TON / DEKEN
Born in raised in Sumner Christchurch, Ton Deken began to turn heads in the surf as a young teenage grom, enough so that he got the attention of Dennis Quane one of NZ’s first ever surfboard manufacturers and was given two surfboards in a sponsorship deal. Ton then began to kick around the surfboard factories and began working for Tatin Surfboards fixing dings and sanding boards. In 1972 Ton went to Taranaki for the National Champs and loved it so much he never went home and settled in Taranaki as a 16-year-old. He picked up work with Del Surfboards under Nigel Dwyer and Robbie Walsh, sanding and fixing dings before he was offered a shaping position with Tom Smithers out at Oakura where he lives to this day. Ton shaped boards until 1983 when he decided to head on out into the world to earn real money with a young family on the way. Ton won the National Champs 3X in 78, 80 and 81. He was also the winner of several Pro-Am events back in the 70’s-80’s when Australians such as Derek Hynd and Ian Cairns were regular competition visitors. Ton made the top 32 (the main event in those days) in the Stubbies Event at Burleigh Heads one of the biggest comps of that era. Surfers of that era credit Ton as being one of the hardest competitors they’ve ever surfed against, one who wouldn’t give an inch once the hooter went. He also repressed NZ at the first surf contest ever held in Indonesia the OM Bali Pro held at Uluwatu where he gained international notoriety for his power surfing. Ton still actively surfs most swells at home in Taranaki.
ABOVE: Ton slotted in a Padang Padang pit early 80’s Bali and (LEFT) with a quiver of his own shapes late 70’s