Shaper, Wayne Rich was born and raised in Hermosa Beach, California, growing up on 7th Street, a few blocks up from the famed “Pollard Valley” factories of Bing, Rick, Jacobs, Greg Noll, Dewey Weber, Petrillo, Vardeman, Mobley, Dave Boyce, Body Glove Wetsuits, Pollard Glassing, Bay Cities Glassing and in the 70’s, Shoreline Glassing, Sunrise Glassing, Unity, Reef, Bendiksen, Becker, Wayne Miyata, and more. Growing up in and around these factories with the diverse people of tremendous character and extreme talent working inside of them, Wayne was molded into a true Surfer/Shaper and is an authentic protégé of, the “Golden Era” of South Bay surfboard building. We caught up with Wayne... Where did your love for surf come from? My mom taught me to hold my breath and took me under the lip of waves in her arms, and as we came through the back of the wave she and I would scream and laugh. I was hooked for life! What is your earliest surf memory? At nine years old, I'd been an air mattress rider and borrowed a 9'-10" from a local guy on the condition that I could pick it up and carry it into the water. This was impossible as I weighed 65 pounds and could not get my arm around the 35+ pound monster. The older guys were laughing and knew I could never carry it and I went to the front of the board and picked up the nose and started dragging it very slowly, almost falling down a few times. When I got it to the water they said that it didn't count if I dragged it and I begged them to paddle it out and try to ride one wave. They said OK and I paddled it out very easily, had a really hard time turning it around for a little wave but, I paddled in and lost control of the big board, pearled and got slammed, losing the board to the beach. They were all laughing, but stoked I went for it and made me drag the board back up the beach where they were hanging out to complete our agreement, teaching me the Old School Respect in Hermosa Beach. How long have you been shaping boards for and how did you decide to start? Dan Bendiksen used to invite me to watch him shape in the Bing Factory in Hermosa Beach during the late 60's through the early 70's and I became fascinated with his skills and knowledge of Surfing, and applying the dynamic's to shaping and design. I was intimidated by the electric planer and loved riding Dan's boards, but I finally started shaping in "1979". Where do you draw inspiration from when it comes to the design, shape and style of your boards? That's deep! I'll try to be short... It starts with the kind of waves that your are going to want to ride, and how you dream of riding them at many different levels of creativity. What type of style do you, or who you are building the board for has, and you do your best to put all of these things into the design concept. The great surfers around you and in the World will always inspire your ideas and will influence the outcome in the shaping rooms around the planet... Do you have any heroes and/or mentors? Mentors/Hero's are: My Dad, Dan Bendiksen, Phil Becker, Dave Harris, Renny Yater, John Bradbury, Carl Ekstrom, Hank Warner, Steve Coletta Hero's: Rabbit Kekai, Whitey Harrison, Butch Van Artsdalen, Jock Sutherland, Dewey Weber, Donald Takayama, David Nuuhiwa, Mike Hynson, Skip Frye, Eddie Aikau, George Greenough, Steve Bigler, John Peck, George Downing, Gerry Lopez, Joe Roper, Sam Hawk, Owl Chapman, Reno Abellira, Barry Kanaiaupuni, Michael Peterson, Wayne Lynch, Derek Hynd, Mark Richards, Tommy Curren, Kelly, AI., Joel Tudor, Mike Pace, Kemp Aaberg, Denny Aaberg.................. What are some of your favorite moments in your career? Being blessed with winning the Renny Yater Shape-Off, he's been such a great mentor and I worked in the shaping room next to him for 10 years and we are very good friends. Also the Carl Ekstrom Shape-Off last year was so much fun. As in this year for Mark Richards, it is just such an incredible honor to be involved in raising up your heroes with the great shapers that I have so much respect for. We all win, by being a small part of the event together! Also, watching Joel ride one wave in particular at the MSA contest a few weeks back on a design we put together 3 years ago. It was the most perfectly ridden wave I've seen in a long time, he did every maneuver from A to Z from start to finish with absolute grace and flow to the bitter end of the wave. There are many more..... This weekend will be one for sure! MR is one of my favorite people in the surfing world... What is something that you would do differently? I've been off drugs and alcohol since Feb. 1991, it's easy to get swept up in the hardcore culture we live in. The lessons I've learned from those times have been invaluable in my life, but I do wish that I could have figured it out a little sooner! What do you think is the future of your industry? The core side of the industry will keep a US made and hand crafted foundation, and that will be the horsepower to be real! You can build certain hard goods overseas, if your true foundation offers things made here, that give the people who know what's up - a choice! Which board (of yours) is your personal favorite? My 9'-1" Big Wave Gun that I built 17 years ago and have had the most incredible waves on. Any exciting projects coming up? Many! I'm working on some new designs with Joel Tudor and Harrison Roach right now that are very interesting. Also, my long time bro and Team Rider - Vince Felix and I have built two new models together and one will be at the show. It is pure "Tradition and 60's Soul" as a period long board design from the early 60's with some of Vince's hand layed hot rod style pin line work on it. I'm also working on my Asymmetrical designs and they have been taking off in Japan, we have been having fun with these boards - Thanks to Carl Ekstrom for getting me to open my mind to endless possibilities! New Guns for my bro Chadd Konig and Landon, for this winter are a challenge and a humbling part of our world as you've always got their life in your hands. We take it seriously and I rely on my brothers like Randy Cone and Hank Warner for their input because I trust them, and it keeps me grounded on the Gun's.