South Coast Shapers
South Coast Shapers
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 five stores here in San Diego.
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 five 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.