Esperance teacher establishes Surfpaints

A local teacher has turned his passion and hobby into a business unique to the Esperance surfing scene.

Esperance Senior High School sport and maths teacher Danny Smyth has created Surfpaints, providing paint pens and everything else needed to paint or draw on a board.

Danny moved to town to start his education career a few years ago and has since purchased a house, making Esperance his permanent home.

In developing the business, he drew inspiration from his time as a lifeguard where he would see surfers paint their boards with all sorts of materials.

"None of them stuck out as the ideal pen for painting a surfboard. After a few years of painting boards, I realised there was a bit of confusion in the industry. I wanted to make it clearer for surfers about what's good to paint on their boards," Danny said.

"There's so many options and choices that it gets quite overwhelming. I wanted to make it simple and easy, so a surfer doesn't have to do all that running around."

You're just trying to add character to the board. It's meant to be yours. It just has to be fun and it needs to make you want to surf that board.

Surfpaints founder Danny Smyth.

Surfpaints has been in development for three years, with the business officially launched last month, October 2019.

The acrylic paint pens work on anything from soft-top surfboards to fiberglass boards. While the focus is surfing, it can be applied to wood, glass and ceramic surfaces.

Surfpaints also provides the tools for the entire process.

Danny said the business was aimed at all surfers, regardless of their artistic abilities.

"Not many of us are professional artists that can draw, including myself," he said.

"I wanted to make something that you don't feel ashamed by having a go yourself.

"You're just trying to add character to the board. It's meant to be yours. It just has to be fun and it needs to make you want to surf that board."

One of Danny's favourite images created by Surfpaints' equipment was a drawing of a seal on the bottom of a board asking sharks politely, "please don't eat me". Another was a can of the quintessentially Australian beverage Emu Export.

Since launching the business, Danny has had lots of community support, with local businesses such as Innertube and The Esperance Tide stocking it. He is also working on taking the initiative online, nationwide.

Danny admitted being slightly daunted at launching a small business, but decided to have a go anyways.

"You never know how it's going to go and you hear that only one in 10 small businesses actually make it,' he said.

"But at the same time, you'll never know until you try and I really feel passionate about this. It's not like I'm trying to make a million dollars.

"I'm a teacher by trade, but this is something I really enjoy doing on the side.

"If it does take off, awesome. And if it doesn't, I'm happy to have had a crack at it and have had a bit of fun along the way."

Danny will run a workshop at the Cannery on Sunday, November 24 from 2pm to 4pm. The workshop will run through the entire process including sanding, waxing, painting and drawing.

Participants are asked to bring their own boards. The Cannery has also asked for spare or broken boards to be donated for the workshops. To register click here.