Rich Landerer – Rickland Surfboards – Interview

Shaper - Rich Landerer
Rickland Surfboards
Portrait by John Cocozza Photography Inc.

How many years have you been shaping for? I have been shaping for almost 14 years.

What was the catalyst for you to pick up a planer and start mowing foam? Well, I was an amateur surfer trying to go pro, but due to a neck injury I was no longer able to pursue my dream. I had already shaped a few boards for myself and I wanted to stay in the surf industry. One board led to the next one; I was basically shaping boards for myself, friends and their friends. It never really crossed my mind that I would be where I'm at today. Definitely I’m not in it for the money. I think I’ve lost more money than I profited. I just love being in the shaping room, testing new models and traveling with my pro team. The best reward is when I see guys in the water, who are stoked, ripping my boards, and featured in magazines or on film. I’ve met so many good people in this industry and do not regret choosing this pathway.

Who are you shaping mentors or influences? George Gall from Plus One Surfboards, WayoWhilar, John Shultz, William Riedel aka Stretch, Rusty, Cordell, and John Carper aka JC-Hawaii.

Specifically who was the one shaper that you had the most respect for and always wanted to accomplish as much as they did? That's a tough one; I picked up different things from my mentors and shaper friends. I think I always had respect toward my mentors/friends and any other shaper and craftsman in the industry. I’m always trying to be unique by creating and accomplishing my own goals, but I also look up to my mentors. I would like to become a Rusty or a JC one day, although it seems like the more boards and more pro riders you have, the less money you make, ha-ha Like I said, I’m here for the love of the art.

How has the economic recession the last 2 years affected Rickland Surfboards and what drives you to continue to shape and push through? The economy has affected everyone in the world. The past 2 years have been definitely the toughest, but I managed to continue making boards. 90% of all my orders are customs and I have also acquired distributors in other countries. I get lots of people who come to me asking me for a discount or a deal “because of the economy” and the best answer I give them is that when my overhead cost, Pro team, advertising, gas, bills, blanks, fiberglass and other expenses cost me less, then I will give them a discount. Come on! Is not like you walk into the farmers market and ask to get 50% off the groceries right? Especially when a guy drives a Mercedes or a Hummer and he’s asking you for a discount. I consider that very disrespectful, because it is obvious that money is not an issue to him, but a lot to me. I figured, whoever is coming to order a custom board, definitely has the money to buy a board at full retail and if they're so tight in money, then they should not be ordering new boards, simple as that. I have a sale though at the beginning of each season to increase sales.

Tell us about the relationship between a shaper and major ASP team rider.  What is the most important ingredient between the two whether communication, personal repour, sharing of knowledge, board testing and feedback? Everyone in team has a great talent. Salvador Voysest is been one of my best team riders and best friends for a long time and he's one of the best surfers from Peru. His feedback is very important to me because he understands the type of waves back home better than anyone I've known.  I been making boards for Sunny for the past few years and feedback from a former World Champ is not to be taken for granted. He's helped to develop a board for bigger surfers. Lately I have been working with my newest grom Kaikea Elias, a talented grom from Kauai. Kaikea has been surfing with JOB for many years and the kid is spectacular, his website is I’m also working with Ross Williams. I had to get Ross on the team, he was one of my favorite surfers from the momentum era and his style adapts to even the newest tricks. I'm working on Ross and Kaikea's signature models and soon they  will join my board  line up. lastly Jamie O’Brien, I shaped a few quivers for him and they're are working really good for him. The relationship with them is very important to me, at first it seems like all about business but as the time goes by we developed a friendship and enter the circle of trust. Their feedback is a must, because it helps me to make better boards. I try to communicate with them as much as I can and go on surf trips with them. Our next trip is to Peru in January.

Who are some of the latest talents to the Rickland surf team or surfers you had shaped boards lately? Well... Riders come and go but I’ve had Salvador Voysest for several years on my team. I have been shaping boards for Sunny, Simpo, Jamie O’Brien and I recently welcomed Ross Williams and Kaikea Elias to my team. There are other good local surfers like Josh Vanderwaall who help me to develop new shapes, eventually those shapes pass on to my pro team and if approved it goes to my catalog.

