Is there a Richo in your shed?
One of the great pleasures putting this book together has been getting in touch with great surfer/shapers I’ve known over the years, guys like Simon Anderson and Wayne Lynch. People who surfed at the highest level and made a living from shaping are now a rarity. At the 1976 Surfabout over half the competitors were leading shapers, yet at any contest on the current world tour there are none.
‘That calibre of surfer shaper is just not around, there’s very few of them,’ said Wayne. ‘I see the commercialism destroying the very thing that was the pinnacle of surfing. All the people that contributed the most were all surfer-shapers. Not in the modern era, but historically. You had your ideas, if you wanted to develop your surfing you had to shape and design. You could work with other people but it doesn’t work anywhere near as well as when you do it.’
Shaping was always my edge as a pro surfer, I soaked up ideas at contests, in Hawaii, in Bali, wherever something new and exciting was emerging, then brought it home and made my version, put my spin on it. The feeling of looking at a fresh blank and imagining what I’m going to make out of it never gets old.
Like me, Wayne Lynch started shaping as a young teenager. ‘When I’m shaping and people ask me why I take so much time, especially towards the end. If I just hurry that through it’s not the same. It’s about the feeling of putting the right amount in and taking the right amount out. Another shaper can’t do it to that degree for you.’
These days a lot of my boards are bought by collectors, especially the authentic bonzers, but they’re all made to surf. There’s a design encyclopaedia in my head, every shape has its own story and pedigree. I’ve been doing it for fifty years – there’s a lot of Richos out there!