Justin Ternes, the mastermind behind Dark Arts Surf, began his glassing career as an eighteen-year-old kid, flipping through the yellow pages in search of a job in the space he loved most. Surfing had become an essential part of life. In the peripheral, he was a punk-rock bassist in the rural environs of Jamul, a country suburb on the outskirts of San Diego.

In 1990, he walked into Fiber Glass Works, a glassing shop near Mission Beach, with grit and a hungry heart. Before long, Justin’s natural ingenuity brought his hands in contact with every part of the surfboard making process. He worked with industry-leading brands like Rusty and Channel Islands. He dove deeper into the surfboard-making-world, rubbing shoulders and resin-stained skin with crafting greats Stu Kenos, Hank Warner, and Chris Christenson. The overflow of new knowledge, ability, and a desire to offer the surfing world a missing puzzle piece birthed JT Shapes in 2001. 

While continuing in production and shaping, FireWire recognized Justin’s skill in 2006 upon opening their new factory in San Diego. They hired him as their production manager. Justin’s eyes grew wider, and his expertise twofold as they explored alternative and creative ways of making a surfboard. After a few years, to cut costs, FireWire moved production to Thailand. This change forced Justin to solve surfboard production and shaping problems and improve on industry offerings.

Justin then soon built a 600 square foot functioning factory plus two shipping containers, on his land in Jamul. Here he put his nose to the grindstone further still and perfected the Carbon vacuum EPS surfboard. Meanwhile, shapers and riders alike continued to request his talents as respect for the quality of his work grew in Southern California and out into the World Surf League. In 2018, Dark Arts Surf rose for the masses from a journey seeded in finding answers and missing parts with a single-visioned goal of shaping and producing world-class surfboards.