We sat down with Roy to hear why he thinks many of you are a “circus full of performing monkeys”, why the Olosurfer is the Sport of Kings, and how he plans to “reinstate the Sport of Kings to its rightful spiritual eminence.”
As you'll see, Roy represents the opposite of mass production, and it's as if Roy jumped in a time capsule from the 1900s on his wood board, looked around, and said I like it the old way, thanks very much!
DS: Where are you living now?
I live in Putaruru, New Zealand..
DS: Where are you getting your sessions?
At Mount Maunganui in the Bay of Plenty (pictured).
I built my first paipo boards from wood at nine years of age using my grandfather's tools.
DS: Where do you get materials?
Thanks to Paul Joske's discovery of Paulownia as the ultimate surfboard wood, we have been using Paulownia wood exclusively. All our wood is sourced locally. We are also growing our own.
DS: What is your philosophy of boardbuilding?
Pure surfing, a Zen thing. The only goal is to make waves. It's a victory of the spirit over the mundane and reasonable. Pure surfing is unreasonable. It's primeval and predatory. It's a no mind state free of the usual pseudo rational social and mental abstractions which are used to justify and normalise waveriding. Civilisation insists upon the imposition of social context upon surfing via rules, competitions, schools of thought, style, status, and a demand for emotional self expression, as well as the banal demand to have ‘fun'. All of this excess baggage obscures the primary urge. Removing it leaves one in a state where there is no reason to surf. That is the key. No reason is needed.
Every corporate sponsored school of surfing has a list of required tricks which supposedly define surfing and which need to be performed or at least approved of for acceptance into the group. Longboarding has noseriding, cross stepping, soul arching, knee dropping, and other poses. Shortboarding has hacks, gouges, punts and tricks by the dozen. Alaia and finless surfing have 360's, the lala, and other tricks currently being named as it strives to become a ‘real' surfing school. Likewise SUP's obediently line up to ape shortboarding and longboarding moves. The whole deal is a zoo, a circus full of performing monkeys who know the price of everything but fail to understand the value of nothing. Without point scoring tricks surfing is nothing, just an empty no mind state. That's pure surfing.
Of course without some sort of goal one wouldn't surf at all, so we simply strive to catch and make waves. One might say that it's like competing in order to score one point or less, just as in golf the fewer strokes make the winner. This has a profound effect on surfboard design. Currently the industry produces surfboards which are like golfclubs made to take the maximum number of strokes while producing the greatest volume of divots. Paradoxically, intense intellectual discipline creates surrfboards which ride more by doing less.
DS: How long does it take to make a board?
The 19 foot Olo of the Sun took four years from concept to completion, shorter boards take less time. I've given up counting the hours as that's a form of slavery. I prefer to create without a clock.
DS: What do you think of mass produced boards?
I don't think about them much, it's reassuring to see them when entering the water though as they handicap their riders. I tend to see all foam boards as mass produced.
Yes and no. All grommets are pure surfers at the start. Kids have a natural stoke and innocence. So they always start out being the very essence of the spirit of surfing. Most kids are however easily influenced, they follow trends, and they need to be part of a group. This makes them easy targets for marketing psychologists. . Nearly every possible naturally occurring surfing attitude has been scientifically analysed by marketing teams, and used to hijack minds in the pursuit of profit. Those kids follow corporate orders. Most never recover their surfing innocence. It can be done, however, by ceasing to be a ‘surfer', and just riding waves.
DS: What does Olosurfer represent?
The Sport of Kings.
DS: Is it surfing in its basic form?
It is basic in the sense of being most central to the experience. Pure surfing is the foundation of all surfing. Remove the loose bits and it is there inside. One just has to remember.
DS: Do you have to ride wooden surfboards or is it a mindset?
No, one does not have to ride a wooden board, but after riding wood, foam holds no attraction. Wood has a natural resonance and a spring constant, it's the perfect material for surfboards. Who plays a foam violin ?