Coconut Wireless Logo Waveriders Gallery Logo
Waveriders Gallery Photography Paintings Specials Posters Boards Books Blog About October 2007
Newsletter Issue #8


Welcome back folks! It's our opinion around here that planing a blank of foam into a surfboard is no different than chiseling a block of marble into a Greek God or a naked, winged baby. That's why we were stoked when Randy Rarick, a true Michelangelo of surfboard shaping if there ever was one, agreed to answer a couple of questions from us about his life as a surf industry stalwart. Randy's insights on the art of board making and the world of surfing in general are at once humorous and prophetic, and we thank him for taking the time to wax sentimental with us. Speaking of waxing sentimental, our vintage section is back up and running with contributions from legendary surf lensman Grant Rohloff. We'd also like to welcome renowned surf photographer David Pu'u to the site - you can check out his work here. Until next time...

The Waveriders Gallery Crew

P.S. On a more serious note, our thoughts and well-wishes go out to our fellow San Diegans, as well as our neighbors to the north in L.A. & Orange County, who have been impacted by the wildfires that still rage around Southern California. It is our hope that you and your families are safe and sound and that this situation can get under control as quickly as possible. If you'd like to make a donation to the Red Cross to assist with the fire relief effort, you can do so here.

Inside the Studio

randy rarickFrom his days as a ding-repairing grom at Greg Noll surfboards to his recent role as surf auctioneer extraordinaire, Randy Rarick's effect on the industry of surfing has been profound to say the least. We caught up with this surfing great to discuss his past, present and future ties to the world of wave riding.

Since first working with a planer in 1964, your trail through life has been, if I may say, the stuff of legend. For those of our readers who aren't as familiar with your history, could you give us a brief overview of how your career started and where it led you as a shaper?

"I first learned to surf in Waikiki when legendary beach boy Rabbit Kekai taught me at age 10. By the time I was 12, I was hooked on surfing. One day I walked into the Bohemian Surf Properties factory (which was the old Hawaii Velzy shop), and was intoxicated with the smell of resin. I knew then and there, that I wanted to learn to work on surfboards!

I started to fix boards at 12 years old and shaped my first board at 13, which was a stripped-down Takayama/Velzy with curved outboard stringers. I tried to shape it with an oscillating sander and couldn't figure out why the stringer stayed harder than the foam! The best part was when I went to glass it, I didn't know you were supposed to unwind the fiberglass rope to lay the fin up and couldn't figure out why the rope wouldn't go clear next to the fin! Talk about a babe in the woods! Basically by trial and error and watching both Dick Brewer thru the back door of the old Surfboards Hawaii shop in Haleiwa and Mickey Lake at the Inter-Island Surf Shop in Honolulu, I learned enough to shape my first "real" board at 14. I made a board for Dennis Pang (who is now a world class shaper on the North Shore), and while trying to even up the cuts it came out at about 2 1/2" thick. This was thin at the time, but for 98 lb. Dennis it was perfect! Around that time I got a job in the repair shop at Surf Line Hawaii and we did all the repairs for the Hobie shop as well, so at a very early age, I learned the art of repair, glassing and by default, shaping. I worked my way thru high school at Surf Line until I was 18."

Your experience in the art of board creation is extensive to say the least. What advice would you give to those of our readers who are aspiring to follow in your footsteps as a shaper?

randy rarick"After shaping over 12,000 surfboards, what I can say is: DO IT ALL!!! Get dirty! Fix dings before you do anything else! It's the shittiest job there is but if you can learn to appreciate that, you can do anything! Plus, you'll have the ability to check out every other shaper's "shape" and then you'll get an "eye" for the varieties of various shapes. Everyone wants to be a "shaper" - it's the sexiest job with the most ego attachment. But if you learn to glass, sand, polish, route fin boxes - everything else - then shaping will fall into your lap. But, if you want to make money in the production of boards, take the crappiest task, get good at it and you'll always be in demand and you'll always have a job!"

The disappearance of Clark Foam as the main provider of surfboard blanks as well as the adoption of new technology by shapers the world over has definitely shaken up the process of making a surfboard. Do you feel this new wave of board creation has had a negative effect on the art of shaping, or does it mark the beginning of a new golden age of sorts?

"It's actually a blessing in disguise. We were working with 40 year old technology and it's so refreshing to see a whole plethora of new materials being tried. There will always be a need for R & D (research and development) and I think what's nice about the Clark demise is it's shaken out the peripheral guys and left the hard core guys there to develop the next generation of designs. We're always going to need guys to keep progressing the contemporary surfboard and what is "deemed" as progressive or contemporary surfing, so I think the designer and the guy who is working with the "pros" is always going to have a place. I mean think about it, how many guys do you know who are making snowboards in their backyard? We are actually an amazing "cottage" industry that has prevailed much longer than we should have!"