OK, so I am going to name the spot and you tell me the board that you would shape for yourself to surf it...

J-Bay - RPM with rounded tail or The BALA model.

Hatteras Outer Banks - The Shred-sled or the Bandit model.

Padang-Padang - The Charger model or the M3 Mental Mission model.

Cloud break - I hope I get to surf it soon with the Charger model or the M3 Mental Mission model.

Lowers, Trestles - The Bandit or the Shred-sled model.

Cabo Blanco - Shred-sled, BALA or the RPM model.

What is something that you are seeing in the Surf Industry that stokes you out? I keep seeing more groms surfing, that amps me up. Especially when I see my own groms, how fearless they are and how much they want to achieve in their surfing. My 6 year old Luke paddles on 3 to 5ft day all the way out by himself, of course with me right next to him, but stokes me out to see him doing that. The kid is tired of surfing little damn shore brakes you know? My oldest daughter is 12 years old and she learned how to surf on her first session. Not because they are my kids, but it amazes me to see how well the next generation of surfers is going to be. That makes me stoked!

If you could have any 1 board that you have seen in person through the years that was crafted by another shaper then what is that board? Shoots, that's a question you don't hear that often. Hmmm, I'd say a 6'0 x 18.25 x 2.19 shaped by JC. I rode that board in 2001 and I absolutely fell in love with it. I feel like that particular shape, helped and pushed me so that I can become a better shaper than I was then, because I wanted to shape all my boards exactly like that one magic board. Nowadays, I'm in love with my 5'4" x 19.38 x 2.31 bandit board and there's no way back, ha-ha.

Any shouts to anyone out there? I would like to thank you John for the opportunity and I like to thank all the friends and family, Team and loyal customers for all their support throughout this years. I also want to thank to my sponsors Animal, Ocean Current, Futures Fins and Pure-Glass for all the goods and support as well. There are so many people I would love to mention, but it would turn this end of the interview into like 3 or 4 extra pages, ha-ha.



Interview by : John Cocozza for Surfshot Media Inc.

Portraits by : John Cocozza Photography Inc.

This entry was posted in Magazine, Surfboard Design . Bookmark the permalink.

40 Comments to Rich Landerer – Rickland Surfboards – Interview

  1. Pedra
    Pedra March 3, 2011

    Nice job John, very good interview!

  2. rickland surfboards
    rickland surfboards March 3, 2011

    Thanks John for this great opportunity. I’m really stoke!

  3. CinnFlame
    CinnFlame March 3, 2011

    Great interview!! Way to keep it real, honest and interesting…!!

  4. grom187
    grom187 March 4, 2011

    Wow! Stoked for you Rich.
    BTW, my new bandit shreds buddy, Best board I’ve had so far since the last one you made me.
    I got nothing but great thing to say about you and your work. Keep it going!!

  5. pezziepezzolla
    pezziepezzolla March 4, 2011

    Thanks for supporting some of the better yet to be established shapers. Rick is a true craftsman with genuine design capabilities and shaping soul. Rickland’s hand work is far superior to a robot shaper and his willingness to try new materials, shapes and tools is a testament to his love of performance surfing. Despite industry dominance it’s good to see a progressive and innovative shaper get some due.

  6. rickland surfboards
    rickland surfboards March 4, 2011

    Rob Aka PEZ,
    Thanks for the support bro, I really miss surfing SF with you.
    You are one of the few guys who’s been around me since my early days. Again, thanks to you and all my friends for the support!

  7. elquestman
    elquestman March 4, 2011

    I’ve known Rich for over 10 years now. Here is a guy with real passion for what he does. Nice interview, bro!

  8. johnnyJw
    johnnyJw March 5, 2011

    Rick, I’m glad things are working out for you bro.
    I still have your shape # 875, remember?
    The nose cracked and the center fin is gone, but it was a magic board so is up on the collection wall. Hit me up this week, I’m due for a new one.

