Ambassadors

 

Paul Strauch Jr.

To a surfer, the pinnacle experience, outside of that incredible ride, is having a custom board shaped right for you. It’s truly a dream come true. When I was 12, my dad arranged for Tom Blake to shape a board for me. I watched him working in our garage, shaping my 8’6” balsa swallow tail board. That board was magic! This one experience was followed by boards built for me by George Downing, Joe Quigg, Hobie Alter, Hap Jacobs, Ernie Tanaka, Ben Aipa, and today with Roger Hinds. Talk about magic, Roger hand crafts every one of the boards he creates, from start to finish, with his two hands.
Roger has impeccable craftsmanship from start to finish and is right up there with the best of them.”

Strauch was born (1943) and raised in Honolulu, began surfing as a goofyfooter at age four, then switched to regularfoot at 12. While Strauch is best remembered as an effortless freestyle surfer, he competed often and well: he finished second in the juniors division of the 1958 Makaha International, then won in 1959; he won the 1963 Peru International, placed second in the 1965 Duke Kahanamoku Invitational and third in the 1965 World Surfing Championships; he also won the 1966 state titles and the 1969 Makaha, and competed in the 1966 and 1970 World Championships.

Strauch has been credited as the first surfer to do bottom turns in bigger waves, something he began working on in the late '50s. At about the same time he creating a new kind of a noseriding stance by squatting on his rear haunch and extending his front foot to the board's tip—mainly as a way to increase stability. It was called the "cheater five" or "stretch five" because, unlike a vertical-stance hang five noseride, the rider's weight is almost completely on the back foot, away from the nose. The Strauch crouch is the only type of noseride used in large surf.

Encyclopedia of Surfing

 

San Onofre Surf Co.

I first became familiar with Roger Hinds about five years ago when I attended a Board Room Show in Del Mar, California. Just one glance at Roger’s work he had displayed caught my eye without knowing his deep history in surfboard shaping, design & manufacturing. Surfboards shaped and glassed by Roger Hinds are 100% top quality as he does every detail himself.

The crew at San Onofre Surf Company is as authentic as it gets. A collective of young surfers embedded in the true heritage and culture of surfing from the past to the present.

Unique due to their surroundings they share with you the influence of multiple styles, waves, and talents. Being nestled in one of the largest surf communities has allowed our compadres and extended familia to express themselves in multiple ways that is relatable to people worldwide.

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Mike "Army" Armstrong

Mike "Army" Armstrong was born in Venezuela and spent his first few years in a jungle camp where his father worked as a petroleum engineer for Chevron. When his father moved the family to Laguna Beach, Mike naturally gravitated toward the water and when he was 10 his neighbor gave him his first surfboard which was a balsa Velzy-Jacobs. By the time he was 16, Armstrong had become one of visionary shaper Kenny Warner's test pilots. He exhibited his skills at Trestles, Salt Creek, and Brooks Street. In 1970 Armstrong moved to Oahu and was introduced to Gerry Lopez by Greg Elterman and the two became vast friends. Army, along with his Lightning Bolt contemporaries Gerry Lopez and Rory Russell, would dominate the Pipeline in the 70's. Armstrong was the runner up in the first 2 Pipe Masters losing to Jeff Hackman in the inaugural event and Gerry Lopez the following year.

For the past 20 years Armstrong had collaborated on board designs with Roger Hinds of Country Surfboards.

He can push a planer around a board like nobody’s business.
— Mike "Army" Armstong
 
Army made quite an impression, not just with me but with everyone, when he showed up at Pipe he was a pretty laid back guy. His style was like that too. He ripped but was real casual, smooth. He was one of the real soul masters out there.
— Gerry Lopez
Army was a maniac at Pipe. His Approach was real technical, really developed. He surfed it with almost machinist precision. Mike was like a developed athlete. Gerry was artful, and Rory (Russell) just couldn’t help himself.
— Kent Smith
 

Jock Sutherland

Roger has a well-honed sense of how top and bottom rockers, thickness distribution and the right rail outline and foil will all work together to make a board that’s fast and maneuverable. A couple of his winged squashes and swallow-tails are still some of my all-time faves for here on the North Shore.
— Jock Sutherland

Quirky switchfoot surfer from Haleiwa, Hawaii; winner of the 1967 Duke Kahanamoku Invitational, and the first tuberiding virtuoso of the shortboard era. Sutherland was born (1948) in Long Beach, California, the son of a World War II navy officer father, and education advocate mother who later became a renowned sea kayaker. The family moved to the North Shore of Oahu in 1954, and Jock began surfing in 1956 at age eight.

Sutherland had a great five-year run as a competitor. At 17, he got caught in traffic driving to the West Side to compete in the finals of  the 1965 Makaha International event; paddling out with only 15 minutes left, he blitzed the lineup to gain his five-wave minimum, and finished runner-up to David Nuuhiwa by a single point. In the 1966 World Championships, held in San Diego, Sutherland finished second to Australian Nat Young. A few months later he won the small-wave division of the 1967 Peru International, and in December of that year won the Duke. (He was featured prominently in ABC's coverage of the 1968 Duke, and a violent Sutherland wipeout from that year's event was later used in the Wide World of Sports' opening credits to illustrate "the agony of defeat.") He also won the Hawaiian State Championships three times, from 1967 to 1969.