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Rusty 0604 GTR Ultraflx - U0138

Board Specification:

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Board Shaper
Back in junior high school, Rusty Preisendorfer perused garage sales and picked up a beat-up old log for 10 bucks just so he could practice fixing dings. The interesting thing is, he hadn't even started surfing. "I was fascinated with building things," remembers Preisendorfer. Tens of thousands of boards later, he still is. Having turned a love for creation into an unrivaled name in shaping, and transmitting that into one of the largest apparel lines in the industry, he is recognized the world over by a single letter -- R.

Born in Los Angeles to a research mathematician (dad worked at Scripps) and an occupational therapist, Preisendorfer became a Windansea local at a fresh six weeks of age. Spending his early years around slightly inland San Diego, his interests were baseball and snake hunting. He housed as many as a dozen snakes at any time, including rattlers. In eighth grade (Margo Godfrey Oberg was a La Jolla schoolmate), he first attempted the trendy sport of surfing. His large stature and late start aside, he was competitive, finishing second in the 1969 Southern California High School Championships. By the time he graduated, Preisendorfer already had several shapes under his belt and was ready to get to work.

Coming into shaping during a tumultuous, groundbreaking era, his influences included Dick Brewer, Mike Hynson and Skip Frye. While attending the University of California at San Diego, Rusty spent his initial stint shaping for Gordon and Smith. Exploring Australia in 1974, he garnered his first serious exposure when Rabbit Bartholomew purchased one of his 8-foot guns. Starting to gain a solid reputation in the business, he launched his own company the same year -- Music Surfboards. The late '70s proved a pivotal time, as Rusty shaped for a growing San Diego-based manufacturer called Canyon Surfboards and accrued a reputable stable of riders including David Barr, Randy and Wes Laine, Peter Townend, Shaun Tomson and Ian Cairns.

By the mid-'80s, buoyed by the additions of Dave Parmenter and a radical young Australian named Mark Occhilupo, the trademark Rusty logo had achieved a life of its own. In 1985, he left Canyon and started Rusty surfboards. Ridden by more than half the world's Top 16 surfers at the time, he was the most in-demand shaper anywhere. Having helped design T-shirts back at Canyon, he did the same with his new company and launched a full line of clothing in 1987. Since then, the company has grown into one of the largest-grossing businesses in surfing. His current crop of international riders includes young sensations Chris Ward, Flea Virostko, Serena Brooke and the Hobgoods.

As a shaper, Preisendorfer deserves credit for perfecting the modern thruster as we know it. Subtle variations are all that separate the current standard from his early '80s models. The boxy rails that are so commonplace today were the benchmark of Occy's boards during his phenomenal run as a teenager. Despite Preisendorfer's status as a premier shortboard shaper, he feels his biggest contribution has been his dedication to the average surfer. " I try to pioneer niches," he comments. "There are needs for people other than the shortboard customer." He has been creating fuller size master molds for Clark Foam for 20 years, crafting boards for larger surfers such as himself for whom the typical shortboard is useless. Furthermore, he has groomed some of the finest craftsmen around, including Parmenter and John Carper.

Married since 1984, Preisendorfer lives in La Jolla with wife, Angela, and two children -- a son born in 1986 and a daughter in 1988. As majority owner of the company bearing his name, his duties are increasingly consuming, but he hasn't abandoned his fascination with invention. His latest concept, the C-5, spawned from the unlikeliest of sources. On a fishing trip, says Preisendorfer, " I looked at a fish in the bottom of a boat and wondered what all those fins were about." -- Jason Borte, October 2000

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