ROBERT WEINER - ROBERTS SURFBOARDS
Occupation: owner and shaper of Roberts Surfboards
Label: Robert Surfboard INC
Birth place- Orange County - Fullerton
Currently calling home- Ventura Ca
Local Spot- The first spot I check every morning is Ventura Harbor. From there in can get a good understanding of swell direction. This helps me know weather it might be better somewhere else. I end up surfing the harbor a lot. It has lots of power and at my size the more power the better.
Do you remember the first board you ever shaped? Yes my brother Eric and I striped the glass off of a Classic long board and I shaped a fish. I was twelve years old at the time.
What were the dimensions? I don't remember the exact dimensions I just remember the blank was flat so I thought a fish made the most sense. I drew the templet out on a large piece of paper then cut it out with scissors traced it on to the blank and cut it with an old saw. Then I shaped the whole thing with a Stanley surform and sand paper. My brother and I glassed it in our garage.
How did it go? It went OK. I think I over shaped it and it was a bit to thin for my ability at the time. I ended up making quite a few more at a very early age. I even made a whole board in wood shop in Middle school. I ended up getting a B+ on it and board surfed realy good.
Do you still own the first board you ever shaped? No I must have sold it to a freind. I do have the 16th Roberts board I ever shaped. It was for Matt Bovard and he still rides my boards to this day.
What board design are you most proud of? I would have to say the White Diamond! Why? Well there is a number of reasons! Most notably is the fact that after shaping them for a while Dane Reynolds noticed that Adam Virs and Sean Hayes wouldn't stop riding there's so he asked to try Adam's. He liked the feel and told him that if I made him one in dimensions more suited to his needs he would love to get one. Well that one White Diamond changed everything! Dane wouldn't stop riding it and ended up having his sponsor try to copy it. They came up with something very similar with a squash tail and it became there best selling model. After that people started to order there boards shorter and wider and it turned board design on its head. So I feel that my White Diamond design had a lot to do with and drastic change in board design. With the help of Dane of corse! That also lead to me getting voted Surfing Magazines shaper of the year.
Do you have a specific board building philosophy? Yes make every short board so that it can be ridden at the highest level and yet still be ridden by a novice.
And what makes Roberts Surfboards unique? The fact that I still work on every board myself. Even after making over 25,000 boards and shipping boards all over the world I still finish every one myself.
Did you have a vision for what Roberts Surfboards would become when you started the label? Yes! I wanted to make high performance surfboards that would be affordable and of the highest quality! I knew that if I stuck to those principles my company would grow. No gimmicks just good surfboards and old fashion hard work. I just did my best and waited to see what God had in store for me! Has that changed? No I still adhere to those same principles! The only thing that I have changed is the way that I develop my board models. How? When I first started I used my own feed back on board designs. Now I rely on my large team of riders to help me create my designs!
How does your background influence your business? My background is the reason why my boards are what they are. Everything my father tought me about integrity quality craftsmanship hard work and honesty have influenced me and the way I do business. Everything that my brother and I learned about surfing and how boards work have also played a huge part in influencing my boards and brand.
Where did you grow up? My family had to move the the San Fernando Valley when I was two years old because my father got a job working in Beverly Hills for a very high end painting contractor. And how did that help mold you as a board designer? Well because we didn't live to close to the beach I had a lot of time to dream about surfing! I would buy Surfer magazines and read them from cover to cover. I learned a lot about board design and what made them work. I honestly think living far from the beach made me appreciate surfing so much more . I was the biggest frother ever. If you sit in a car for forty minutes just to see the surf! You better bet you are going to paddle out when you get there no matter how bad it is. I thank my Mom and my brother for taking me to the beach so many times.
What is the biggest misconception given about shapers? That they make a lot of money and get free surfboards. The only guy that ever got wealthy from surfboards is Al When he sold out CI to Jake Burton. Good for him to actually making big money after doing something he loved. It's the American dream! Do something you love then sell it to a big corporation for big money so they can use it as a write off! Win Win right?
What inspires you most in conceptualizing a new model? Rider feed back.
What one person (besides yourself) would you want to test pilot a new model? Well I can't answer that because not every model is developed with everyone in mind. What I mean is that I developed my boards slowly over time. I will have a certain model that my riders are using and one of my riders might say! (what if we make the tail like this)! Or what if we pull the nose like that. Or one of my riders might say this board works good when the waves are mushy but how can you make it so that it is more versatile in hollow waves also. That is when my understanding of board design is tested and applied to create a new or better board model then the original. So to answer that question it really depends on which rider I'm creating the board for. And of corse I like to test them all myself just to be sure they work as good as they say they do. A shaper can never be satisfied with rider feed back alone ! After all why should they have all the fun. Haha
Shorter and wider seem to be trending now in board design. What do you see as the next functional trend in board design?
I think that shorter is here to stay. We might see high performance boards narrowing a bit for good waves. I'm working on a couple of designs right now where I narrowed the width and made some outline adjustments and they have transformed the skatey groveler into the speedy high performance board. Look for the Modern Gem and the 3DF coming out soon in 2015.
Do you listen to music while shaping? Yes If yes, who? I listen to the radio so that the songs are always changing. I like to listen to pop culture stations! Songs with a fast beat to keep me moving at a fast pace in the shaping bay. I try not to listen to the fowl lyrics but they are quite catchy and find my self singing out loud a lot. Haha
Where do you see boards evolving in the next 5 years? Faster boards are always the goal! Making them go places on the wave that pro surfers want them to go to is the challenge. I'm always lolling to accomplish fast maneuverable boards. I also think we will see more and more new materials coming into use in manufacturing. I've been working on my stringerless EPS / Epoxy boards I call RFT for (Roberts Flex Technology) for quite a while now and the feed back has been great. These boards are quite a bit more money but how can you put a price on performance? My theory is that why are the best surfers in the world not riding boards that are far superior to what the public rides? Time will tell.
What is the biggest hurdle for a modern day shaper? Keeping everyone happy! We get a wide variety of surfers from novice to top 32 pros! So knowing what to shape for who is always a challenge. The key is knowing how your designs work and what surfer they suit best. This is the key to getting a certain surfer the right board. Knowing the answers comes from years of experience in the surf and years of developing surfboard designs.
Anything I missed? Yes! I always try to stay humble and always keep an open mind to new board design ideas.
Favorite Pro-Lite product- All of them of corse. I don't go surfing without them. :)