Shapers

Summer is quickly approaching and you still haven’t picked up that surfboard that will set you apart from every “Joe Six Pack”, and visiting tourist from Iowa. You’ve checked out our shaper series over the past few weeks and have loved all the great big board designs, but are still left with that desire to break free from the monotony of traditional summer shapes. Maybe you even have a classic fish and have ridden that thing to death. Time to take a look at a design so new shaper Larry Ricci just generated a name to go along with it. A board born by “accident”, the Arrowhead Fish is upon us.

Sometimes shapers tinker with current designs and end up with a shape that they think will rip. Often, in most cases such as this one, a board is created when a shaper is reproducing a standard and gets a little too crazy with the foam. Larry Ricci had this happen to him recently while shaping a classic fish model and decided to run with it. After a few of the South Coast shop riders took it out, they fell in love with this beautiful “mess-up”. As you can see it has a pulled in nose for increased performance and a wider double wing cut. Both of these features as Larry mentions will turn a classic into a speed machine. Perfect for many wave conditions and just a fun board to substitute for the egg or noserider you might be currently ripping on.

All South Coast boards are proudly shaped and glassed in the United States. With quality built into all of our boards, you know that they will last longer and hold up better than new “pop-out” boards, or surfboards that are shaped in China. Support our economy as well as the local surf shop and pick up one at any of our five South Coast locations. This board is available for demo, so try one on before making that big investment. Stop in at South Coast.com to take a look at our large selection of South Coast surfboards or any of your surf accessory and clothing needs. Check back in the future for more from our shapers and boards they believe you will love.

When you picture a shaper, what do you imagine they look like? Often a shaper is the “man behind the curtain” in the surf industry. Most people have heard of Rusty, Al Merrick, and Erick Arakawa when it comes to the big names in shaping. Amazingly enough, these giants in the industry only make up a percentage of all boards ridden in the U.S. The odds of you getting one of these gentleman to personally shape a board for you is pretty limited unless you’ve got an immense bankroll. Well Jason, where can we go then for an affordable and quality made surfboard? Wait for it……

As we’ve talked about over the past few blogs, you know that South Coast employs talented in-house shapers that will meet with you to shape a board by your specifications. Our “shaper series” videos have let you get an insider view of some super fun South Coast boards we have to offer. As I learn more about our shapers, I really start to appreciate their craft and passion for the sport. You’ll know that your getting a quality board and that it’s being put in very competent hands when your speak with them. Not everyone knows what shape or size is perfect for them, but Robin Prodanovich and Larry Ricci have been surfing and shaping for decades. This insider knowledge helps them to put everyone on a board they end up loving. That’s something you can’t always expect when you grab a board from the rack.

We’ve already met and heard from Robin Prodanovich about a few of the boards he’s most excited about. Now take a trip with me to meet another of our great shapers, Larry Ricci. I’ve personally had the pleasure to know Larry for the past four years as an employee at South Coast. Throughout the years I’ve learned many amazing things about his life and philosophy on shaping. Larry has been all over the world and has surfed in almost every possible wave condition you can imagine. Worldly experience has helped him to incorporate this knowledge into his board designs. Robin and Larry both transferred their love for the ocean and surfing into a successful shaping career. Larry started shaping back in the late 70′s and found that his friends loved his designs and wanted him to shape their boards. He was able to take boards from the big names in the business and take what ideas he enjoyed about their boards and mold them into his own shaping. Eventually, Larry was able to springboard his personal shaping success into a career working for some of the best board companies in the world. At South Coast we have been able to lock him down for the past several years. He has shaped more boards then one can count and has come up with some amazing designs you might have ridden already. Anyone who knows Larry, realizes that if you get him started on a conversation about surfboard shapes, your in for at least an hour discussion. Normally that would put anyone to sleep. His passion comes out though in these meetings with him. Someone who loves their job and craft so much has to make a quality board. Larry accomplishes both respect and admiration for those lucky enough to get to share a few moments with him. If you have a chance stop by South Coast and learn more than you would ever expect in a short time with Larry. Don’t let the long hair scare you away! He is one of the most approachable people I have ever had the pleasure to know, and he is happy to shape about any board you might have dreamt about.

