SURFER: What got you into riding single-fins?
Rob: The first time I went to Al Merrick’s house when I was 16 or 17. He had this photo on his wall from the ‘70s of a bunch of dudes with the coolest looking boards I had ever seen. From that day on, every time I went to Al’s house I would beg him to make me just one of those boards. At the time Al was so focused on progressing the sport, he would just laugh at me and say, “Oh Robert…we’ve already done that.” But I never gave up and I kept asking and asking until one day his glasser called me and said, “We have this single-fin here that Al shaped for you.” I was so excited. I felt like I was 12 again, and I was picking up my first custom board. I rode that board for months and months. That was the beginning for me.
What’s the best part of surfing on single-fins?
The best part about riding a board like that is the paddle-ibility (making up words here). You can get into waves so early and draw such a different line than a standard thruster. Just watch old footage of guys like Gerry back in the day at Pipe. Their boards were so thick, they got into waves super early and drew such a different line. Especially compared to how Pipeline is surfed today. Take a guy like John John. It would be really interesting to measure the volume of a board that John John rides at 10-foot Pipe compared to a board Gerry rode at 10-foot Pipe. I bet the difference would be mind blowing. But it’s all relevant when you see how differently their approach to the wave is. To me they are both equally impressive. Both take an exceptional amount of skill.
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See the Merrick Single Fin.