Surfboards make us happy

Chili Mango Shred Sled: A Convo w/ Shaper Dominic Picone

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Surfboards make us happy. It's that simple. All shapes. All sizes. So when it came time to pick and choose our weapon of choice for the Chili Mango escape, we knew just the guy... San Diego board builder Dominic Picone

"Dom, we need a board—and we need it in less than a week... You down?"

Nothin' like a last minute surf trip to stress your local shaper out. Luckily for us, the guy dialed us in with a beautiful, chili-red, midlength single fin. Yowza!

Today, we sit down with Dominic to talk story, learn a little more about his background and what went into crafting the sled that launched one thousand smiles a thousand of miles south of the border. Enjoy—


What first inspired you to start shaping? 
DOMINIC: It was really just out of curiosity on how boards were made. I had the opportunity to learn and went for it. From that point on I became a bit obsessed with learning all I could and kept on going with it. 

There’s a ton of local legends in the San Diego board building space? Who are some of your favorites / folks you’re inspired by?
There really is so many to name here in San Diego, and to me each board builder inspires me in different ways. Just to name a few of them Skip Frye (of course), Michael Miller, and Jeff Mccallum. All of them are incredible board builders and go by the beat of their own drum. 

When it comes down the Chili Mango sled, tell us about the thought processing behind its build. What were the goals, dims, vibes behind it?
The board we made is called my “Sandpiper model” (dimensions are 7’4”x21.5”x2.75”). It’s a sort of pointed nose egg outline, and really is just a great “all-arounder”. It can be surfed in all sorts of waves and conditions without hesitation, and a great travel board. Cruise some high lines and trim, surf it more aggressive, the Sandpiper likes it all.  

What’s your favorite thing about building boards? 
Progress! My favorite part is getting in my shaping bay and trying to make my process more efficient every time.

Biggest thing you tried to focus on this last year? 
My biggest focus has been keeping the quality standard of my boards high, while keeping up with production. 

Favorite JuneShine flavor and why? 
Hopical Citrus all day! Super refreshing and keeps me coming back for more. 

One piece of advice you’d share with your younger self? 
Surf more!

What one board quiver right now that you just can’t stop riding? And why? 
It always is changing depending on where I'm surfing, at the moment I've been all about my 9’9 Moon Tail Dozer. My favorite noserider/log model. This model loves to lock in the pocket and keep me up on the nose, but can also hold its speed in trim when you need it. 

Favorite feeling / sensation in surfing / when surfing?
I think my favorite feeling in surfing is locking in trim on a proper big board(glider) on a long wide open wave. There’s so much momentum on these boards and there’s nothing like it!

Advice for anyone who’s curious in surfing or making a surfboard? 
If you're curious to get into surfing, find a friend who can bring you and learn somewhere where it's known to be a more “beginner” spot. Also make a point to learn the sort of ‘unwritten rules’ and respect of surfing and the people around you. You’ll run into a lot less problems in the water and end up having a way better time overall. If you have the opportunity to make a surfboard, go for it! It may not lead to you making more boards, but at the very least you will gain more knowledge about what you’re riding, and probably have a new respect for who is making your boards. 

Let’s manifest some mojo. Name 3 things you’re looking forward to doing / making happen this year… 

  1. Bring my family back to Hawaii and get some surfing in
  2. Keeping my Astro Van from breaking down and running like the champion it is
  3. Make rad stuff with rad people 


Surf stoked? Follow Dominic on Instagram.

Need a new sled? Visit

Visuals & Video by Adam Walker