In this video Larry will talk about one of his favorite models, the Wing-Quad Fish. The Quad Fish paddles like an old school fish but takes maneuverability to the next level. Single to double concave, cutwing, and quad fin set-up provide increased turning performance in a wide variety of wave conditions. Watch the video and really get a better understanding of what this board can do for you. If you want to learn more about Larry Ricci make sure to click on the link above for some other great articles and interviews with Larry the “Legend”. For all your surfing needs, make sure to stop in at one of South Coast’s five locations or visit us online at southcoast.com.

South Coast Competition Longboard

South Coast Competition Longboard

The great thing about surfing is you will rarely ever get bored with all the sport has to offer. Just when you think you’ve perfected your bottom turn, the guy next to you is throwing monster floaters in your face. You’ve finally conquered your local surf break and some buddies think going to Baja sounds fun….oops, maybe you still have more to take from surfing! As long as the sport keeps evolving, there will always be a way to up the ante in what you can accomplish. Point being, don’t let your surf get rigid because you get comfortable. Over the past few blogs we have had an opportunity to check out the most critical way to change your surfing. In our “shaper series” we’re taking a tour of all the great surfboards that South Coast has to offer. Having in-house shapers allows for the surfing fan to check out different shapes and styles of boards, with the experts helping to direct you onto that perfect board.

South Coast Competition LongboardWe’ve already checked out the Prod-Quad and the Swegg with Robin. Both boards offering some different performance aspects for varying conditions. We hang with Robin for one last time as his talks about the South Coast CK Competition Longboard. One of the great things about South Coast is we have some amazing team riders that help the shapers develop boards with their ideas from surfing. This insider knowledge will provide with killer boards that all levels of surfer will enjoy. This board was shaped with NSSA competitive surfer Chris Koerner in mind. Take one last “safari” with Robin in the series as he walks you through this blog’s featured south coast competition longboard.

Remember kids, all boards and surfing accessories can be picked up at one of our five South Coast locations, or online at southcoat.com. Make sure to check out our sale store, South Coast Closeouts in OB for huge deals on all surfboards.

South Coast Competition Longboard

We continue with our “shaper series”, about some of the hottest surfboard models South Coast Surf Shops has to offer. Last time we checked out the Prod Quad, and got an insider view of all that board could offer. This week we will take a magic carpet ride on the South Coast Swegg, so hold on tight. Come on a tour with Robin Prodanovich as he points out some of the great features that the Swegg will provide you.

Available from 6’8″ to 8’6″ the Swegg is our most popular mid-sized board. Part egg, part modern fish, this multi-fin design paddles great and works in small to overhead surf with ease. Really a fun hybrid board that many levels of surfer will appreciate. If this looks like a board that you can’t wait to get your hands on, stop by any of our five South Coast Surf Shop Locations or online at Southcoast.com. This board is available to demo if you want to see how this baby rides before making the investment.

For many of us it’s difficult to find that surfboard that’s just right. Size, shape, surfability, and cost often are just too much to take in when picking up a board. Fortunately, at South Coast Surf Shops we have in house shapers that can help to make many of those tricky board decisions a lot easier. In the next few blog articles we will take a look a some board designs that our shapers are really stoked on. You’ll get first hand information from the guys behind the scene. Today we’ll take a look at the Prod-Quad surfboard with shaper Robin Prodanovich.

Robin is a perfect example of the an “old school” surfer who turned his love for surfing into something even greater. A long time surfer and overall waterman, Robin picked up his first blank in 1968 by stripping an old beat up board and used somewhat outdated technology to shape his first board. Ever since then he has not looked back and has learned how to change and adapt to an often evolving industry. He had the pleasure of shaping for Rusty and some other major surfboard lines. In 1982 we were lucky enough to grab this valuable free agent to help bolster our own private label boards. Robin has a great story and just hanging out with him for a few minutes, you feel as if you’ve gained years of knowledge about boards. I was able to get a true sense of his passion for shaping and the sport he has grown to love for most of his life. Check out his video to learn about one of the great boards that South Coast has to offer.  Make sure to come into South Coast Surf Shops to try on one of our great boards.

It’s Time for a Reality Check

by Robb on October 15, 2008

By Jody Wood

Last month, Robin Prodanovich and I discussed his latest creation, the Prod Quad. This month, we take a look at another orginal Prodanovich design that is a great choice for the upcoming season. The Reality Check serves many purposes. It is a great transitional board for the entry level surfer who wants to step it up a notch, but also a fine choice for salty rippers as an alternative to their high performance shortboard. It is also not a bad idea for the aging surfer who could use a little more foam to keep your wave count high. Here, Robin goes into the details of the design and its functionality.

