Have any pro surfers ever won a pro contest on a self-shaped board?


Q

I have been surfing for years and am now learning to shape as well. Out of curiosity, I was wondering if any pro surfers have won a pro contest on a self-shaped board. Has this ever happened on the WQS or WCT, or on lower levels? The name Richie Collins seems familiar to me in this area, but I am not sure.

Thanks.

asked by Michael Fairbanks, San Diego, CA

A
Surfline's own pro surfing encyclopedia Nick Carroll responds:

Yes, indeed they have. In fact, 20 or more years ago, this was quite common. The great champions of the 1970s and early 1980s were encouraged to develop shaping skills, since back then the career of pro surfing didn't offer a particularly secure living. The shaping skills then fed back into their surfing performances, often giving them what seemed an unfair advantage over their peers. Mark Richards, for instance, developed the modern twin-fin for himself and went on a four-world-title winning spree, during which at times he was (to quote then fellow pro Michael Tomson) "so far ahead of the rest of us it's not even funny". MR was only stopped after another pro/shaper, Simon Anderson, created the three-fin Thruster design and won three events -- the Bells Easter Classic, the Coke Surfabout, and the Pipeline Masters -- in a single year after not having won a contest for the past four.

In recent years, Fate has worked against most pro surfers trying to develop shaping skills. Pro surfing and surfboard designing have both become highly specialized fields. The financial rewards for a successful pro -- combined with the hours needed to achieve a winner's extraordinary wave-riding skills -- kind of neuter the need for an apprenticeship in foam-cutting; and in any case, most pros accept the fact that a committed, experienced design guru is likely to cut them better boards than they could manage themselves. Thus, no current member of the ASP WCT top 44 shapes his own equipment. There are still some holdouts at WQS level; at least two surfers, Steve Clements and Glyndyn Ringrose, have won qualifying events in the past three years while riding their own boards.

And yep, Richie has won pro events in the past riding his own equipment.

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