“Pukas Surf is a family driven company based in the Basque Country and has built a reputation for making quality high-performance surfboards and custom bikinis. Mixing a global view and a local knowledge, the group has been able to feed their surf addiction since they first handshaped a surfboard in 1973.
Along the way came the surf shops, the surf contests, the friends and the parties, the surf Factory, the profesional Pukas surfers, the good and the bad, the surf schools and the stokedness; Surfing at its finest. Pukas is surf and always will be.”
The True Story.
1979 – 1989
“The True Story” is an article that was published at the official Magazine of the 1989 Pukas Pro contest. It was part of the editorial content and tried to show the crowd what Pukas was all about.
More than 20 years later, those words reflect where Pukas is coming from, but more importantly still; it reflects the soul of the company today. This is exactly how it was published and you can read the full story here.
Meet the founders
Founder and visionary//
Being attracted to try the unknown, surfing in San Sebastian’s “La Concha” on a borrowed surfboard at age 20 changed his life. Being married to Marian Azpiroz with a Deusto College Diploma in Tourism and a stablished job at a renowned hotel as Chieff Commissary, Iñigo discovered another path. He joined 3 good friends to pursue a way of life that seemed a better choice in life; making surfboards. It was 1.973, a time when spanish dictator Franco was still ruling Spain, and where growing your hair, live in a hippy communa, party, do drugs and enjoy the shit out of your days was both fun and scary.
Founder and Co-CEO//
Marian Azpiroz (1948) was born in a tiny little basque village called Aginaga (Basque Country, Spain). 2nd oldest daughter out of 7 children, her family was driven by the force, strength and hard-working philosophy of a big-hearted man dedicated to the angula. She fell in love with Iñigo Letamendia while in college, married him and worked with such success at the hotel where Iñigo was Chieff Commissary that she was quickly upgraded to Director of the hotel.
When Iñigo left San Sebastian to manufacture surfboards with a bunch of friends, Marian decided to follow him a year after. And while girlfriends’ of other surfers would lay down to the sun, Marian sewed bikinis out of the house courtains. Then it was the boardshorts, then surfboard covers and the rest is history.
Founder and Co-CEO//
Once an avid anguilla worker based in his hometown Aginaga, Miguel Azpiroz (1.957) becomes a key third partner by 1.979. As a member of an unofficial 2nd generation of surfers from Spain, Miguel was under the influence of his brother in law and peers, plus international surfers such as Mark Richards and Shaun Tomson.
With his inclusion by 1.979, Marian’s younger brother Miguel joined Iñigo & Marian’s periplus. These three characters were the seed which planted the foundations of Pukas and promoted the surfing culture in San Sebastian, Basque Country and beyond. With the opening of a new surfshop in the city, surf contests, surf schools and a vision for quality surfboards and pro surfers, Miguel has led a movement that feels even stronger today.
Before Pukas was born, a handful of friends, Iñigo Letamendia included, decided not to follow the stablised path of their lives.
They settled a commune at a house called Casa Lola in Somo (Cantabria, Spain), and gave birth to the most intense, prolific, creative and inspiring time of their lives.
“Tablas Santa Marina”, (1973-74), “Jeronimo Surfboards” (1975-76), “Geronimo Surfboards” (1977-78) are key when understanding not just the spirit of Pukas and the roots of its values, but the starting point of a movement that defined the spanish/european culture.
Tablas Santa Marina
// 1973 – 1974.
This is the beginning of it all. 1.973 had Iñigo Letamendia, Carlos Beraza, Raúl Dourdil and Merodio working for a drem at Casa Lola (Somo, Cantabria).
// 1975 – 1976.
Casa Lola became a surf commune known by all kinds of local and international surfers. Something big was in the making. Iñigo and Jay Schodrowski…
// 1977 – 1978.
Iñigo partnered a new era with good friend Gonzalo Campa. They changed the J for the G and kept the dream alive.
// 1st logo ever. 1979
Pukas was born with the inclusion of Marian Azpiroz’s little brother; Miguel Azpiroz. Iñigo, Marian and Miguel are still rocking this thing with their children and a dedicated staff.
// 1980 – 1999
The Pukas Pro contests were raw. Late check-ins due to the wild parties, running of the bulls at the beach (yes, it’s true), “harrijasotzailes” in the podium (ask Tom Carroll how the stone lifters wowed the crowd)… The Pukas Pro contests were awarded as the raddest comp of the year by surfers and international press.
Olatu, the Pukas Factory.
// 1988 – tomorrow
Long before this factory was born in 1988, Pukas had built surfboards in Casa Lola, at sawmills, hamlets and garages all over the places.
Today, The Pukas factory, known by the name of Olatu, stands tall in the industry hosting the very best of international surfboard builders.
It’s placed between Mundaka and Hossegor in the nearby area of San Sebastian and Zarautz (Spain’s Basque Country).
// Bidart, France
“The French connection”. A Peter Pan syndrome makes this garçon shape foams with a creativenes of a youngster. He ended up at Pukas after dealing by himself in the surfboard market since 1.997, the year he opened a factory at the basque-french territory, the area he calls home… Read more.
// Mackay, Australia
Bob McTavish has been a part of the Australian and International surfing landscape for over 50 years. McTavish is all about design excellence, excitement, fun and adventure. In order to share his lifestyle, surf design and culture in Europe, Bob has partnered with Pukas… Read more.
// San Clemente, California
Matt Biolos’ words: “After almost 20 years of traveling to the Basque Country, and shaping at PUKAS, we made our link official and have designed a collaboration model. There has always been a link between myself and Pukas and the staff at the factory.” Read more.
// Canary Islands, Spain
Taz Yassin, is our own little earthquake. Taz is a young driven, impatient and determined workhorse. Born in The Canary Islands and is the youngest full time professional shaper in the industry to date. By age 12 he shaped his first board, by age 15 he was working as a… Read more.