Reality Check Surfboard shaped by Robin Prodanovich for South Coast Surf Shops

  • How did the Reality Check design come about? The Reality Check design was born back in 2002. Surfers of all ability levels were struggling on their very low volume shortboards when wave conditions were poor and not having much fun. I saw a need for a shortboard with greater versatility.
  • What separates it from a standard short board design? The RC is basically a standard shortboard that has been filled out. It has standard shortboard proportions based on nose, center and tail widths and is similar in thickness. The biggest difference in planlines between the two boards would be the proportionately wider nose on the RC. The RC bottom contour differs by using the tried and true flat-to-V bottom with attention to the overall rocker curve. [click to continue…]

Focus on the Prod Quad

by jody on September 9, 2008

By Jody W. Wood & Robin Prodanovich

Robin Prodanovich is a San Diego native and long time board shaper for South Coast Surf Shop. He’s an avid shortboarder and doesn’t even own a longboard. Summer time in Southern California can lend itself to plenty of long, hot, and nearly completely flat days.

So, what’s a shortboarder to do after checking the surf day after day and finding another meager set of knee to waist high waves rolling through a crowd of a hundred of our closest friends?

Rather than dragging out a log or an old school fish, Robin decided to take matters into his own hands. He began working on a design of his own that would allow shortboarders to surf those small days, without compromising performance.

Prodanovich Quad Surfboard model by South Coast Surf Shops

The Prod Quad, now available exclusively at South Coast Surf Shops, is the result of his efforts. Here, Robin provides a little insight into how this model came about and what it’s good for: [click to continue…]

Larry Ricci

by Robb on June 13, 2008

Here in San Diego, the coastal topography offers a wide variety of wave conditions. We have beach breaks, point breaks, reefs, jetties, and river mouths that respond differently to various swell direction and size, all in relatively close proximity. Living and surfing in this area the last twenty-five years has certainly been beneficial. I have been fortunate to successfully and consistently design surfboards for a great many individuals (beginners to professionals) in all these conditions.

I’m a lucky guy. I like my “job”. I manage my schedule (for the most part) to my benefit. I get to surf just about anytime I want. The people I work with are wonderful and I can proudly say that many of them are good friends. The monetary rewards are perceptual; however, the above mentioned lifestyle augmentations make it difficult for me to complain because, frankly, I want to surf as much as possible and be available to participate with any swell.

Again, I’m lucky. When I started shaping surfboards for myself in 1979 my friends were impressed enough to ask me to shape boards for them. I would get my hands on Brewers, Lightning Bolts, G&S’, Local Motions’, Robert August and any other prominent shaper’s boards into my shaping bay, study them, trying to think as they were, and then do my best to incorporate those design concepts with mine. I like to think of it as the same as being a contemporary blues guitar player, borrowing (swiping) licks from the masters and amalgamating them with your own ideas to produce something fresh, unique, and thought provoking. A smooth blend between the originators and the innovators with heavy emphasis on the blending process, giving credit where credit is due, primarily to those who envisioned and brought to life the design concepts we all use today.

I say these things because many times I have to remind myself as to how cool all this really is. I get buried in my work like any other rat out there but I get to design and shape surfboards for cryin’ out loud! Of course many swells are missed because of obligations, but when I’m focused on shaping, I’m focused on surfing. I”m imagining how the board I’m shaping at that time will interact with the water rushing underneath and around it. The visualization concept is the common denominator. The application of the surfboard in different parts of the wave keeps my mind “flowing”. Blending technical knowledge with experience and common sense is, I believe, a shapers best “template” for designing successful surfboards.

Which brings me to these final thoughts. We as designers/shapers must educate ourselves, and with open minds, utilize the available technology to not only embellish our current knowledge, but as a springboard to catapult ourselves from the status quo. I’ve been quite fortunate to work with a variety of surfboard companies and exceptionally talented designer/shapers in California, Hawaii, Australia, and Japan who share this philosophy and I feel quite privileged and proud to participate in that philosophy at South Coast Surfboards.

I personally feel anyone, regardless of ability, can enjoy one, many, or any of the surfboard designs currently available at South Coast. If a personalized, custom design is necessary, please share your ideas with a letter, fax, e-mail, or I invite you to visit one of our four stores here in San Diego.

