Far Rockaway, New York. If you listen close enough you can hear the ocean waves from this perfectly suburban dead-end block. A dog bark. Some friendly neighborhood chatter. Then the whirl of a handheld planer. Follow the sound and you will be lead to a garage tucked behind the house on the left. The surfboard shaper Joey Falcone, aka Joey Clams, calls this garage his “casino” but it would be considered an art studio by an outsider.
Joey was born and raised in this neighborhood where he was inspired by the skateboard and graffiti culture of New York City and the unique surfing culture of Far Rockaway. He learned the basics from local shapers and then took the practice in his own direction. The repetition of the craft brings him to a meditative state. Every time his tools meet the board he is thinking about the ocean. His days start early and are punctuated by checking the surf report. Surf now, or keep shaping? As the day wears on people stop in to pick up their boards, talk shop, and ask about his family. It is all about surfing here at the Casino. And this obsession makes all the difference.