HOWIE SHAPES - Since 1989

It's been a long and somewhat tumultuous journey for shaper Luke Howarth, but nothing great is born without dedication and sacrifice.

From the early days shaping for CHP (@daisuke_chp ) and time spent cutting his teeth in Japan, to building surfboards for the likes of Martin Potter (@mrpottz ) during his dominant years on tour, 'Howie' is still at it, "...everyday in the bay!"

But there's some kinda fresh hell brewing in an industrial estate in Mona Vale, that's set to reignite the youth and disrupt the status quo.Welcome to a new era for Howie Shapes!

Howie Shapes specialise in high-performance custom surfboards to suit all abilities. We take pride in smaller run, locally made boards that deliver an X-factor you’ll struggle to find off the rack.

Our range of models is the result of extensive testing by Howie and his team in a range of quality and not-so-quality conditions. Howie’s innate understanding of how a surfboard works underfoot gives him an advantage when fine tuning boards and communicating with his team riders. It’s this process that allows Howie to create boards that ‘go’ - if it doesn’t work, we won’t offer it.

Our most popular model ‘The Biggie Smalls’ is a favourite amongst team riders and customers for its ability to perform in a range of conditions making it a go-to short board for year round surfing.

Howie Shapes proudly represents some of the area's best surfers including super groms Loci and Balin Cullen, Ollie Heintz, Billy Bain as well as Tassie’s Luke Bugg - we love seeing these guys getting results and pushing their surfing on Howie's (in fact we get excited when we see anyone waxing up a Howie).

So, whether you’re looking to add to your existing quiver or are chasing that one magic board, Howie Shapes has you covered with proven models and the opportunity to work closely with the team to arrive at a board that’ll have you pushing your surfing and having more fun in the water.

Howie Shapes is a premier surfboard label from Avalon on Sydney’s Northern Beaches and is the brainchild of surfer/shaper Luke ‘Howie’ Howarth.


The first board Howie shaped was in winter 1990, but Howie’s connection to surfing and surfboards spans an entire lifetime and half a dozen continents. Howie first picked up a surfboard at just two years of age -  he suffered from asthma and eczema and the family doctor said the ocean would be good for both his lungs and his skin. So that was that, and from this point Howie’s life would revolve around the ocean.

Thanks to his older sister Prudence - one of Australia’s first professional female surfers - Howie remembers his house being constantly filled with the best surfers of the era passing through. Guys and girls like; Pam Burridge, Gary Elkerton, Barton Lynch and Roger Casey.

Pretty soon Howie was chasing these guys and others around to comps; honing his skills in the shorey and spotting sets for them from the rocks during heats. Just ask, and Howie will happily rattle off stories from this era, of being taken under the wings of guys that would become surfing royalty.

It’s not surprising in this environment that Howie would go on to establish a notable surfing career in his own right. Before picking up the planer Howie competed on the Pro Junior, ASP and ASPA circuits. Ironically, it was probably the experiences in these formative years that moulded him into becoming the shaper he is today.

Howie and his label represent a rare combination of personal ability, experience, modern ideas and old-school values. He believes in having a relationship with your shaper and even likes to have first hand knowledge of his customers before he begins an order, a process made easier because Howie and his customers often share the lineup.

“I try and give my customers the experience I remember so well of my own first custom surfboard, it should feel special, and having to wait a bit only adds to the excitement. Delayed gratification makes for a better surfboard."

Howie cares about his boards, no doubt, but he also places huge importance on community and surf culture in general. In addition to shaping Howie provides ocean training to a crew of dedicated grommets and enjoys the role he plays in keeping the younger generations both safe and in check!

Howie’s vision for this company is to become a Northern Beaches institution and a board maker surfers feel proud to ride and represent.

So give Howie a buzz and order your new custom Howie Shapes today. Sure you can grab a board off the rack from somewhere else or you could join the growing number of ‘beaches’ surfers choosing to ride ours. Howie would love to play a hand in your next board, and there’s few people around these parts whom are more qualified.