Robin Prodanovich

by Robb on June 13, 2008

As a native of San Diego and having a father that was an avid free diver and spearfisherman, my exposure to the waves and the ocean came at a very early age. My family spent many weekends on the beaches of La Jolla and on the bluffs of Sunset Cliffs while my parents dove for abalone and lobster and speared the occasional unlucky fish that happened to swim by. But, my interest in the ocean was the waves that I saw breaking at Osprey Reef, Luscombs and Garbage Reef. By age twelve, I had my first surfboard and have been hooked ever since.

1968, what a year. I got my first blank by stripping the fiberglass off an old no-name surfboard, and using only a surform hand tool I proceeded to shape myfirst board. For my next attempt I rented a large, extremely powerful planer and with a new Clark Foam blank, produced a board that rode well.

By 1973, I had shaped numerous boards for myself and my friends and decided to make some money. I approached Paul at Gordon and Smith Surfboards, showed him a board I had shaped, and he hired me on the spot. My nine years at G&S were extremely valuable. I shaped a variety of boards and worked closely with Mark Richards on his twin fin designs. This association with Mark gave me the opportunity to go to Australia in 1980 for research and development and a lot of surfing.

In 1982 I decided to break out on my own. I formed Prodanovich Enterprises, producing my own boards and contract shaping for other companies. Some of my accounts included G&S, Nectar and Linden Surfboards. Two years later Local Motion approached me to shape and distribute boards for them along the west coast. I worked with team riders and helped Local Motion with many ASR shows. In 1985 I hooked up with Rusty Surfboards. My association with Rusty as a shaper lasted over 5 years.

Over the last 10 years I pursued other shaping accounts, including South Coast Surfboards. My association with South Coast has grown. I work with South Coast team riders and shape more and more boards for the shops. Designing new shortboards such as the Reality Check and the very short and very wide Saucer has been fun, as has creating the longer boards such as the Winter Pro and the very high performance Slap model. Keeping the four South Coast stores and numerous wholesale accounts stocked with the most current surfboard designs keeps me very busy, but not so busy that I can’t explore Baja California for perfect point breaks or get on the hockey rink but that is another story.

Jody W. Wood

In the past, a lot of young groms who were just getting into surfing, often took to the waves on their dad or older brother’s old board, or maybe an old school, yard sale special. But, the times, they are a changing. Performance, at all age levels, has increased over the years with changes in design and materials. Young groms are ripping at a level not seen by many pros 20 years ago. That type of performance surfing doesn’t happen by accident. Kids are starting out younger and younger, with goals and plans to be professional surfers. And chances are, the kid down the street isn’t riding his dad’s 7’6″ Egg anymore. Now, there are high performance shortboards designed especially for the little guys, scaled down versions of one’s the big boys ride.

Larry Ricci, surfboard shaper/designer for South Coast Surf Shops talks about the Grom Model seen in Surfshot Magazine this month with team rider Jay Christensen.

1. What is the idea behind the Grom Model?

“Over the last ten years the technical ability of younger surfers has improved dramatically. These kids require fine-tuned, high performance surfboards to compliment their ability. They are tireless wave mongers. They want to go fast, get air, carve, snap, and tube ride. Robin Prodanovich and I are just as fired up to provide the vehicle for the next generation.

2. What kind of feedback have you gotten from the kids riding them?

“I’m truly impressed with the articulation and detailed feedback we get from the kids. They are so much more informed and in tune with design concepts than ever before. They understand rocker, outline, rail volume, fins, etc. Their input has been incredibly positive.

3. What sizes are the boards available in?

“Usually 5’10″ and under. Eight year-old team rider Ryland Rubens is currently riding a 4’10″.

4. Do you feel these boards will help speed the learning curve for surfers who might have, in the past, been stuck with their dad’s old board?

“Once they reach a certain performance level, they want a board designed especially for them. They don’t want to ride their dad’s old board anymore.

5. How long have these boards been in the works between yourself and Robin?

“As the performance curve has widened to include younger and younger surfers, so has the demand for the appropriate equipment. Robin and I draw from our years of experience and, especially, rider feedback to continue the development as these kids lead us to the next level.”

6. Are the grom models available in the shops or are they all customs so far?

“There are some grom models in our current inventory, but custom orders are the most popular right now. You can personally speak to Robin or myself about a custom design by appointment.”