Fred Perry Meets
Thomas Surfboards

Over the past ten years, Thomas Surfboards have cemented themselves as one of Australia’s finest makers of hand-built surfboards.

Based on the Sunshine Coast with his business partner Jake Bowrey, founder Thomas Bexon talks to us about craftsmanship, community and the one-of-a-kind Fred Perry surfboards he’s created for us.

How did Thomas Surfboards come about?

It all started as a hobby in my mum’s garage when I was a teenager. I learnt to build the boards as they were too expensive to buy so I just experimented and learnt the craft myself. The hobby grew from there and remained that way for a few years. I then went to university and learnt a bunch of other stuff but ended up pursuing my hobby and turning it into a full-time job. I started selling homemade boards to my friends, then friends of friends and it just started to take off. I then couldn’t do it myself and I needed help so that’s when my business partner Jake jumped on board. The two of us got to a point where we couldn’t do it all and we just kept expanding and growing. We now have 22 staff and have been in operation for 12 years.

What are your main products?

We obviously sell surfboards that have already been created as well as custom boards. In our shop we sell clothes and accessories from reputable and trusting surf brands we like. We also have our own line of apparel and hardware stuff for surfing such as leg ropes and fins, but surfboards are our main focus.

What kind of boards do you make?

We make every kind of surfboard under the sun, this includes traditional long boards, performance short boards and anything in between. We pretty much do any shape or size people desire. It helps to keep it interesting and also challenging by trying to perfect all kinds of surfboard designs.

What board will you be adapting for Fred Perry?

We have made a Utility Mid. It’s just a good mid length that is very diverse and suits a lot of people and waves. It’s a model that provides versatility – an all-round board that you can take anywhere and be covered.

What’s your favourite surfboard to ride?

Either a 12-foot glider or a 10-foot involvement style long-board. There’s no feeling that compares to a glider – effortless speed and flow and the trim from a big board is just unlike anything else in surfing. I guess riding 10-foot (my sweet spot for length) involvement style board for me is just my go to/comfort zone/happy place with surfing, it’s what really got me hooked on surfing.

What’s the surf culture like in Noosa?

Noosa has an extremely diverse surf culture. It consists of 70 plus-year-old women riding long boards and then 12-year olds that want to go pro and be the next Kelly Slater; tradies that ride nothing but hi performance short boards; hipsters on all kinds of alternative craft. It’s safe to say that Noosa’s surf culture has a bit of everything. It’s mostly due to the types of waves we have here, small mellow point waves to the bigger beach breaks at sunrise. There are endless options and a lot on offer which results in all boards being accepted which I don’t think you can get in many other places.

What is so special about the surf community?

It’s very unique as there are so many different types of wave. It attracts a lot of surfers which keeps it quite fresh. Most surfers stick to one style of board whereas growing up here in Noosa you are exposed to different experiences resulting in a lot of people becoming good at riding multiple styles of surfboards. It’s great for me as a shaper as I get to shape so many types.

What are your favourite local spots?

  • The beach – from the points to the open.
  • The pool at home. I guess I’m a homebody at times.
  • Massimo’s ice cream near first point, my grom loves it!
  • Noosa north shore.

Favourite place to surf?

First Point, Little Cove, T Tree, Castaways and Sunrise Beach.

Favourite independent neighbours?

Village Bike is a nice little chilled local joint. They are great dudes! Thomas Surfboards is not your normal surfboard factory. We have Sip Sop’s barber shop nearby, Pro Movement keeping everyone in shape, coffee shops, a gallery, an open courtyard space with some ping pong tables and a co-working space. It’s just a nice space to check out and hang out in which I guess we are lucky enough to call work.

Best gig you’ve ever been to?

Hard to pick just one… Nick Cave at the River Stage. We had killer backstage passes. Henry Rollins spoken word. Amazing how just one dude on stage with a mic kept the whole crowd so captivated for 3 + hours. At the Drive In, Auckland BDO.

All-time favourite song?

Tiny Cities Made of Ashes, Modest Mouse.

To find out more about Thomas Surfboards, visit their website here