SALT. presents HUMAN CONNECTIONS with surfboard shaping legend Dan Taylor. The first in a series that highlights the human connections that make SALT more than just a premium eyewear brand. We are highlighting those that inspire us through their craft and achievements. In this first profile we spend a day with Dan Taylor. Dan has been shaping custom boards for over 40 years. About 18 years ago, Dan Taylor suffered from a paralyzing virus that stole his ability to surf. Dan persevered and continues to shape surfboards for some of the top surfers in the world.
Written by Randall Taylor (no relation) Director of Operations and Co-founder at SALT.
Many people cross your path in life who become not only your friends, but also your teachers. As I think of those who have inspired me, Dan Taylor comes to the forefront. I have known Dan for 27 years. He is a man who taught me that if you find a job you love, you'll never work a day in your life.
Dan loves what he does and is a master of his craft. My love for surfing sparked my interest in the process of making surfboards. Dan recognized this interest and allowed me to hang around his shop and watch him work. This opportunity was a dream come true for me and I learned so much from him. I was in awe of his ability to transform a chunk of foam into a sleek wave riding craft. He is so meticulous with every board that he builds.
Dan not only taught me the value of a strong work ethic and the magic in creating the perfect surfboard, he taught me lessons of perseverance and strength. Life has not always been kind to Dan. I saw the person who had inspired me most, literally brought to his knees. Watching Dan suffer through his battles in life has been very inspirational to me.
When he was first struck with his disease, he was not sure he would ever be able to walk again. Even though he lost the ability to do many things, his love for creating surfboards and the sport of surfing, never waned. For months, Dan was dependent on a pair of crutches for mobility, yet he still went in to work every day. He was not going to let a disease stop him from doing what he loved most.
He never complained or looked for sympathy during this difficult time in his life. He was self-employed, and his livelihood depended on his ability to stand, while working with his hands. He had to find a creative way to come up with techniques that would accommodate his new disabilities. Dan pushed through and continued as a master of his craft.
The little hobby he started in his garage grew to become a successful business. A job that does not feel like a job, but a mission to create custom boards of superior craftsmanship.