  9. shredsled4183
    shredsled4183 March 5, 2011

    I met rich when he came down to SD and am stoked to have met him. He is a down to earth dude and definitely shaping for the love. I’ve ridden pretty much everyone of his models and they never disappoint. I highly recommend getting to know your local shapers. Keep ripping Rickland.

  10. Grahammerg
    Grahammerg March 5, 2011

    Great interview! I can’t wait to ride each one of those models at each of those world class waves! I know the boards he shaped me work great and I now trust Rich with all my future boards. Its a good feeling knowing your boards come from and guy who understands what works and will help you fine tune your boards personally! Thats something a big time board company cant do. Keep up the good work Rich! I’ll be givng the new “Jersey Devil” model a go here soon in big offshore barrels.

  11. EpicShurf
    EpicShurf March 5, 2011

    Rickland Surfboards, just add salt water! Yeeeow!

  12. kagwa
    kagwa March 5, 2011

    Inspirational Rich, and keep up the great work!. Can’t wait to get on a new board of yours sometime soon!

  13. BASF
    BASF March 6, 2011

    Rich has been making boards for me and all my friends for years. I have never met anyone who is so open to feedback and so dedicated to making high performance boards. Stoked he’s finally getting some well earned acknowledgement!

  14. Jordo
    Jordo March 8, 2011

    Congrats Rich! You deserve all the praise you have been getting. Every board I get from you is better than the last, a testament to your attention to detail and real passion for shaping great surfboards specific to your customer. Keep on charging!

  15. Tdvartanian
    Tdvartanian March 8, 2011

    Congrats Rich!I’ Ive been getting boards from Rickland for 10 years. I will never buy a board from another company why buy a board from some old d-bag when I can get one from the real deal. Everyone needs to try these boards they are awesome.

  16. db
    db March 8, 2011

    Great interview, congrats Rich! Rich has shaped many great boards for me over the years and has really helped my surfing to evolve. The passion he has for shaping and the time he dedicates to his customers is unmatched.

  17. cccruz
    cccruz March 8, 2011

    Rich is the real deal. He has shaped 9 boards for me over the last 4 years and has delivered on my expectations every time. The time that he spends with you prior to shaping is above and beyond what other shapers will do. He truly listens to what you want and makes it a reality.

  18. kaikea
    kaikea March 26, 2011

    Rich shapes the best boards in the world. period. I have been surfing my whole life and have gotten to ride all of the best boards and I can honestly say that RIckland SUrfboards are miles ahead of anything I have ridden. DO yourselves a favor, buy his boards you will not regret it.

  19. raazor01
    raazor01 March 26, 2011

    Rich…Great Guy, Great Shaper, Great friend!

  20. shrednasty46290
    shrednasty46290 March 27, 2011

    Rich is a shredder, a killer shaper and an all around good guy. Being able to take an idea for a board to him and discuss it has always been a good/personable experience, yielding perfect tailor made boards every time. Currently riding his Shred Sled Model at 5’9″ and love being able to throw the thing anywhere you want in almost any kid of surf. Keep up the good work. BUY Local. SuPPORT Small BusineSS. RICKLAND OR DIE

  21. chaseadam17
    chaseadam17 March 30, 2011

    Sick interview. Rich is the man.

  22. toby
    toby March 30, 2011

    Rich is the man, rips at surfing, shaping, business man and family man. Rich is the real deal! RIch thinks forward and that is what sets him apart from the rest.

  23. jinco
    jinco March 30, 2011

    Nice one rich

  24. Ashleyrae
    Ashleyrae March 30, 2011

    Rich is THE BEST hands down! His quality of boards is only matched by his expertise! He always goes that extra mile (Should check out the custom job he did for me!) and is just a pleasure to chat with back and fourth about board ideas, shapes, and story swapping. I gotta go with Shrednasty up above, BUY Local. SUPPORT Small BUSINESS. RICKLAND OR DIE!!!!

