Dave at Huntington Beach (1988)

Surfing became a way of life for Dave Gallagher in the early 1980’s after he got his first taste of it while on a family vacation in Hawaii. He had just turned twelve years old and was instantly hooked. As soon as he returned home, Dave began mowing lawns and doing odd jobs around his neighborhood to raise the $40 needed to buy his first used surfboard, which he found in the PennySaver. His parents encouraged his love of surfing; however it took them quite some time to accept that their twelve year old was hitting the beach with a board sporting a topless mermaid on it.

From junior high on, Dave designed his life around surfing. He and his friend Jeff took the bus from Tustin to Newport Beach regularly, bumming rides from their parents to the bus stop and suiting up in their wetsuits before even getting to the stop. After high school, he only applied to colleges near the beach, eventually choosing San Diego State University. At school, the first thing he did was hang his beloved mermaid surfboard on the wall of his first apartment.

Fire & Surf

An old school surfer, Dave always viewed surfing as a release – both mentally and physically. Avoiding high strung surf spots, he chooses more laid back places like San Onofre to enjoy quiet, early morning rides. Dave relates to surfers of the 1950’s when wooden surfboards were king. This love of the past inspires Dave’s board designs today. Surfboard design and construction has become one of Dave’s favorite pastimes and a therapeutic respite from his full time job as a firefighter/paramedic in Southern California.

Gallagher Wood Surfboards began with a single wooden fin. Dave had been combing the Internet for a wood fin design, but stumbled upon a kit for an entire wooden surfboard. Using the kit, combined with wood-working skills he developed remodeling his own home and a garage full of tools, Dave built his first board. The board turned out really well. It looked good and surfed great.

Dave at Upper Trestles (1990)

Additionally, it garnered a ton of attention from other surfers. Surfers and friends alike loved the look and were quite surprised by how light it was. Strangers on the beach often approached him to ask where he bought it. When he disclosed that he had made it himself they asked if he would be interested in making more. As it turns out, surfers want cool looking wooden wall-hanging boards that they can surf on as well. Thus, Gallagher Wood Surfboards was born.

Although Gallagher boards are built for surfing, most say they actually belong on a wall like a piece of art. Breaking free from the constraints of a kit, each Gallagher design is unique with a focus on craftsmanship and style. Dave spends hours combing through stacks of paulownia, cedar, redwood, basswood, and balsa in lumber yards, looking for just the right grain and color that match his vision for each hand-made custom surfboard. While the majority of Gallagher boards have been used decoratively, Dave designs them for use in the ocean.

Dave at Morro Bay (2009)

Dave would like Gallagher Wood Surfboard’s legacy to be one that speaks to the time, care, and commitment he puts into each and every board. He devotes months to the design and construction of each board to ensure he delivers a high quality, beautiful board that each surfer will enjoy for a lifetime.