Rusty Surfboards Shaper: Rusty Priesendorfer
year started shaping: 1969 boards shaped: 50,000
What’s your shaping philosophy? Keep an open mind. Feedback is king. No matter how much you know, you can always learn. Function comes first. Form follows function. The art is finding the cleanest lines that offer the most utility. There is elegance in simplicity.
What led you to become a shaper? Primarily, I’ve always loved to make things with my hands and I love to surf. Timing: The Shortboard Revolution. When I started shaping boards, things were changing quickly, it made sense to jump in and explore all the possibilities.
Who is your biggest shaping influence? If I had to pick one? Long before CAD programs for surfboards existed, Bill Barnfield was the first shaper that I was aware of and had the opportunity to work with who was adamant about numeric control. He would quantify almost every aspect of the board and keep diligent records. His approach helped me to bridge the gap between art, craft, and science and become a more consistent shaper.
What do you consider your expertise? Versatility.
What are your most popular models? Dwart, T-Dwart, Hustler, and Dozer which are all great every day designs. And the Slayer as a “step down” alternative for the days with some punch and size. The Slackerr, 4F, and Bender are new ones that have had great feedback.
What advice would you give to customers to help them get the best board possible? Try as many different boards as possible, which will broaden your base of reference. Get to know your numbers. Be real about your ability level. Be clear and focused on your objectives and be specific about what type of surf you want to board to perform best in. Talk to your shaper.
What’s the biggest lesson learned in your shaping career? Everything works. A “Magic Board” is a state of mind.