In the mid 1950's Malibu was at the center of the surfing universe and a variety of surfboard manufacturers were popping up to fill the demand for quality surfboards. Tom Flaherty was running a sailing and diving shop in Malibu at this time, and plunged into the fast growing market with boards he was personally shaping and glassing. His craftsmanship quickly gained a following and Flaherty began employing guest shapers and glassers including names like Donald Takayama and Wayne Miyata. The Flaherty continued to flourish in over the following decade with shops opening in Venice, Hollywood, the San Fernando Valley, and Waikiki Beach in Hawaii. Flaherty was popular amongst serious surfers due to his focus on designs that enhanced performance and also venturing in the use of new materials. Flaherty was one of the first manufacturers to incorporate foam, allowing his boards to lose weight and gain maneuverability and speed. Tom was also well known for producing some of the finest big wave guns of the era, capable of challenging the North Shore's most fierce waves.