And right smack in the middle of the island, geographically speaking, you’ll find Oakdale, New York, home to Mark Petrocelli and Faktion Surfboards. Petrocelli is an old school craftsman in the best (and least efficient) way. Want a board from Petro? Cool. Not only will he design it and shape it, but unlike about 99 percent of his fellow shapers these days, he’ll also glass it himself. While it’s not the easiest way to build boards, it allows him to be 100 percent confident in the quality of every aspect of the craft bearing his label.
Petro’s been at it for decades. He grew up on Long Island, but, as is kind of a rite of passage for New York surfers who want a little tropical vibe for a time, he moved down to Florida in the ‘90s and started doing airbrush work for the terrifically-named Cannibal Surfboards label. Eventually, airbrush work turned to actual shaping.
“We were always slammed building boards in the summer months to take up to the Northeast,” Petro said in an interview. “Sometimes people wouldn’t show up for work and we had to keep things moving so I would learn their job.”
Eventually, the cold, pounding wintertime surf, and the big hair and acid wash jeans (we assume) called Petro back to Long Island. In 2006, he hung his shingle as Faktion Surfboards, and, damn near 15 years later, he’s shepherded thousands of boards from idea to shape to glassed and sanded sled ready for shredding, all himself. You can find his craft all over NY lineups, and you can also pick one up at the iconic Pilgrim Surf + Supply, which Petro partnered with for this competition.
It’s hard to believe that on top of all that, he’d also have time to mess around with resin art. But check out Faktion’s Instagram page and you’ll see dozens of rad little fish shapes with multicolored rail bands and muted resin tints, even full on abstract mind melters. Petro says simply, “I love color.”