Zachary Koniaras shaped his first surfboard at 13 in a tin shed down the side of his parent’s house in Viewbank. He would catch a bus all the way to Trigger Bros on the Mornington Peninsula to pick up blanks and resin to fuel his passion. With a few advertisements in surf mags and a bunch of business cards, Zak’s small backyard business grew from repairing a few surfboards for mates, to doing board repairs and shaping custom boards for local surf shops. Through sheer determination and persistence, ignoring advice that the surf industry was about selling clothes rather than shaping surfboards, Zak kept shaping and repairing boards and opened a small retail store in Thornbury in 1999, which contained barely a thread of clothing. The first store in Thornbury packed 86 surfboards, a wall of accessories, a bunch of skateboards and wetsuits into a 6×3 metre shop in which customers had to walk around single-file to view his range.
A few years later Zak Surfboards moved just up the road into a bigger premises at 307 Victoria Road, Thornbury. The refurbished bottle-o on the corner of Raleigh Street currently stocks the biggest ranges of surfboards in Victoria. A real surf hardware store, not a clothes shop with a few boards for eye candy.
The original Zak Surfboards at 314 Victoria Rd Thornbury
When you’re in the shop, don’t forget to look up to view Zak’s private collection of vintage boards from veteran shapers like Klemm Bell, Mark Richards, Pat Morgan, George Rice and Wayne Lynch.
In 2014 Zak opened The Surfboard Studio, located in the neighbouring suburb of Preston. The Surfboard Studio offers small-groups expert instruction and tuition in surfboard shaping, design, glassing and sanding, all based conveniently in Melbourne and affiliated with a stalwart of Melbourne surf culture, Zak Surfboards. The aim is to teach not only the art of surfboard shaping, but to share handcrafting skills and knowledge of how surfboard designs work in all sorts of waves. The shop at the Surfboard Studio offers surf hardware equipment, tools and materials for building all types of surf craft.