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By Steve Friedman

I started surfing after my Grandfather showed me how to use the bus when I was 8 years old. I body-surfed at Station 2 near the POP pier in Santa Monica, California. When I turned 13, I got my first surfboard an Ole Surfboard with green comp stripes.


She was a beauty! I still get chicken skin thinking about how much fun it was just getting up early and getting to the beach, waxing her up and paddling out for a surf. I was hooked! One day my friend Ralph asked me if I wanted to ditch school and go to Malibu. It was a day that changed my life. Middle of the week, no one out but us and a bunch of seagulls, 2 to 4 foot with a light off-shore. We surfed all day! On the way home all I could think about was never going back to school again!!


The first board I made was for a friend Tom Remy. We were hanging at his place after a surf up the coast in Oxnard. I said I thought it would be great to build your own boards. It would really be a good way to get closer to what we do. Tom leaves the room and comes back with some cash. He hands it to me and tells me to go and build a board for him and one for me. Mahalo Tom for getting me started on this bitchen ride!


I started working for Con Surfboards in Venice Beach, glueing up blanks and polishing boards. I met a fellow named Kalian who was the fastest sander I have ever seen. We are having lunch and he tells me about Hawaii. How friendly the folks are and that I would really dig the surf. I was gone in 2 weeks bound for Maui. Living on Maui during the 70’s was awesome to say the least! Surfing Honolua Bay with only 20 or 30 of the best surfers in the world, I got to learn so much about what worked and what didn’t very quickly. Every day I lived for surf and at night I washed dishes and worked on my shaping. I still live for surf but only wash dishes at home.


I got to work with Wayno, Gerry Lopez, Eldo, John Sewl and the master Bob “OLE” Olson, who taught me the secret of flow. Not just in surfing but in life. Mahalo Bob. Two years ago I did a HWS course with Paul Jensen. He is a master craftsman and cool guy. After the week we had made a board using his system. Two things happened. I learned how to build timber boards with a lot less waste and EPOXY resin. I can now offer lighter boards without compromising strength using all kinds of foam and timber. And I don't feel like a walking zombie after glassing.


Since coming to Australia in 1980 I have worked for Cooper Surfboards, Rip Curl, Nat Young, Islantis Surfboards, Piping Hot, Island Surfboards, Balin, Mike Davis Surfboards, Peter Whites Classic Malibu and Strapper Surfboards. All the time I still made boards under my own label Friedman Flyers. I’m still as stoked as I was 50 years ago and looking forward to many days at the beach ridding waves with friends and family and building surfboards by hand, KUSTOM for you!