Banks Journal Jams With Blake Peters - Stab Mag

Banks Journal Jams With Blake Peters

Find out what Blake throws on to get in the foam mowing mood.

elsewhere // Mar 16, 2021
Words by stab
Reading Time: 5 minutes

Banks ‘Journal Jams’ is back, this time sharing the playlist of one of Stab’s favorite California transplants, Mr. Blake Peters.

The series takes a look at the sounds that fuel surf industry creatives. While you may not know Blake by name, you’ve undoubtedly seen his Panda Surfboards under the feet of guys like Brendon Gibbens, Shane Borland and Noa Deane via our Electric Acid Surfboard Test.

Banks Journal’s editorial maestro Jeremy Knies caught up with Blake to take a look at his Costa Mesa facility and chop it up about what Panda models have caught fire in the past year. You can read the full interview below, but whatever you do we highly recommend clicking on Blake’s high vibe playlist as it’s all but guaranteed to brighten your day.

BJ: Blake, thanks for having me today. Besides a possible cup of joe, is this the first stop on most days? 

Blake: Anytime man, I’m stoked to show you around and chat. I’m actually up super early every day, trading stocks and banging out emails. If there’s waves, then that’s always the first stop on the way to the shop, followed by another coffee.. 

Credit: Jeremy Knies

BJ: Haha, rise and grind right? What are you shaping most often? I’m sure you’ve heard every request possible, haha.   

Blake: These days, I shape a lot of twin fins…mainly my astro zombie and rocket fish models, which are along the lines of a classic fish. I’m also shaping a lot of bigger boards than previous years, mainly my shiitake twinzer. That thing has really started to become pretty popular. Haha, ya, I get a lot of annoying requests…anything from the ugliest color combos to guys wanting family portraits glassed on their boards.  

Credit: Jeremy Knies

BJ: Haha that’s amazing. Hey, I’m expecting a huge photo of my girlfriend and son on my next order. Board sales were crazy last year, could assume they still are for you! What is it like being a one man show, having to tackle and keep track of it all? I can only imagine how intense that must get.  

Blake: 2020 was my biggest year yet, and that was without all the retail orders I would normally get. It definitely hasn’t slowed down yet. I feel like it will last for most of this year. I really want to carry the momentum forward and build off of it. 

It can be very overwhelming handling everything, and most people don’t realize it’s just me, they get a shock when I answer the phone, haha. I’ve really learned surfing is very important to keep me happy and creative. I tend to really get eggy and over everything when I’m not surfing. You really need to switch off sometimes. But as long as I’m surfing and enjoying it, I can work long hours no problem, it’s my hobby. I am definitely at a place where I may have to bring on some help pretty soon. I just have to figure out how to structure that. 

Credit: Jeremy Knies

BJ: I can only imagine what’s it’s like for you. It must be a damn challenge. So, what part of Australia are you based out of?  

Blake: I grew up on Sydney’s northern beaches, so when I’m back in OZ, that’s where you will find me. I had a shop and factory in Mona Vale for years. These days, I work with a big glassing factory In Brookvale, Sydney called Rhino Laminating. I also work with a factory in Byron called Doctor Ding / Heart of glass.

Credit: Jeremy Knies

BJ: When did you decide that the US, Costa Mesa to be exact, was where you wanted to settle down for Panda and yourself? 

Blake: So, I came over in 2011 to visit one of my good mates who was working here, for FCS. He was living down in Oceanside, so I hung down around there and Encinitas mostly. I was already making boards for Ford Archbold, so I came up to Newport a few times to hang, surf, and bring boards up for Ford. I came back again the following year, after a wedding in Hawaii, to shape some boards and hangout with Ford. I ended up making the decision to stay for the whole summer. After doing 3 months hanging around Newport, I made a lot of friends and felt comfortable here. It was just a coincidence that Cost Mesa was a major surf industry hub and I’d landed right in the middle of it. There was a bunch of shapers here, but no big board labels, so it actually was perfect. I came to a point when I had to make a decision where to be based, and I was just burnt out on Sydney, needing a change. Costa mesa had the industry and I had riders there. Also, there was a lot more potential to grow the business here due to all the surf stores and the amount of surfers. Australia, there are so many world class shapers and less people, so it’s pretty tough to make it. 

I don’t think I will live here full time, forever. I miss home a lot these days since I have not been able to travel with covid. I would like to eventually shift things back to Aus and come back here when needed. 

Credit: Jeremy Knies

BJ: I apologize for asking as you as you definitely get asked this left and right, but what sparked your initial interest in becoming a shaper?  

