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Focus on the Prod Quad

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: Read more

Musicians: Jalopy

By Jody W. Wood

South Coast Surf Shops’ webmaster, Chris McGreal, is an artist in every since of the word. Not just with graphics and design, but Chris is also part of several original music groups around San Diego, including Superunloader and Transcendental Railroad.

Chris’ creativity wasn’t limited to making music. He’s been doing web design for South Coast for quite a few years now, and his girlfriend Jaime handles order fulfillment and customer support for online sales.

“It has a nice, small business vibe, more like a family business,” Chris said of his gig with South Coast.

The words “family” and “vibe” come to mind listening to Jalopy, yet another project for the multi-instrumentalist. Chris, who plays bass in Superunloader, plays tenor banjo in Jalopy.

Jalopy is made up of seven musicians, whom Chris describes as “strange and inspiring hominids.” Gabe Feenberg plays accordion, Rachael Winn on Violin, Justin Werner on guitar, Nachman on mandolin and lute, Ross Hendler on upright bass, Chad Farran on cajon and flute and Chris on banjo. Everyone helps out with singing, according to Chris.

Gabe, Nachman, and Ross grew up together in LaJolla, and played in several projects over the years. Justin and Rachael performed as a couple, while Chad and Chris made up the rhythm section of several bands around town for a long time. Once they got together, they realized that a few of them had actually split the bill at shows over the years.

Jalopy, in this form, is just over a year old and Chris said that they would really love to get all of their music recorded possibly as soon as the end of summer. “We save all the money from performing as our recording fund, but getting the seven of us together is like herding cats,” said Chris.

Talking about influences, Chris mentions Tom Waits, Nick Drake, and Fishtank Ensemble. Comparing Jalopy to Superunloader, Chris said, “Superunloader is like riding down a country road on a mufflerless hog with a suicide shifter. Jalopy is like riding down the same road on a mule-drawn antique gypsy wagon. Both are totally enjoyable, but in completely different ways.”

Chris also finds some time for surfing when he gets a chance. “I ride all sorts of boards and surf as much as I can. I like longboarding and shortboarding about equally, but of my favorite boards of all time is a 6’4″ Reality Check shaped by Robin Prodanovich.”

Check out Jalopy on Myspace.com and see what you think, or if you live in OB, look for them busking on the sidewalk at the Farmer’s Market. It’s far more alternative than what your local DJ is telling you.http://www.myspace.com/jalopystreetchoir

Jay Christensen

By Jody W. Wood

Here’s a look at one of the best young surfer’s on the South Coast team. His name is Jay Christensen and he’s already making a name for himself in the local line-up and at contests. You might see him out at the Crystal Pier, or PB Point, or Taco Surf for some post-session grinds. Check him out in this month’s issue of Surfshot magazine with the South Coast Grom Model surfboard. South Coast Windansea’s Eric “Bird” Huffman says he’s one of the hardest working up and coming young surfers that he’s seen in the last fifteen years. “He’s very dedicated to surfing and his father is really supportive of him as well. He’s got a bright future ahead of him if he keeps his head on straight,” said Bird.

What is your full name?
Jay Christenson

How old are you?
11 years old

How long have you been surfing?
Four years

What kind of board do you ride?
5’2″ South Coast thumb-tail, by Robin Prodanovich.

What is your favorite place to surf?
My favorite spots are PB Point, the Crystal Pier, and Blacks.

What is your favorite manuever?
Front-side tail-slide!

How do you feel about surfing contests?
I feel good in contests, because I know I have to go big and make it!

Who are your favorite people to surf with?
John Norris, the Ruysschaert brothers, Mackanzie & my dad, Greg.

Who has had the biggest influence on you as far as surfing goes?
My dad, “Bird”, and Johnny.

Where do you see yourself in five years?
Doing every contest available and doing good in school.

Who are your sponsors?
South Coast Surf Shop, Hoodlamb Clothing, Taco Surf, FCS, and Gorilla Grip.

Anyone you’d like to say hello or thanks to?
Thanks to my dad for support and rides to all the contests, to Bird for all his wisdom & support, and to Robin Prodanovich for the sweet boards. And huge props to Sam and Cindi at Taco Surf for keeping me fat and happy. Love You Mom!

