Rory Russell Interview

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Rory Russell is in Hawaii as you read this, but he wasn’t this past summer. He was shacked up in Laguna Niguel hanging with his mom and shaping custom Lightning Bolts for some high end clientele. Many people don’t know this, but Rory’s been shaping boards for over 40 years and his limited edition Pipe guns are some of the most beautiful surfboards we’ve ever seen. We caught up with him before he split back to the North Shore, and here’s what he had to say….
G+J: It’s been epic seeing you hanging out in Orange County the past couple months, what have you been up to?
Rory Russell: Well, I’ve been catching a few waves. I’ve gotten down to Mexico to surf, and down to Nicaragua to surf. And making a bunch of boards and hanging out with my mom which has really been a lot of fun.

G+J: And what’s it like to see surfing progress so much as a sport since the 1970s?
Rory Russell: Unbelievable. Put it this way, back in the old days, one of the rules Gerry Lopez had was never grab a rail, and now it seems like grabbing a rail is the key to all these aerials. It’s unreal, man. Who would’ve ever thought, right?

G+J: How did you become known as “The Dog”?
Rory Russell: Oh man, I’ve heard all kinds of different versions. But just use your imagination on that one. (Laughs) There’s many perspectives to that. Some people said it was because I grabbed all the waves. But who knows. I’m sure there’s a good reason to that somewhere. (More laughs)

G+J: At what point did you give your life to surfing?
Rory Russell: When I rode my first wave and stepped off on the beach. That was it. It was at Barber’s Point on the southwest side of Oahu, the military base. My brother went out first, got caught by a set, came in and sat the board down and said, “This is not for me.” I grabbed to board, didn’t get caught by a set, caught the first wave that came toward me, stood up and rode it all the way to the sand and that was it.

G+J: How special were those days at Pipe back in the 1970s?
Rory Russell: Very special. So special. I sat back and watched some old surf movies the other day and just went, wow! Did we have it made! Good waves, nobody around. The only problem I had was that my mom was a teacher at my school, so that was my biggest drawback.

G+J: She wouldn’t let you skip school to surf?
Rory Russell: No, but she did let me stay home two days a month to surf if I stayed on Honor Roll.

G+J: So you were a good student in school?
Rory Russell: Oh yeah, honor roll all the way.

G+J: Do you remember the first time you got tubed at Pipe?
Rory Russell: Yeah, I do. I was 14. It was me, Rusty Starr, Tommy Winkler and Bill Lacey. That was the group I hung out with. My brother took us out and dropped us off and I was riding a 6’8” and got this little insider, between OTW and Backdoor, a little one about three feet and got totally barrelled. It was unreal. That was the first one.

G+J: Who’s the best surfer you’ve ever seen?
Rory Russell: John John and Sunny Garcia. The best surfers I’ve ever seen after living on the North Shore for 50 years. Those are the two best surfers in the world. And Kelly of course. Kelly’s the standard by which you judge everybody else by.

G+J: What words of wisdom do you have for surfers wanting to surf their lives away?
Rory Russell: Surf for your heart. Don’t surf to try and be somebody. That’s very important. Surf for yourself and don’t surf to try and impress anybody except yourself. Pictures, being in movies … it doesn’t make the person.

G+J: Finally, how much will it cost me to get one of your custom shaped Rory Russell Lightning Bolt Pipe Guns?
Rory Russell: (Laughs) We can work something out. Text me on my phone at (808) 333-2210. That’s a really good number to remember.


Posted by: ghetto juiceghetto juice at: 24 Feb 2015 15:11




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Rory Russell is in Hawaii as you read this, but he wasn’t this past summer. He was shacked up in Laguna Niguel hanging with his mom and shaping custom Lightning Bolts for some high end clientele. Many people don’t know this, but Rory’s been shaping boards for over 40 years and his limited edition Pipe guns are some of the most beautiful surfboards we’ve ever seen. We caught up with him before he split back to the North Shore, and here’s what he had to say….
G+J: It’s been epic seeing you hanging out in Orange County the past couple months, what have you been up to?
Rory Russell: Well, I’ve been catching a few waves. I’ve gotten down to Mexico to surf, and down to Nicaragua to surf. And making a bunch of boards and hanging out with my mom which has really been a lot of fun.

G+J: And what’s it like to see surfing progress so much as a sport since the 1970s?
Rory Russell: Unbelievable. Put it this way, back in the old days, one of the rules Gerry Lopez had was never grab a rail, and now it seems like grabbing a rail is the key to all these aerials. It’s unreal, man. Who would’ve ever thought, right?

G+J: How did you become known as “The Dog”?
Rory Russell: Oh man, I’ve heard all kinds of different versions. But just use your imagination on that one. (Laughs) There’s many perspectives to that. Some people said it was because I grabbed all the waves. But who knows. I’m sure there’s a good reason to that somewhere. (More laughs)

G+J: At what point did you give your life to surfing?
Rory Russell: When I rode my first wave and stepped off on the beach. That was it. It was at Barber’s Point on the southwest side of Oahu, the military base. My brother went out first, got caught by a set, came in and sat the board down and said, “This is not for me.” I grabbed to board, didn’t get caught by a set, caught the first wave that came toward me, stood up and rode it all the way to the sand and that was it.

G+J: How special were those days at Pipe back in the 1970s?
Rory Russell: Very special. So special. I sat back and watched some old surf movies the other day and just went, wow! Did we have it made! Good waves, nobody around. The only problem I had was that my mom was a teacher at my school, so that was my biggest drawback.

G+J: She wouldn’t let you skip school to surf?
Rory Russell: No, but she did let me stay home two days a month to surf if I stayed on Honor Roll.

G+J: So you were a good student in school?
Rory Russell: Oh yeah, honor roll all the way.

G+J: Do you remember the first time you got tubed at Pipe?
Rory Russell: Yeah, I do. I was 14. It was me, Rusty Starr, Tommy Winkler and Bill Lacey. That was the group I hung out with. My brother took us out and dropped us off and I was riding a 6’8” and got this little insider, between OTW and Backdoor, a little one about three feet and got totally barrelled. It was unreal. That was the first one.

G+J: Who’s the best surfer you’ve ever seen?
Rory Russell: John John and Sunny Garcia. The best surfers I’ve ever seen after living on the North Shore for 50 years. Those are the two best surfers in the world. And Kelly of course. Kelly’s the standard by which you judge everybody else by.

G+J: What words of wisdom do you have for surfers wanting to surf their lives away?
Rory Russell: Surf for your heart. Don’t surf to try and be somebody. That’s very important. Surf for yourself and don’t surf to try and impress anybody except yourself. Pictures, being in movies … it doesn’t make the person.

G+J: Finally, how much will it cost me to get one of your custom shaped Rory Russell Lightning Bolt Pipe Guns?
Rory Russell: (Laughs) We can work something out. Text me on my phone at (808) 333-2210. That’s a really good number to remember.

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