You were instrumental in the creation of International Professional Surfing (IPS), the predecessor of today's Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP). When you were dreaming up IPS with Fred Hemmings, did you ever think professional surfing would achieve its current status as a world-wide phenomenon?

"In 1969, Fred Hemmings wrote an essay for SURFER that was titled: "Pro Surfing is White." Basically he said the pro movement was coming and that it would be good for surfing. Someone else wrote that is was "Gray" and was wishy-washy on it, and someone else wrote that it was "Black," which was basically a put-down on commercialization. EVERY THING that Fred predicted in 1969 has come to pass in the modern era! I'm just surprised it took as long as it did. I thought that pro surfing would be on a scale with pro tennis by the early to mid 80's and it took a decade longer than that! We wanted to explain to the world that surfers were "legitimate" sportsmen and not a bunch of druggy bums - that was the impression in the 70's! We felt that a select few of the elite competitors could guide the sport and showcase surfing to the rest of the world, allowing a "lifestyle" endeavor to actually be considered a "sport". When you look at all the other off-shoot "extreme" sports (skateboarding, snowboarding, kite boarding, etc), surfing is the "grand-daddy" that is still true to its roots yet sets the pace for all these other sports to follow. Because of that, more and more people have wanted to experience it and that has contributed to its growth as a world-wide phenomenon."

There are some who feel that the ASP tour has been detrimental to surfing's core values of self-expression and rejection of commercialism in favor of personal growth and fulfillment. How do you answer those that feel the ASP has had a negative effect on the "soul" of surfing?

randy rarick"I have to laugh at that, since as I mentioned before, it's the same rap as the guy who saw pro surfing as "black" all the way back in 1969! Hey, it's a personal expression! If you don't like pro contests, then don't watch them! Or, if you think surf videos are selling out the spot, then don't watch them either or don't buy them! Just go surf! It's as "soulful" or personal as you want to make it! Is Tiger Woods selling out golf because he's good or does endorsements? Go down to your local course and shoot 9 holes and you can be as soulful as you want and not worry if Tiger is a better player than you! Go down to your local surf spot and ride a couple waves and you can be way more soulful than Kelly Slater and feel real good about it! And you can come in, drink a beer with your buddy who just shot a round of golf and the two of you can be the most soulful brothers on the planet! It's all what you make of it yourself!"

The turnout for your Hawaiian Vintage Surf Auction was incredible this year. Were you surprised at how many people came out for an event that primarily showcased the top surfers and shapers of yesteryear?

"This was my fourth biennial auction, so we have done one in 2001, 2003 and 2005. After three previous auctions, I had kind of figured out what works, what the collectors were looking for and what it would take to make it a very successful auction. We held it online, we had overseas bidders and we had probably the best line up of collectables ever gathered in one place. All that along with great attendance, icon attendees and savvy promotion combined to make it a great gathering. It exceeded my expectations, but in retrospect, had I known then what I know now, we actually could have done even better! What has happened is that surf collectables (the good ones, not the schlock or cheap sale used stuff) have moved into a new realm of valuation and credibility. It's kind of like going to a Barrett-Jackson Auto Auction and seeing the best buyers looking for the best items. Throw in a social gathering of the tribe and all the elements come together to make for a special happening. So, done right, not only do you see great results, but you see our history being preserved, presented and ultimately appreciated by those who want to showcase it for future generations to appreciate!"

What are your plans for the future of the auction?

"We're looking at taking it up a notch for 2009. It takes me about two years to source the items, dial them in for great presentation and then ensure we have what will be considered a valuable contribution to the sport, the art and what surfing truly represents. So ask me a year from now how we're doing and hopefully I'll give you a positive update!"

Last issue we asked a few of our friends from the ASR trade show about the art that decorates their homes and offices. So, how 'bout it? What's hanging on the walls of the Rarick household?

"Ha ha! That one I need to let my wife answer! Actually, there is very little "surf" stuff in my living room or house. My wife feels I do that day in and day out, so she reserves the house for "family." I've got some really nice "island" art, but not much surf stuff in my house. My shaping room, however, is a "Wall of Fame" of old labels from boards I have restored. I also have personal boards from Dewey, Diff, Greg Noll, Rich Harbour, Alan Byrne, Mark Richards, Lopez, Parmenter, McTavish and a host of other shapers who I have had make boards for me. My office has mementos from Lance Carson, Fred Hemmings, Greg Noll, Steve Bigler, Nat Young, Skip Frye, Donald Takayama and a wide variety of other surfers and shapers who I have interacted with over the years. Probably one of the oddest things is my collection of randy rarick"match box" sized military tanks, which is my favorite. I have over 200 of them and they range from ones worth 25 cents to ones worth hundreds of dollars. Since I was a little kid I always wanted to be a tank driver! So, while I interact with the most famous surfers and shapers in the world, my little slice of paradise at Sunset Beach is really quite simple."