  25. JBeam
    JBeam March 30, 2011

    When I first met Rich, I couldn’t believe what dedication he seemed to have for his kids and family. A true heart. Keep up the great work.


  26. reefjosh
    reefjosh March 30, 2011

    I worked for REEF for years as a rep in the caribbean. I got to travel quite a bit and Rickland surfboads worked well in all conditions.. I especially liek some of the shorter squattier models that make any type of crappy surf fun(especially crappy san diego surf).

  27. bjjunlimited
    bjjunlimited March 30, 2011

    Rich shaped a couple of boards for me and he always did a great job. He was easy to talk to and work with and added a couple of cool ideas I didn’t event think of. He’s super down to earth and I recommend him to all my buddies

  28. Action Surf
    Action Surf March 30, 2011

    Great shaper and friend. Artwork is also some of the best on any board.

  29. fishninja
    fishninja March 30, 2011

    He did a great job shaping a board for my son and I couldn’t be happier. He was artwork was great and paid attention to all my son’s request. He was super cool about everything

  30. surfchik
    surfchik March 30, 2011

    Rickland Surfboards are the best !!! They work everywhere in the world from Pipeline to South America! Rich is also an extraordinary artist and does all his own artwork. Our family is very thankful for all he’s done for our son.

  31. SillyGirlLita
    SillyGirlLita March 30, 2011

    Awesome job Rich! Rich is one of the craziest most honest people I know! Ive seen his work and I think his designs are frkn rad! He’s extremely dedicated to what he does n is something he’s good at! To a great daddy n designer, good luck with everything Rich!!!!

  32. puppy
    puppy March 30, 2011

    These shapes are the sickest! Got my Bandit last spring and its the perfect summerboard, wave magnet super fast inside… Then when fall came around I picked up a Shredsled and it was what the doctor ordered when surf picked up a little! Rich was cool too, got my boards to me before they were promised and excactly how i wanted them… kudos rich bro!

  33. cadam
    cadam March 30, 2011

    been getting boards for a while and always love the boards i get. every board is more progressive than the previous board and im always so stoked to get a new board from rich. thanks for the sticks man!

  34. machaca619
    machaca619 March 31, 2011

    With thousands of surfboard shapers and surfboard distributors out there, how do you know where to even start? After riding Rickland surfboards for more than 8 years now, I just want all of you too know that his boards design and performance are the most advanced you will have ever experienced, so don’t go waste your money. These boards are majical and i dont leave home without one.

  35. mayamaya
    mayamaya March 31, 2011

    You seriously make the sickest boards around. Great interview.

  36. rickland surfboards
    rickland surfboards March 31, 2011

    I wouldn’t be here without you guys.
    Thanks for all your support.

  37. Tim
    Tim April 3, 2011

    I just got the model that Rich calls “The Bandit”and would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a board with more paddle power but that still has high performance too. I surfed every day last week and I haven’t been this stoked on my surfing in a long time!

    Thanks again Rich and Aloha!

  38. youngisalex
    youngisalex April 4, 2011

    Rich has been shaping boards for me, since the beginning. We first met by accident long story…. I tried to sell him a buckled board. We ended up making one of the first models together. Now we are friends for life. Rich has come up with some amazing shapes, I am pretty glad he left norcal. I can now get a wave to myself. Much love rich has been good to see you become a world renowned shaper.


  39. AndrewScott
    AndrewScott April 4, 2011

    Great interview. I’ve been riding Rich’s boards for about 8 years — my latest Bandit is the best board I’ve ever had under my feet. He is a cutting edge shaper who is taking on the big boys and doesn’t back down. His shapes are solid, he cares about quality, and he’s not afraid to innovate. He is fully committed to the craft and deserves the support of everyone around him — he will be one of the great shapers of our generation — glad to see he’s getting the press he deserves.

  40. jshep
    jshep April 4, 2011

    I have been riding Rich’s boards for nearly 8 years and I love them. No matter where I am living, in California or Hawaii I always make sure I have some. Id recomend them to everyone, and he is a great guy. His talent is only rising. Much respect

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