South Coast Shaper Robin Prodanovich and the “Prod-quad”

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and overall waterman, Robin picked up his first blank in 1968 by stripping an old beat up board and used somewhat outdated technology to shape his first board.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.

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

Larry Ricci

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

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/Designer Larry Ricci Explains The Grom Model

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.”