Luke “Gully” Allee is a young California surfer/shaper who creates hand-foiled fins and handplanes for Almond Surfboards. Following in the DIY footsteps of Cyrus Sutton, Gully has made a lifestyle out of surfing and woodworking. We caught up with him to learn more.
What was your childhood like?
I spent a lot of time helping my Dad make projects. I grew up in Costa Mesa, California in a house that my Dad built.
When did you get your first surfboard?
My first surfboard was a yellow soft-top when I was 11. I got my first real surfboard from Dave Allee at Almond when I was 12.
Where did you get the nickname Gully?
I was telling my cousin a story about a seagull who swooped down and snatched a starfish off the beach while we were surfing. The seagull sat on the shore and swallowed the starfish whole. I acted out the whole story to Dave who was too busy laughing to listen to the details. Somehow he decided that I did a pretty good seagull impression and that I should get a nickname based on that. It was right then that he started calling me Gully.
What inspired you to begin making fins?
Because I knew I could do it better than Taylor and Dave, who were trying to make them when Dave first started making boards. They were making wooden fins that were okay, but I was confident I could do a better job.
Of all the places you have traveled to, what place in particular stands out? And why?
I go camping a lot. I really enjoy camping and the outdoors. I haven’t traveled outside the country yet, but I want to someday. I really want to go to Japan. And I really want to go to Costa Rica to go surfing.
Who/what inspires you?
My Dad, who taught me everything I know about wood-working. Griffin Neumann-Kyle who taught me how to prank-call people and he shows me the best youtube videos.
What are you most proud of?
Completing a new fin that I spent a lot of time on. Especially when it’s a new design.
What meaning does surfing hold for you and how has it changed your life?
Surfing has given me a chance to spend time with my brother and cousin. They started taking me surfing with them when I was 11. When I was 12, I started helping out my cousin Dave by making fins for Almond. Surfing has given me opportunities in the water and out of the water.
What brings you the most happiness in the world?
Seeing the finished product of something I’ve worked hard on. Either a fin or a handplane or another project at home.
Who are some of the people you feel are shaping the path for surfing today?
Cyrus Sutton, because he is all about making stuff yourself. As someone who enjoys making stuff, I really like Cyrus’ videos. And he has been very encouraging to me. John Cherry spent the day with me a few months ago. He gave me tips on fin-making and showed me some of the projects he was working on. John makes incredible wooden fins and surfboards.
What is your favorite board? Your favorite surfspot?
My new 9’1 Almond Pinwheel. It’s getting glassed right now by Greg Martz, but I can already tell it’s going to be my favorite board. I was riding a 8’10 Lumberjack, but since I made Surf Team for next Fall I need a board that’s at least 9′ long. I made myself a checker fin for this new board. (pictured)
What’s your favorite meal?
Hawaiian Pizza from Pizza Bakery.
What are you currently listening to on your iPod?
Whatever my brother Taylor listens to, because I mostly listen to music in his car. I don’t listen to music while I work in the garage. The power tools are too loud.
What are you most grateful for?
I’m grateful for my family and the woodworking knowledge my Dad has given me. And all of the fun people I’ve gotten to meet through surfing and Almond.
What’s next for Gully?
Continuing to make all sorts of new fins and hand planes. Maybe try making a few skateboard decks. I want to try making an alaia soon too. Then I want to learn how to surf it. And I’m starting High School this year, so that will be all new.