Rusty Surfboards

Rusty Surfboard by Rusty  Preisendorfer

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.

Coming into shaping during a tumultuous, groundbreaking era, Rusty's 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 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.