denny schwartz

Denny Schwartz was raised in Kahalu’u until the age of 8. He grew up on the beach swimming and boogey boarding. It wasn’t until he moved to the south shore, that he picked up surfing. He was lucky enough to have a friend let him borrow his surfboard. He still remembers the board he borrowed like it was yesterday, "A purple and white Ed Barbera. I caught a wave and I was hooked. No more basketball, baseball, or football practice. It was surfing from now on for me."

Denny built his first surfboard in 1984, in Niu Valley, with one of his high school friends. It didn’t take long for him to realize this was what he loved to do and the Aloha Brothers Surfboards was born.

Denny started out getting shaped blanks from George Vicente and glassing those shapes for friends. It was only a matter of time before he started to think he could build the whole board by himself. Denny built his first complete board by 1989. Those first 10 or so boards were pretty rough, but they rode! He wanted to know how to build all types of boards, so he built whatever anyone wanted. It started with shortboards, longboards, kneeboards, and then finally guns. Windsurfing was still a very popular sport at the time and he needed to learn how to build sandwich constructed boards using vacuum bag construction. Luckily he had a couple friends that used to ride for Hi-Tech on Maui. Bill Foote was the main man and Denny got the chance to be learn from Bill Foote himself!

Around that same time, Aloha Brothers started picking up and began to grow on the South East side of Oahu.  Everything started to fall into place when a board builder, Ed Barbera, was looking for a place to build boards. Denny remembers, "I was thinking ....wow, full circle. My first wave on one of his boards and now I get a chance to work with the guy? Cool! I learned quite a bit of board building from Ed."

Later, Denny went on to shape at Bob White’s shop, the originator of Wave Riding Vehicles and Craig Kawamura started his beginning days there. All of them would bounce ideas off of each other and they were able to create some nice work.

After years of being in business, the shop got too busy for being in a residential area and unfortunately was shut down by the building department.

Denny decided to concentrate more on just shaping. For the next 3 years he got to ghost shape for Ben and Akila Aipa. It was there that he built his foundation of shaping boards and keeping his ego in his back pocket, while working beside two great guys. 

Some surfers that Denny has had the privilege of making boards for are: Aaron and KK Naluai,Graham Bolts, Paul Akita RIP, Scotty Fong, Alika Anixt, just to name a few. 

Now an avid longboard builder and surfer, Denny has been very fortunate to be influenced by many shapers and board builders that he has had the opportunity to work with to this very day. Just a few name drops.... Bill Foote, Ed Barbera, Bob White, Jay Rush, Alvin Sumida, Buddy Dunphy’s work, Mark Ripley, Pete Meredith, Craig Kawamura, Ben and Akila Aipa, Kyle Bernhardt.

Now, working at Schaper Surfboards Hawaii, Denny talks about his experience at the shop, saying, "I have the honor of working with Biro Marcello, Jeannie Chesser, Jeff Johnston, Charlie Walker, Ben Trail and most of all... Carl Schaper. I owe my board building skills to Carl for sure! I have never been a production guy, never thought I would be. I have always thought “I got this"....but I never did. I Still don’t, I am always learning....keeping my ego in the back pocket. Every person at Schaper contributes to making great boards. Everyone in this shop plays an important role in creating each board.