July 29, 2016
Wayne was born and raised in Hermosa Beach, California, growing up on 7th Street, a few blocks up from the famed “Pollard Valley” factories of Bing, Rick, Jacobs, Greg Noll, Dewey Weber, Petrillo, Vardeman, Mobley, Dave Boyce, Body Glove Wetsuits, Pollard Glassing, Bay Cities Glassing and in the 70’s, Shoreline Glassing, Sunrise Glassing, Unity, Reef, Bendiksen, Becker, Wayne Miyata, and more.
Growing up in and around these factories with the diverse people of tremendous character and extreme talent working inside of them, Wayne was molded into a true Surfer/Shaper and is an authentic protégé of, the “Golden Era” of South Bay surfboard building. His fascination with the beach began with riding the surf on an inflated canvas air mattress with his mom and sister Zona in the early 60s, and he was introduced to surfing in 1967 at age 9 under the wing of Dan Bendiksen (Head Shaper at Bing Surfboards), who would become his #1 mentor both in the water and the shaping room. Dan was like a second father and great friend as well as a hero to Wayne his entire lifetime. His other early South Bay shaping mentors included Mike Geib, Phil Becker, Redman, Jeff Widener, Sam “Skipperfats” Harwood, and all around surfboard building masters Ray Lucke, Bobby Jensen and Wayne Miyata.
In 1984, Ray Lucke, owner and glasser of Jacobs Surfboards at that time, offered Wayne the head shaping position and a chance to work into a half ownership of the label. Wayne would go on to shape under the Jacobs label for 14 years, being partners with Ray Lucke, Clyde Beatty, and Masahiko Kito in Japan, as well as shaping for his good friend and mentor Dewey Weber for a 5-year period, while continuing to shape under his own WR Underground logo and eventually the star and circle logo, including his unique stylized writing and “WR” signature, written in pencil or India Ink, that hails “THE UNDERGROUND LIVES”… Wayne’s trademark statement on every custom board.
By 1990, Wayne moved north to Ventura, Port Hueneme, living at “Hollywood By The Sea” (Oxnard) for nearly a decade, and in 1993 he started shaping in the room next door to Renny Yater in the original Santa Barbara Surf Shop building (that had recently evolved into Clyde Beatty’s glass shop) with at that time, a small consortium of shapers, consisting of Renny Yater, Lauran Yater, Max McDonald, along with Wayne that lasted for many years.
Wayne has called Santa Barbara home ever since, considering Renny and the late John Bradbury to be his greatest mentors over the past 17 years. Admittedly hooked on Rincon and the incredible range of great waves to ride from San Diego to the Central coast, he claims that the people, and the breaks along this zone, have been the key element in his quest to harness knowledge as a Surfer/Shaper/Designer and share ideas with other like minded people in the constantly evolving and humbling world of surfing, surfboard building and life…
Check out Wayne's Signature fins with True Ames
Wayne Rich #3 Wayne Rich Classic Wayne Rich Power
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