When we heard a few weeks ago that world renowned shaper Jarrod Gibson was launching his very own board company – JG Boards – we knew we had to learn more about Jarrod’s project, boards, team riders & new business and contacted Jarrod for an interview. Jarrod has been shaping some of the best boards in the business for years and years, working closely with the world best shapers, companies, factories & most of all pro riders to get them the best rides they could get. Jarrod has experience in shapes and boards that only a handful of shapers can have. Enjoy the JG interview and learn more about Jarrod’s new board company:
Hey Jarrod, how are you? So you’re launching your own board company hey?
I’m good thanks mate. Been a really busy year & now officially launched my own label.
It’s been one of your dreams since your started shaping kind of? Specially after seeing both Mez and Todd Q. starting their own brands years ago maybe?
Yeah for sure. We’ve all worked together for many years on various projects. While we’ve collaborated with the brands I was never that focussed on launching my own brand, I was focussed on the shaping and production so I didn’t have the time to build something that was 100% mine. We’re all good friends so it’s never been too much of a rivalry so to speak, we’re all excited to see our brands succeed and grow.
You started shaping many years ago with Mez at the Toobs Oz factory back in the days yeah?
Yeah I actually started with Mez when I was still in high school. He’d just opened the Mez Boards factory in our local region and back then there weren’t a lot of good boards that were under 40″ so I went to see him about getting a custom board made. I was a kid in a candy store! When we had the opportunity to do our work experience program I’d asked Mez if I could do it with him, from that point I knew I was never going to do anything else. He actually gave me straight A’s so I was pretty proud. I’ve still got the report card.
When I left school I started the very next day, February 2nd 1999 with Toobs Australia / Mez Boards where I worked closely with Todd until he launched his QCD Boards label in 2004
Are your stock boards made at the Broady / Mez factory?
Yes my boards will be produced from Broady Asia. I spent some time there with Mez in September working on the new line and I’m absolutely stoked on the new models. I think there will be a lot of happy customers when the new line launches.
Where do you work from and shape custom boards now? Coz you where working for Agit for a while?
Im still based in Australia however my custom program won’t start again until 2016. It’s not a focus of mine right now, I want to make sure the production is the best it can be which Im confident that we’ve achieved that with Mez and the team. The 2016 customs will be pretty exciting with some big plans for it on an international scale so Im looking forward to developing that program over the coming months.
So who’s on the team apart from Jase Finlay?
Yeah Jase is now on board which is amazing. I’ve got a lot of respect for Jase in every aspect of his career, he’s one of the most professional athletes I’ve ever worked with. We met earlier this year and talked about the new direction of the company and what we want to achieve. He was amped to be a part of it ASAP.
Along side Jase we have Tahurai Henry from Tahiti who needs no introduction. He is someone I’ve wanted to work with for a few years now. In Europe we have Miguel Adao from Portugal, the kid has a lot of potential and has a great attitude.
Winston McCall from Parkway Drive is also representing the label, he’s had a lot of input to the new models which is super cool. It’s amazing to see his passion for Bodyboarding and he absolutely rips.
We’ve also got Lee Bendall from the Gold Coast, the local legend that has a phenomenal style. He makes Bodyboarding a pleasure to watch.
What can we expect from JG Boards in the near future? Innovations and new shapes?
There’s some big plans for the future but it’s step by step at the moment. The line is focussed on the best templates that have worked over the years with my riders with compositions to suit high performance surfing.
In regards to new technology and innovations we will definitely be working on some new things. Especially for Tahurai with Teahupoo. We’ve been working on some specialty board designs for next years season. I think we will see him pushing the limits again to new levels.
We’re also in the process of creating new programs and clinics to assist in junior development. It’s something I’ve been wanting to do for many years and now I have the opportunity to pursue the new direction of the company. We don’t want to be just another brand in the market and having a diverse community aspect to our brand is exciting.
The industry and sales in Oz (and actually in the US and Europe also) seem a little bit low and unstable at the moment but that doesn’t seem to discourage some new projects like your brand. Do you reckon there’s also a place for new brands and projects while some others disappear and it’s sort of a cycle as brands fade while others rise and the strongest ones stay on top?
For sure there are some hard times however, and unfortunately it is the sports cycle. It happens every 5 – 10 years where there is a few major changes to the industry, markets and sport in general. It’s always hard to watch people and brands disappear from the sport however that’s the nature of business. If you’re not evolving as a company it becomes unsustainable. We’re looking to do things a little differently and use our experience to grow the sport and industry.