2007 CONTEST RESULTS
Sun Diego / Ezekiel Pro-Am Event #1 ~ 2ND Place
Sun Diego / Ezekiel Pro-Am Event #2 ~ 3RD Place
Sun Diego / Ezekiel Pro-Am Event #1 ~ 5TH & 1ST Place (Up 1 age Div.)
Sun Diego / Ezekiel Pro-Am Event #1 ~ 3RD Place
Koastal Kaos / No Fear Surf Series Event #1 ~ 3RD Place
Koastal Kaos / No Fear Surf Series Event #3 ~ 4TH Place
Koastal Kaos / No Fear Surf Series Event #4 ~ 4TH Place
NSSA EXPLORER Event #2 ~ 6TH Place
NSSA EXPLORER Event #3 ~ 10TH Place
NSSA EXPLORER Event #4 ~ 13TH Place
NSSA OPEN Event #2 ~ 13TH Place
NSSA OPEN Event #3 ~ 16TH Place
YMCA Surf Series Event #1 ~ 5TH Place
YMCA Surf Series Event #2 ~ 1ST Place
Revolt Style Surf Series Final Event ~ 1ST Place (17 yr. Under)
13TH Annual Jetty Kids Kontest ~ 3RD Place
3 Churches Fall Surf Classic ~ 2ND Place & 3RD Place (Up 1 age Div.)
WindanSea Annual Menehune Contest ~ 4Th Place in Repo.

Robin Prodanovich

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.

Shaper Profile with Robin Prodanovich

By Jody W. Wood

Robin Prodanovich is a San Diego-native, long time surfer and shaper, down right nice guy. He’s been shaping custom boards now longer that most of the guys in the lineup have been alive. He’s seen a thing or two in his days and I always enjoy talking boards and surf with him. I had the chance to ask him a few questions about his recent travels and thoughts on boards and design and here’s what came of it.

Robin, you’ve been shaping for several years now and have seen trends in design come and go. What shapes are you currently stoked about and/or riding yourself?

After 35 years of shaping I’ve made myself some really good boards and I’m totally stoked on the board I’m riding right now. It is a 6’2″ x 20.25 five plug quad/tri-fin design. The board can be ridden as either a tri-fin or a quad and I’ve been riding it exclusively as a quad fin in surf from knee high to a foot or so overhead with exciting results. I designed the board for groveling but it has better than expected range.

If you had to pick one board to ride all summer long what would it be?

Definitely the one I’m currently riding, I don’t think I would change a thing.

You recently visited Costa Rica. What was the highlight of the trip for you?

I loved everything about Costa Rica, the people, the weather, the lack of biting bugs, the cool 1 hour flight in the little 12 passenger airplane from San Jose to Puerto Jimenez…but the definite highlight was walking through the jungle, stepping out onto the beach and seeing Backwash going off at two feet overhead with light offshore wind and flawless conditions with just a few people in the line-up. I surfed until dark with both of my kids.

How was the surf while you were there?

We were on the Osa Peninsula and the surfed ranged from a couple of feet overhead to waist high toward the end of the trip. The point break Pan Dulce was really fun, nice long ripable waves; Backwash had some juice and Matapalo had its moments. I’d give the surf an 8 out of 10.

What would you say have been your major influences in your shaping career?

My father for teaching me how to work efficiently, Gordon and Smith for giving me nine years and hundreds of boards to learn how to shape, Mike Eaton for teaching me the importance of bottom contours, and designing and shaping surfboards for South Coast Surf Shops for the last 20 years.

Have your surfing influences impacting your shaping?

Yes, definitely. I ride shortboards exclusively (I don’t own a longboard) and am amazed at how great a well shaped/designed board feels under my feet. But at the same time I’m watching other surfers in the water to stay in tune with the demands that are being placed on the modern shortboard design. I’m always looking for improvements.

You’ve shaped for a number of different board companies, as well your own label. Was there any one time in your career that was pivotal in how you shape and design or more of a gradual process?

I would say the process was gradual. Year after year, board after board, learning something new every day.

Again, you’ve seen changes in design, technology, and technique throughout your career. What do feel was the most drastic or redefining point in design evolution?

Without a doubt, Simon Anderson’s 3-fin thruster design sent shortboard performance to a new level. The use of carefully placed bottom contours and highly refined removable fins has bumped performance to yet another level.

Robin, thank you for your time and I look forward to seeing you again around the shop or in the water.

Come in to South Coast Surf Shops to check out one of Robin Prodanovich’s designs, including the Swegg, Mod Quad, Quad DT, DefCon3, DefCon4, CR3 longboards, Reality Check and many more!

Read Robin’s shaper bio with photos.