Today DRIFT is talking with Mark “Petro” Petrocelli from Faktion Surfboards in Oakdale, a small town on Long Island, New York. Petro grew up surfing on Long Island and moved to Florida after high school. That’s when he first got involved with surfboard construction. Today, he shapes and glasses every board under his own ‘Faktion’ label from start to finish. We’d been eyeing his boards for a while and finally made the trek down to Long Island to pick up a couple sick ones- a fish for Rob and a beautiful 9’4’’ log for the shop. One of the advantages to getting a surfboard from a local shaper is that you can put a real human story with the surfboard you’re riding. These are boards that aren’t made by machines but by experienced hands. We plan on getting lots more boards from Petro in the future, and even have a plan for him to come do a shop visit in a couple months. So here’s a little of the story behind Faktion.
DRIFT: How did you get into shaping surfboards?
Petro: I have been shaping about 13 years, but I have been building boards for about 20+ years. I lived in Florida and started airbrushing boards for Cannibal Surfboards In the late 90s. We were always slammed building boards in the summer months to take up to the Northeast. Sometimes people wouldn't show up for work and we had to keep things moving so I would learn their job. In the early 2000's I started shaping myself a couple of fish. This was around the time Lost movie 5'5 x19 1/4 came out and pretty much changed the path of the needle nose revolution. A few years later I moved back to New York and worked for a couple of local shapers here. It was 2006 when I started the Faktion label and it’s been a pretty amazing journey to where I am today. I am a one man show and do everything from start to finish myself.
DRIFT: We love how you put that, “I’m a one man show.” Here’s another question for you. A creator such as yourself usually has some influences. Are there any shapers you particularly admire?
Petro: I like so many different shapers it really depends on the type of boards they shape. Some I like for their performance shorts, or it could be their fish or logs. A couple that stick in my head would be [Matt] Biolos of Lost of course, and Rick Hamon- he used to shape for Rusty and I would get the sickest shortboards from him.
DRIFT: It sounds like you’re fond of shorter boards. Among the various boards that you normally shape, do you have a favorite style?
Petro: I think I enjoy a performance thruster fish shape the best ‘cuz thats what I mostly ride and I feel is the most ideal shape for our conditions in the Northeast.
DRIFT: So you must have shaped thousands of boards by this point so the next question might be tough- What’s your favorite board you have ever created?
Mark: I don’t know if i really have a favorite one. I put 100% into all my boards and try to make them stand out from the rest. Pretty much I like anything that involves color.
DRIFT: We get it! For sure we’ll get some colorful boards from you next round. What about materials? Which kind do you typically work with?
Mark: I only work with poly. For me it’s all about performance and I feel that they will out perform anything out there. I know there are so many new materials out there now but a lot of the materials are strong but create stiff boards.
DRIFT: Ok, one last question. You make so many boards for others, but when you are going to go surfing, what’s your favorite type of wave and board to ride?
Petro: I surf everything, all waves, all boards. I enjoy it all. When I go to the beach I usually have about four boards in my truck so I’m ready to have fun no matter what the ocean delivers.