John Parton shaped and glassed his first surfboard in 1965 while living in Hawaii. After freelance shaping for Ted James’ FOX Surfboards in South Florida for several years, Ted offered Parton a full-time position and eventually the opportunity to become a partner in the surfboard manufacturing and retail store operations in 1975. Parton thrived in his new role and became the driving force behind the growth of the FOX brand, opening three Palm Beach County Surf Shop locations, initiating multiple factory moves as the board building business grew, and built tens of thousands of surfboards.
Parton surfed a lot and was known to have a good time. He’s still at it today, having relocated the factory to Brevard County In 2016 where he shapes and runs a high capacity APS3000 CNC shaping machine using Shape3D design software. Along with shaping for FOX, he also shapes boards for Kechele, C Shapes, Nomad, Ricky Carroll, Rich Price, Richard Munson, Quiet Flight and many others.
In nearly 55 years building surfboards, Parton has worked with the best: Larry Pope, Ted James, Fred Grosskreutz, Greg Loehr, Gary Propper, Phil Roberts, Bruce Walker, Lewis Graves, Ross Houston, Mike Nemnick, Pat McCoy Wilcox and others. Parton is a well-known fixture in the Florida surfboard building community and continues to be one of the sport’s primary leaders.
Photos by Dick “Mez” Meseroll / ESM and courtesy of John Parton / Fox