Lee Bendall - Shot by: Kieran Tunbridge
The sponsoring and money given to the athletes in general seem to be a little low at the moment and the World Tour is not as attractive as it was, resulting in a weird era where top riders seem to struggle with sponsorships and turn their back on the tour, how do your riders or yourself see the business and the current situation?
It’s been a difficult time for a lot of the athletes since the demise of the IBA Tour. It’s taking some time to rebuild the structure and events however Alex and his team are doing a great job with the resources they have. It’s also great to see the Free Surf World Tour launch which I believe has some huge potential to attract some big sponsors in the future. Our sport thrives in heavy waves and conditions, 2016 could be a very big year for the sport again. While riders have struggled to secure significant contracts there are many reason for this but again, retail has seen some big changes over the past 5 years and we as an industry also need to evolve.
All boards, shapes and materials nowadays seem to be a little bit the same (mainly due to the fact that they all come from 2 factories mainly) apart from custom boards or smaller brands like Toobs who still produce locally, do you think there is still room to bring new things and innovations to the market that would be exclusive to your brand? A lot of time the new stuff is shared across all brand made by one factory or the other and there is very little difference between each brand’s products apart from the marketing put into it and the riders. What do you reckon?
That’s a yes & no answer. Boards can and do look very similar, but you look at any industry and the basis of the products are generally the same. The basic compositions give you a platform to create a product, any product. Brands and manufacturers then utilise different materials, foam densities to meet the demand of their customers. While the boards might look the same I can assure you they are not.
There’s a lot of exclusive innovation across the brands in our industry. NMD uses Parabolic cores, Pride uses Radial Flex, Found has their Torsion Stringer, Hubb Boards have Quad Core, Science uses Compression Cells. There’s variable stringer systems and interchangeable stringer systems. So there’s a great deal of innovation happening at the moment and there will continue to be major innovations over the coming years.
For sure it’s great to see a few small companies that are still producing, it’s awesome for the sport and the industry. Unfortunately it’s very difficult to remain viable though as generally the MOQ’s for the materials to build boards are significant.
Will we see a Jase Finlay pro model very soon and maybe other pro models too? Have you started shaping new boards for Jase and what does he currently ride?
Definitely. Jase has a signature line that coincides with the existing range. Again we’re doing things a little bit differently where Jase’s model is available in all compositions across the range. We have some new boards heading his way as we speak. It’s coming into Summer in Oz so we have some variable flex boards & ISS customs ready to go as we can have big changes in water temperatures. It’s a big country too so depending on the locations he’ll be surfing we need to be prepared for that.
Is the Oz distribution all set up now and boards will be in shops around Oz soon? and do you know when the rest of the world will be able to buy your brands from local shops?
Still in development. Im working on the program now and will be meeting with my retail accounts over the coming months. We have boards in production now with our sampling and prototypes all locked in. We want to ensure the new website launches in conjunction with the first shipment to Australia so it’s work in progress.
Internationally we will be launching mid 2016 however the range will be available online for international orders from day one. Im pleased to announce distribution has been confirmed for all major regions: Australia, Europe, South America & North America. We’ll also be selling into Japan and some Central American countries.
Many thanks for your time Jarrod and congrats again on your new business!
No problem. Thank you for the support.
20+ years ago videographer Scotty Carter released what was – and still is – one of the most perfect and influential video (VHS back in the days) of all time. It had everything in it: pros ripping, new destinations, a great soundtrack, it was an hour+ in running length, was well editing, well thought, had some messages in it that todays politics should have listened to, it had flair, had Paul Roach, had Chad Barba, had Mike Stewart and a million other legends, it had a soul that forever forged what bodyboarding was, is, and will be. It’s bodyboarding’s history and more. There’s a “before” and “after” this video, it separates what could be considered “oldschool” and what became “new school”. It’s was filmed around ‘93 we reckon. If you havent watched it yet, you need to. If you know it already then re-watch it. Just the intro with some Slayer soundtrack to fucken’ wake you up will – and should – get ya amped to watch it all.