Blake: I started working for a ding repair guy when I was 16, and that just started me on that path. From there, I ended up working for LSD, who was shaping for guys like Ozzie Wright, Richie Lovett, and Julian Wilson. When i was working for Luke, I got really stoked on it and I definately looked up to Luke a lot, but it wasn’t until I met Jordy Smith’s dad while in Europe, that I decided to shape myself some boards. When I  got back to Aus after that trip, I went into Luke’s factory and got one of the guys to show me the ropes…I just got obsessed and never stopped. 

Credit: Jeremy Knies

BJ: Does “Panda” have any significant meaning to its name? It sounds so damn good.  

Blake: HAHA, not really, I came up with that so long ago, I was so young. At the time, I thought it just sounded really good, and I had a good feeling about it. I purposely didn’t want to call it Blake Peters shapes, I wanted something I could build a brand around, potentially branching into other products if I ever wanted.  

I thought about changing it a few times, but it really stuck. 

BJ: Well, it works, and it works well. In the midst of it all, what does a typical break in the day look like for you?  

Blake: Once I start, I don’t really stop unless the surf is good! If it’s actually good, I’ll bail for a lunch surf, but that’s very rare.  

Credit: Jeremy Knies

BJ: Anything interesting or exciting mapped out for the year?

Blake: The second I can travel, I’ll be hitting Japan, Europe and Aus as it’s been a while. Also expecting my first kid in August! 

BJ: HUGE congrats man!  

Click here to order yourself a board from the legend himself


Comments are a Stab Premium feature. Gotta join to talk shop.

Already a member? Sign In

Want to join? Sign Up


Most Recent

Unlocked: Leonardo Fioravanti’s Stab Edit Of The Year Entry 

Watch 'The Cut' now, and baffle at the quality of both the waves and the…

Oct 4, 2022

The Pro Surfer Who Filmed A War Documentary In Ukraine

Damien Castera's got a story to tell.

Oct 4, 2022

Honest Review(s): O’Neill Hyperfreak Fire

Pushing the Limits of Wetsuit Tech for Men & Women

Oct 3, 2022

How Much Would You Pay For A Session Like This?

A cost-per-vision breakdown of Kian Martin and Tai Buddha's latest strike mission.

Oct 2, 2022

Ongoing Dialogue: Jack Freestone And Album’s Matt Parker On How They Get Sparks To Fly

"Nowadays, a standard thruster feels pretty alt to me." -Jack

Oct 2, 2022

Davo’s Death Strikes At Surfing’s Core

The underground icon battled demons til the end. His untimely demise is yet another cautionary…

Oct 1, 2022

Macaroni in the Pot

Jaleesa Vincent and 200 Lefts in the Mentawais

Oct 1, 2022

Introducing A Brand New Travel Series (With A Familiar Name)

Watch the first New York episode of Stab & Red Bull's No Contest Off Tour.

Sep 30, 2022

Leandro Dora: Pro Surfer, Businessman, Punk Rock Festival Organizer, Spiritual Mentor, And World Title Winning Surf Coach 

Meet one of the most beloved and effective individuals in the athlete's zone.

Sep 29, 2022


You’re Gonna Click On A New Oscar Langburne Video

Style that can't be denied.

Sep 29, 2022

Long Read: An Angel At My Table

From Stab Issue 15, October 2006: Chris Davidson has one more shot at the big…

Sep 28, 2022


Watch: Kalani David’s Last Dance

A final surf part from the Hawaiian surf/skate prodigy.

Sep 28, 2022

Taylor Steele Won’t Let Surf Filmmaking Die Without a Fight

Movies shown, filmmaking advice, punk rock at the 2022 Solento Surf Festival.

Sep 28, 2022

Wait, Are We Going To See Moana Jones In The Olympics At Teahupo’o?

Team USA (women) and Japan (men) should be able to choose anyone they want to…

Sep 27, 2022

Donald Brink and Matt Biolos Win Mick Fanning’s Electric Acid Surfboard Test

And we had a party in Oceanside to celebrate.

Sep 26, 2022

Kanoa Igarashi and Kirra Pinkerton Answer Call Of Duty, Win Medals Of Honor In 2022 ISA World Games

Teams Japan, USA, and France move into Victor’s Village.

Sep 26, 2022

The Best Euro Surf Trips That Mightn’t Be On Your Radar

Want to know which less-trodden nation offers the most potential?

Sep 26, 2022

Former CT Surfer Chris Davidson Passes Away At Age 45

A radical life tragically ends outside a bar in New South Wales.

Sep 25, 2022