Island Water Sports has had a close relationship with Mark Richards & Quiksilver’s CEO Bob McKnight since the early 80s. As we get ready for the much anticipated event, we hope you can get to know the shaper and surfer we all love.
Get to know Mark Richards
Mark grew up with a dad who loved to surf, so he was in the waves at a young age. At age 13. Mark got an electric planer for Christmas and this was the start of a long career. “There was no such thing as Pro Surfing in those days, and if you surfed, the dream career was to work in the surfboard industry.”
Mark started surfing competively at an early age and competed selectively up until 1980. But, Mark’s loyalty was split, concentrating on two careers: Pro Surfing and shaping.
Learning to Shape
During this time, he worked with and learn from some of the world’s greatest shapers, including Geoff Mc Coy, Ben Aipa, Jim Richardson, Tom Parish, Gerry Lopez, Spider Murphy, Reno Abellira and Dick Brewer. Mark credits Dick Brewer in teaching him the techniques he needed so that he could create all that he had pictured in his mind for the future of board riding.
Mark says, “The seed for the idea of the reborn twinfin came from these shaping sessions. I shaped the original Free Ride Twinfin during the winter of 1977 in Newcastle. It became a ground-breaking surfboard, lifting performance surfing to new levels. The speed and manoeuverability of this board gave me a ‘secret weapon’ for competitive surfing during 1978 and 1979, and was directly responsible for me securing my first World championship in 1979, and subsequently in 1980, 1981 and 1982.”
A World Champion
Winning the World Championship was the highlight of his career. He put the shaping career on the back burner and concentrated on following the World Championship Tour. His goal was to to try to win back to back World Titles. He achieved his goal but did not stop there. After the fourth win in 1982 he finally retired from competing full-time to again concentrate on shaping.
Today Richards still lives in Newcastle, with his wife, Jenny, and three children, Kyle, Nathan and Grace. He runs the Mark Richards Surf Shop in Hunter Street (the same shop started by his parents). He also runs a full-time surfboard manufacturing business. Mark makes it a point to still get in the water and do what he loves. He is constantly refining and developing his designs, based on the feedback he receives from others and his own personal experiences in the water. Mark also travels to surf other breaks around the world to be sure that his boards can perform in a variety of conditions. He prides himself on not cutting corners when making a board. “We work on the principle of low output / high quality. We use only the finest materials available. Australian Burford blanks, and imported American resin and fiberglass.”
Meet the Legend
Mark Richards has become a legend in the surf world. Meet him and learn more about his life at the Quiksilver events at Island Water Sports, Monday, August 15th. The first 40 people to buy $25 or more of Quicksilver and/or Roxy products this week and show their receipt during the event, can claim a free beer from Saltwater Brewery and a quesadilla from Crazydilla.
Did you know?
- Mark and his wife Jenny lost their infant son to SIDS in 1989. Since 1989, together they have raised over $500000 to help find the cause of this disease.
- IWS founder, Kirk Cottrell, donated one of his prized collectors surf boards to be displayed in McKnight’s office at Quiksilver head quarters.
Read more about Mark Richards: