visit to Grayson’s workshop, he had created 42 Daley Shapes boards in total. He says he loves his work and hopes to make it a lifelong career, along with a successful apparel business he’s started up with clothing pieces featuring the Daley Shapes logo, created by friend Lauren Clarke.
Check out Grayson’s beautiful work on Instagram at @daleyshapes or at daleyshapes.com. He charges $275 for shortboards and $450 for longboards. Get in touch with him at email@example.com.
This story appears in the September 2019 issue of The El Segundo Scene.