It’s been a while since we last interviewed someone. Lack of time mostly, explains why we havent put any new interviews on the site but we eventually took the time to prepare some questions for Ryan Hardy. Ryan’s been killing it in WA and in Bali with his Bodyboarding School and being the legend he his it’s always good to catch up with him and see what he’s been up to. Thanks heaps for your time Ryan! Yeww
What have you been up to today?
Today I was busy packing things up getting ready to rent our house out while we live in bali for 5months…just over 6weeks to go!
You’ve recently started your own bodyboard shcool / coaching / training and you’re based in Bali a part of the year from what we understood and then based in WA all year long yeah?
This year I’ll be in Bali with my family from April till September then home the rest of the year either side of that. We’re pretty excited, we love our time in Bali and it’s just non stop waves and good conditions up there!
How is it runninng your own school and how was the Bali part this year?
Running my school and living overseas with my family while coaching with Bali Bodyboarding has been one of the highlights of my career for sure. Spreading the love for my favourite sport and passing on my knowledge and experience is very enjoyable plus I get to leave my family to go to ‘work’ in the waves with other amped bodyboarders!
Are you planning on doing this every year (Bali) or was it just this year?
For the meantime it’s definitely just a matter of doing it now while we can because the opportunity is there and my kids aren’t in full time school yet. My boy Oli will be in full time school next year so most likely any future Bali stints will just be short ones.
You kinda put contests and the World Tour on hold this year, will you consider going back on tour later on maybe or will you just do a few contests which you really wanna do now that you’ve got your school going?
I know I definitely won’t be chasing contests in 2015, what happens beyond then I will just take as it comes, but I would definitely love to compete on the world stage again when the opportunity presents itself.
Also – maybe not an easy one to answer – but would you have followed the tour in 2014 if the sport had a solid tour with solid prize money allowing the top riders to make a good living from this pro tour? Well you’re right, finances does change everything and moulds the opportunities that you can pursue. However, I do know that I was loving being close to home during a year when my kids were both really young so I’ve definitely got no regrets in not following the tour in 2014.
You’ve recently changed sponsors and went from VS / Stealth to Funkshen / Limited Edition, this coincided with those other changes in your life (less contests, starting your own school). Appart from contracts and / or the money side of things why did you change sponsors or how did this happen? How is the new relationship with your new sponsor?
This happened mainly by a changeover of circumstances, the end of one road with one sponsor and the beginning of a new road with another sponsor.
It’s great riding for Funkshen & Limited Edition…the boards and fins are as good as you can get on the market today and the Britten brothers who drive the company are an amped couple of Aussie bodyboarders like myself who just want to see all the riders shredding on their gear and show bodyboarding for the epic sport that it is!
Jarrod Gibson shapes your custom boards still? We’re sure readers would love to know what you’re riding, core, length, specificities. We know you’re picky on your customs and shapes you must have great input on your boards. Do you also changes width or length or thickness according to what kinda waves you surf?
Todd quigley and Jarrod Gibson are both doing some shaping work on my customs which I am STOKED on! I’ve been getting boards shaped from those two since the late 90’s and between the two of them they’ve both shaped me all my best boards.
I’ve definitely toned down my pickiness over the years haha but that’s probably because I’ve been through and tested so many boards to the point that I know what works for me now.
Working with today’s material options, I generally like to ride a stiffer polypro in warmer water, a flexier polypro like EFC in colder water and always with a stringer. I find those simple combos to be most effective and then you can add in things like mesh for extra stiffness or PRS stringers particularly in cooler water.
Then generally I go for bigger boards in smaller waves, say up to 42.75 for small, down to 42.25 for big waves.
Do you have much input on the stock boards your sponsor releases? Will the shape on stock boards be close to what you ride, even if probably suited and adapted to a wider range of riders / customers?
Yes I’m in close contact with Jarrod Gibson who is stock board quality controller over at the board factory hq in Taiwan. Jarrod is great because he is such an avid bodyboard enthusiast and particular to the very last detail so I have full trust in him overseeing the production of the stock boards over there.
The stock boards are tweaked a little from my customs to allow for the fact that I’m tall and lean and not all riders are going to have a body shape like me. They are definitely similar in their shape, but just slightly modified to suit a variety of body shapes and sizes.
Where do you usually surf in WA? You live in Margaret River yeah? What’s the typical Ryan day?
I usually surf close to margaret river where I live so places like gas bay, booji, box, rivermouth.
