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The Surfersvillage Interview: Gary Linden, shaper & charger






Gary's a builder: From the Big Wave World Tour to agave surfboards

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 19 June, 2016 - Gary Linden creates things: Surfboards, big wave world tours, surfboards and more surfboards. He has shaped in the San Diego area for more than four decades and although he makes most boards using modern materials and techniques, he still uses natural and traditional materials including agave and balsa wood.

Most recently he’s created a quiver from the agave plant - from blank to glass to resin. In a special project he partnered with tequila makers Jose Cuervo to do these boards entirely out of natural materials. The results are a series of designs ranging in length from 5'6" to 9'2".


Fighting to find time to shape, Gary also has to be free to chase swell around the world as organizer for the Big Wave World Tour. It's tough to manage both, but he does both well.

“Not only does Gary shape his big-wave boards, he also charges big waves on his own equipment,” says Peter Mel. “He's the most experienced guy you could have running the Big Wave World Tour.”

Gary Linden is the subject of this week’s Surfersvillage Interview...

How would you describe what you do for work to a very small, inattentive child?
I make toys for big people. So that we can play games together


What is that you do professionally that you are most proud of?
The founding of the Big Wave World Tour.

What are you currently working on that you’re really excited about?
The creation of a surfboard using materials entirely from one plant, agave.

Tell us what has been your biggest mistake and what did you learn from that mistake?
Trusting someone to take care of my business as I was busy creating it. I learned you have to watch the numbers yourself if you want to survive in business.

Share with us your biggest Rocky Balboa moment (you know, punching meat in a freezer then running up the steps of City Hall with your own special theme music blaring.)
Sailing from the Canary Islands which is on the east coast of the North Atlantic Ocean to Brasil which is on the East Coast of the South Atlantic Ocean on a 30’ boat with no motor and no outside connection or modern navigational equipment.

If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing? Selling shoes?
Surfing a warm water point break first thing in the morning and letting the rest of the day take it’s own shape.

OK, you get to drop into five moments in history – surf or otherwise. Please name
them and why.

1. Surfing with the Duke and the rest of the original Hawaiian Beach Boys, because it looks like they had the most fun ever.

2. Sitting in the airplane with Orville Wright on the first flight. Greatest combination of technology and adrenaline rush to date at that time.

3. Drinking a beer with Sergio Mendes when he wrote “The Girl From Ipanema” because that was the Golden era of the Free World, the Fifties, and Brasil is the freest place I have ever been.

4. Side by side with Ghandi when his peaceful protests changed an entire Country without violence.

5. Watching as Moses parted the Red Sea to have been able to participate in at least one of The Miracles!

Bryan Dickerson

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