Thanks for taking the time to talk to us, Randy! Anything else you'd like to say to our readers before we let you go?

"Hope you've enjoyed a glimpse into my life and I just hope all the readers have as good of life as I enjoy!"

View Randy Rarick's Boards

Off the lip

Surfing, It's like the mafia; once you're in, you're in.
There's no getting out

--Kelly Slater

hand printHave an idea for an article? Need to tell us about something we missed or what we can do to improve? Email all questions, comments, critiques, etc. to If you’d like to subscribe a friend, go here.

Sipping Jetstreams

Select Images on Sale!
For a short time only we're offering these choice prints at a discount. Check it...

upcoming exhibits
Swedish photographer Thor Jonsson will be exhibiting at Fotomassan 2007 in Stockholm from November 16th through the 18th. This is Northern Europe's largest photographic event and will feature Sweden's top 14 photographers. The exhibit is located at Factory Nacka Strand, Augustendalstorget 6, 131 26 Nacka Strand and should prove to be a fantastic show. If you are in the region we strongly urge you to check it out! For more info on the event please visit

Photographer Sean Davey will be attending the Alma Surf Show in Brazil along with Green Room artist Jay Alders. The event was put together to demonstrate the social and cultural aspects of our beloved sport and kicks off in Sao Paulo, Brazil on November 19th at the Museum da Imagem e do Som. If you would like more information, check out Jay will also be part of the Surf Taco Art Show in Belmar, NJ on November 16th. Hurley is co-sponsoring the event, which means everyone attending will have a chance to win some sweet gear! More information can be found at

Ron Croci, who was recently asked to submit a logo for the Island Nation of Samoa, has just finished the final studies for a graphic novel developed exclusively for web-ready cell phones. He is also preparing some new pieces for the one year anniversary of McKibben Studios in Corona Del Mar. The event will be held on November 10th at 3100 E. Coast Highway and will also feature Waveriders Gallery artists Norm Daniels and Tony Spineto.

Surf Artist Meegan Feori has lined up a booth at the Pointsettia Festival in Encinitas, which will be held on November 18th from 9am - 5pm on Pacific Coast Highway between South Encinitas Blvd. and E St. The event will also feature live music and food, so be sure to make a day of it! For more information you can contact the Downtown Encinitas Mainstreet Association through their Website.

Heather Brown's work will be on display at the Wyland Gallery's Surf & Wave Art Show at 66-250 Kamehameha Hwy. in Haleiwa, Hawaii. The event will take place on November 4th from 6pm - 10pm and will also feature Waveriders photographer Sean Davey as well as a live music performance with surf legend Tom Curren on drums.

David Pu'u was raised in Santa Barbara, California. In 1996, after a twenty year career in the surf industry, Pu'u terminated his role as a corporate CEO in favor of pursuing his passion for photography and cinematography. Since then he has established himself as a leading editorial photographer with work regularly appearing in publications worldwide. Preferring to shoot from the water, jet skis, helicopters, airplanes, and moving vehicles, Pu'u relishes a one-on-one interaction with the environment of his subjects. Grant Rohloff was born in Hollywood, California in 1935 and started surfing in the early 50's. His love of the sport led him to a brief apprenticeship with Surfer Magazine founder and legendary surf filmmaker John Severson, which in turn led to his own career as a still photographer and filmmaker. Grant's first project, "The Wonderful World of Surfing," was released in 1960 and was followed by 12 other surf films, including the highly acclaimed "Men Who Ride Mountains." Rohloff always began his movies with a comic scene in keeping with his mission to not only inform with his films, but to entertain. To Grant, filmmaking, photography and surfing were much more than a vocation; they were a way of life. Every month we get brilliant submissions from painters and photographers around the world both established and unknown. Carefully picking through these submissions we select a handful of choice photos and paintings to put "on exhibit." In this small way we can introduce you to new artists (or at least new to you). It is our pleasure to present these unique pieces for your enjoyment and purchase.

Surfriders Foundation

Connect with Waveriders Gallery
Online:      Phone: 1.858.539.2680

If you prefer not to receive future e-mails from Waveriders Gallery, please click here-

Small Waveriders LogoWaveriders Gallery, 677 Turquoise Street, La Jolla, CA 92037
© 2006-2007 Waveriders Gallery. All rights reserved.