A typical day is of course based around the surf and my family schedule. If the surfs gunna be pumping I’ve gotta plan things so the family is sorted and taken care of so that my wife can be all good with the kids once I head out to hit the surf for a filming session or coaching session.
We’ve seen you surf with your son recently, taking him on the boogie and gliding with him on foamies, how is that? Does being a father changed your perpective on life or you pro-career in a way?
It was super fun going out with my son in the little waves of Bali and probably the purest surfing experience I’ve had since I was riding my first whitewashes. It’s all a game to him at the ripe old age of 3 and it makes him laugh so much and he’s so free and happy to be rolling around in the waves…it reminds me of the feeling the ocean gives us and why we’re so attracted to go back for more and more.
Being a father is like discovering life all over again as you discover the world through your kid’s perspective. It gives you great purpose and motivation in everything you do and any boredom or spare time you ever had in your life before kids certainly vanishes!
What can we expect from Hardballs for next year? More schooling and coaching? Any trips planned with the family or with your sponsors?
Definitely more trips, video clips and freesurfing escapades both at home and interstate and overseas. That’s my major focus in my riding right now is pushing my equipment and ability in freesurfing right now while I still feel physically in my peak and taking my riding to the limit in some epic waves! Also, plenty of coaching and time with the family in between.
Are you filming or preparing a short clip or podcast for the upcoming months?
Yes I’ve been filming in both the Canary Islands back in December and around home lately for a Funkshen clip that will be coming out in the near future.
We’ve asked our readers on Facebook and on your sponsor’s page on Facebook if they had any questions for you and we got these questions from fans for you:
- Any chance to see you in Europe any time soon?
I was in Canaries in December! But otherwise it’s a possibility to do a freesurfing trip with the Funkshen/Limited Edition team sometime in the second half of the year.
- You’ve got the same sponsor as Winston from PWD, Unite, do you listen to PWD? Before a good session to get amped maybe?
I love Winston’s energy he pours into PWD and it’s something he’s always had back when I knew him as an aspiring bodyboarder, he was always super amped. I think their music is great, but I actually don’t really listen to music to amp me up before surfs. I just like to stay present and feel the amp come on from the natural surrounds.
- Is Hardlyfe III in the making?
No it’s not in the making.
- Describe your personal board?
My favourite board I’ve been riding lately is a nicely worn in 42.5 PP stringer mesh. It’s brown deck/black rail/orange slick, it’s actually about 9months old and in the cool waters around home it feels really good especially in powerful waves. – Do you drink coffe in the morning? What kind?
I only ever drink coffee to keep me awake when I’m driving. I never drink it regularly in the morning or before surfs.
- Last but not least, from your buddy Matt Lackey, we had to ask: How many degrees in Celsius was the Meat Pie that was force feed into Jarrod Gibson as a birthday present?
Haha Lackey loves that one. I was only just praising Jarrod’s work before and yet it didn’t stop me from slamming a pie in his face after a night on the town to celebrate his birthday several years back. You’d have to ask Jarrod the exact temperature but I know it was up above 200degrees and he spent his actual birth day in hospital being treated for 3rd degree burns on his nose, lips, cheeks and eye lids. Shit that sounds bad! Sorry again Gibbo!! His mates and I thought it was the funniest thing ever at the time though until 5mins had passed of us rolling on the bakery floor laughing and we realised Gibbo was missing. We found him across the road at the terrigal beach shoreline dunking his face in the shorebreak in between yelling “CALL AN AMBULANCE!!” Ouch, I’ll never live that one down!
Thanks a lot for your time Ryan, do you have anything you’d like to add or any message to pass along?
Cheers Theo!! All the best with Spongercity yew
Riptide Magazine celebrated 2014’s Awards last week and although we did cover this great night on our FB page it’s a shame we didnt mention it here, so here you go! Basically Ben Player is a legend… and because he is he won the Bodyboarder of the year award. On the womens’ side it’s Isabela Sousa who got the award and is also a legend. On the knee it’s another legend who won the award: David “Dub” Hubbard. For the videos it’s Katesy & LeBoogie who won the award with Passing Through. Couldnt agree more. Congrats to you guys! Below are all the other awards and winners listed. For more info check the Riptide site.
