YOU KNOW YOU’RE a workaholic when your side interest is more like a second career than a relaxing diversion. For Dr. Dan Boehne, though, who has been designing and shaping surfboards (and surfing, of course) since he was a kid, it only makes sense. Hearing him wax poetic about waves and boards, then shift effortlessly to elaborate discussion of endodontics, you begin to wonder if he considers any of it work.

“I call it more of a hobby at this point,” he says of surfing and board design. The 38-year-old, who has been practicing dentistry since 2004, opened his practice, Dana Point Endodontics (just south of Los Angeles), in November 2014. He’s also the on-call board shaper for some of the best surfers in the world, including Jamie O’Brien and Albee Layer. His medical path wasn’t always a foregone conclusion, however.

“I definitely didn’t grow up thinking I wanted to be a dentist,” Dr. Boehne says, but a volunteer venture with college friends through the Flying Samaritans medical- mission program helped nudge him along: “I gravitated toward dentistry for a couple of reasons. You sit down and make something, and can have an immediate impact.”
He makes an impact in the classroom, too, teaching endodontics courses at UCLA, where he and a colleague, Dr. Shane White, developed a hands-on technique DVD that was the first of its kind at the school.

He still surfs regularly (“used to be twice a day,” he laments) and was recently invited to surf in the trials of the Billabong Pro Teahupoo competition in Hawaii. Shaping boards might be strictly a side gig now, but it remains every bit as satisfying as his efforts in the operatory. “When you work with really good surfers you get good feedback, which helps to make better boards,” he says. “Surfers now put out Web episodes of their surfing. I still find it really fascinating to see athletes do things that nobody else has done before, on my boards.” He laughs. “It’s strange to think that those boards were made by this random dentist guy.”