Profiles: Robert Weiner // Roberts Surfboards
Photos by: Andrew Leggett / @leggettcreative
Words by: Mike C. / Editor
Location: Ventura, CA
While working for Casey McCrystal as a laminator in the early 1990's, Robert would moonlight on the weekends, shaping and glassing his own boards for his personal use.
"Probably the fifth or sixth board I shaped, I rode in the national championships," recalls Robert. He had won an NSSA title the year before surfing on a board McCrystal had shaped for him, and managed to win a second title that following year on the board he shaped for himself.
That was Robert's moment of realization. He thought, "Oh, wow. If I can win a nationals on my shape, I guess they're working."
Soon after, friends turned to Robert for orders, and his business began to blossom. In 1994, he shaped ten boards. By 2011, his reputation as a world class shaper had grown, and Robert was named Surfing Magazine's, Shaper of the Year.
The dimensions of every board Robert has ever shaped, going back to his very first one in May of '94, are meticulously logged in notebooks he keeps in the shop. The collection is a private time capsule of sorts, each book representing nearly 2,000 boards shaped and almost 25,000 total to date.
Thumbing through several of the pages was like taking a walk down surfboard memory lane, recalling the many styles and trends of high performance board design over the last twenty-plus years.
During our visit, Robert's team rider, Tommy McKeown, came by the shop to pick up a new step up for his trip to Hawaii. Tommy, like many on Robert's team, is a young, local standout who's been working with Robert for years and currently competes in the Junior Pros.
"My dream has always been to nurture young talent, give them guidance, and build surfboards with them," says Robert of his relationship with Tommy and the other team riders. "I love the kids. I love their energy. I love surfing with the young kids and watching them evolve, and seeing the stoke on their face when they win heats."
Our tour of Robert's shop ended with a preview of a new fin set up he's been working on called, the Twonzer. At first glance, it looks like a variation of a quad setup. However, the closer you look at how the fin boxes have been clustered together, as well as the angle of the front fins, the Twonzer has the potential to become so much more.
As Robert describes it, "I developed these fins over the course of four months of testing a bunch of different styles and fin placements. It started out as twin fins and little bonzer fins up front. I then started increasing the front fins, and decreasing the back fins just a little bit to give it a nice release, yet still maintain the drive of a twin fin. The back fins are much bigger than a normal Tri-fin, but smaller than a typical twin fin. The front fins have a lot of angle in them, about 12 degrees. They work really well together; the back fins are giving it the drive while the front fins give it the hold and the pivot with the angle in there."