Bodyboarder of the Year – Ben Player (Australia)
Women’s Bodyboarder of the Year – Isabela Sousa (Brazil)
Dropkneer of the Year – Dave Hubbard (Hawaii)
Grom of the Year – Tanner McDaniel (Hawaii)
Heaviest Wave of the Year – Lewy Finnegan (Australia, at The Right, WA – from Riptide issue 197)
Biggest Move of the Year – Jeff Hubbard (Hawaii, at Honolua Bay, Maui – from Hubboards – The Movie)
Best Feature Film of the Year – Passing Through (James Kates/Le Boogie)
Best Short Film of the Year – The Mexican Mirage (Miller Best/Pride Bodyboards)
Photographer of the Year – Sacha Specker (South Africa)
Men’s Bodyboarder of the Year Top 10
1. Ben Player
2. Jared Houston
3. Pierre Louis Costes
4. Dave Winchester
5. Amaury Lavernhe
6. Mitch Rawlins
8. Jake Stone
9. Jeff Hubbard
10. Jase Finlay
Women’s Bodyboarder of the Year Top 5
1. Isabela Sousa
2. Lilly Pollard
3. Alexandra Rinder
4. Jessica Becker
5. Emma Cobb
Dropkneer of the Year Top 5
1. Dave Hubbard
2. Matt Lackey
3. Bud Miyamoto
4. Sacha Specker
5. Cesar Bauer
If you’re in Sydney in December see who’ll be crowned the world’s best, plus catch the Royal Blood premiere!
For last year’s Riptide Bodyboarder of the Year we surprised winner Ben Player at the NMD/Stealth headquarters in Sydney with a bunch of his family and best mates (see the clip here). This year we’re doing it a little different, having paired up with the ABA Tour guys’ Australian Bodyboarding Awards night to present our awards. The date to circle in your calendars is Friday, December 5 (at 6.30pm) and the place to be is the Manly Novotel.
What’ll happen on the night? Riptide will of course be presenting our annual Bodyboarder of the Year awards – celebrating the finest riders and content-makers in the sport (stay tuned for our clips on the Top 5 nominees for each category soon). The ABA will officially crown its 2014 champ, Jake Stone, as well ushering some legends of the sport into the Australian Bodyboarding Hall of Fame. They’ll also reveal some new initiatives and the tour calendar for 2015 and roll out a Michael Jennings-produced documentary of the ABA’s inaugural Aussie Tour year. And then you have the world premiere of Tyge Landa and Bodyboard King’s new film Royal Blood, starring the entire BK team (Ben Player, Jake Stone, Jase Finlay, Ryan Hardy, Jones Russell and Toby Player), which will no doubt be a classic.
The ticket includes drinks and finger food so not only will you get to rub shoulders with some of the world’s best riders and the bodyboarding industry you’ll get to have a beer and an hors d’oeuvre or two with them as well! Tickets are $79 and can be purchased by following this link – http://tinyurl.com/rabas. Tables of 12 are available for corporate partners or large groups of people wanting to sit together and discounts apply. A limited number of tix will be sold at the door, but catering and seating planning means these tickets won’t be assured and will be a bit dearer at $89. Tickets are selling out fast so don’t miss your chance to celebrate the year in bodyboarding that was.
In an un-expected end of the APB 2014 Tour in SINTRA, Portugal (controversial end of the tour with stops left to go and actually very few comps this year) here are your 2014 World Champs, all well-deserved of course, but we wish (as bodyboarding fans and pro tour supporters – that there had been a few more stops on the 2014 Tour – Unfortunately the lack of finance and sponsors have kinda cut short the pro tour this year – bummer)
Amaury Lavernhe is the 2014 World Champ (the french man is now a proud 2x World Champ, oui oui!), Dave ‘Dubb’ Hubbard is the 2014 Dropknee World Champ (Dubb is no stranger to being a DK world champ and his talent and skills on the knee and prone are un-matched on tour anyways!), 16 y.o Alexandra Rinder from Canaries is the new 2014 Womens World Champ (congrats Alexandra! Only Andre Botha managed to clinch a world title at 16 y.o if we’re not wrong!) and Tristan Roberts is the new junior World Champ (incredible talent from South Africa). Yewww
We will be interviewing Ryan Hardy very soon and thought we’d make it a bit more interactive with you, the readers: If you wanna ask Ryan a Question just leave it in the comments here on our Facebook Page and we’ll pick up some of your questions and put them in the final interview with Ryan. It’s now or never! Your chance to ask Ryan your Questions! See you there!