The Lowdown: Ever since legendary surf filmmaker Bruce Brown decided to cast Robert “Wingnut” Weaver in his second, updated installment of the surf classic Endless Summer, Wingnut has risen to the top of a unique and accomplished career in surfing. Besides being one of the best, most talented longboarders in the water, Wingnut enjoys surf star status as host of Fox’s Longboard TV, is the director of marketing at SURFTECH in Santa Cruz, is a high-end surf guide, traveling around the world with clients and is dedicated father of his 6-year-old son Cameron, who he surfs with. “I keep my fingers in a bunch of little pies,” he says, followed by his at-the-ready, contagious laugh.
Q: You probably get asked this a lot, but how’d you get your nickname?
A: Yeah, and I don’t answer it. I’ve never told anybody.
Q: I heard somewhere that you are teaching Nick Cage how to surf.
A: Yeah, that’s part of the high-end, surf, celebrity bullshit that I do. Actually he’s extremely athletic, in really good shape and picked it up really fast.
Q: For you, what is the essence of surfing?
A: It is pure, unadulterated fun. Trying to harness this absolutely wild energy source here (looks out to sea) and tag along for a ride, because you’re never in control, you’re in control as far as you think you are but the ocean is it’s own thing. It’s like going down a hill on a bicycle except (in surfing) the hill is moving, constantly shifting, alive, body of free energy. So it’s a pretty exciting.
Q: So how did you get so damn good at surfing?
A: Well it’s just incredible natural talent (laughs) No, I can’t play music. I definitely can’t sing. I’m a pretty good dancer. The only artistic expression I have is surfing. For me I like the compliment “you make it look easy. You make it look pretty.” It’s about being smooth, and fluid and graceful and this is where I get to do that. I was lucky growing up down south at a beach break where I got to surf really junky waves. So when I figured out all the trials and foibles and problems with that kind of wave I got to come up here where there was a point break where you can actually manicure your style. It’s easy to from crappy waves to good waves. It was at the right time when I got to clean up some of the nonsense in my surfing style.
Q: Talk a little bit more about the artistry inherent in surfing.
A: There’s a big competitive aspect to surfing—pro contest and all that. It’s a necessary evil. It’s how surfers get sponsored. It’s a way to quantify a salary for really good athletes. You can take 99 percent of all pro athletes they will drown out here whereas a surfer could probably catch a fly ball in center field. This (surfing) is a unique athletic endeavor. It has the same difficulties in judging as figure skating. It’s an artistic endeavor more than a competitive endeavor. I like the individuality, the creativity that surfing embodies. The beauty has to be there. It has to be aesthetically smooth and flowing for it to work.
Q: Do you ever get out on a short board?
A: Not officially. I’ve got boards that are 7-feet and less but they’re still single fins, they’re round, they make sense to my brain. I’m a little bit of an old dog. Yeah, I could learn how to ride one but why be bad at something? If I can take my smaller single fins and make them fit into really hollow, radical waves, I’m happy.
Q: Is longboarding to you more of an art form then?
A: Definitely. It comes from a more graceful, fluid era and that’s what you think about when you’re riding longer boards, whereas the whole short board mentality of aggressive dominance on the wave doesn’t flow quite as well. I think when the surf gets big, double overhead and above then short boards start to smooth out and becomes really graceful and smooth. Long boarding should incorporate the aesthetic a little bit more. But you don’t want to get too carried away with it where all it is style, where you’re board’s still going straight and you haven’t done anything (turns maneuvers, etc.) yet. There needs to be a nice mix I think.
Q: You’re known for your nose riding.
A: Yeah, I’m pretty good at it (grins).
Q: What does the future hold for your surfing?
A: For me there’s no reason to stop. I was just surfing with Rabbit Kakai (Check Spelling) and he’s 86 now and he still surfs better than every single guy in the water. It was impressive. I don’t think there’s any reason to quite. The cold water makes it less fun. I might spend more time on the road hunting down warmer water. I’ve got a 6-year-old son so we get to travel together more these days and surf warmer water.
Q: So do you have anything else to say about surfing?
A: Uh, no. (Laughs) We come from water, we feel good when we’re in it whether it be a swimming pool or an ocean. And we really have a live ocean out here. It’s like wild kingdom with otters, whales, dolphins, pelicans, you feel totally immersed in nature. It feels good.
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