Stab Magazine | The Stab Caddy 2.0: Rusty x Billabong Occy '84

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The Stab Caddy 2.0: Rusty x Billabong Occy ’84

Meet 16-year-old Occy’s boxy-railed, smash-the-world 6’2”!

hardware // Sep 12, 2016
Words by stab
Reading Time: 3 minutes

The Stab Caddy 2.0: Sixteen-year-old Mark Occhilupo’s boxy-railed, smash-the-world 6’2″ aka The 84, shaped by Russell “Rusty” Preisendorfer

Dimensions: 6’2″ x 18 3/4 x 2 5/16″

Interview by Derek Rielly

IMG_1495Surfboard design ain’t always about the miracle breakthroughs. The thruster? A one-off. Mostly it’s a flyer here, a wing there, a channel, a template or a bottom curve there.

And for San Diego shaper Rusty Preisendorfer, his contribution to design is the box rail he made for the preternaturally talented 16-year-old surfer Mark Occhilupo back in 1983; a board that helped shoot the kid up the ratings from 16 in his rookie year to three the next.

Russ had seen Occ sinking in his turns at a contest in California and told him, hey, I can fix this. Occ took the board Russ had made for him but didn’t surf it until the following year (hence it’s name, the 84). Occ couldn’t get off it. He travelled with the one six-two wrapped in a terry-towelling board bag all year.

“It went good at J-Bay, it went good at Japan, it went good in California,” says Occ, who’d win the prestigious OP Pro in ’84 on the chunky six-two.

Russ says, “that’s my little contributions to the development of the thruster, square rails and the squash tail. Prior to this boards had dome decks with blade-y rails and tails. I ended up making ’em real boxy in the tail and once you set your rail they wouldn’t bite or bog. One top pro said you just couldn’t fall off ’em.”

For Russ, who was shaping for the Canyon label, it quickly turned him into the shaper of the period. The following year he used the momentum to create his own board company, the eponymous “Rusty”.

“I call it the tipping point for me,” says Russ. “I had some pretty good surfers already but when Occy started getting results it seemed like everyone wanted to be on similar equipment. I couldn’t make enough. I always shaped my own boards and I was shaping 20-to-25 a week but soon I was a month behind. Then two months, then three. When the Occy thing really hit it turned into four months until I finally got some ghost shapers. The orders were coming so fast!”

What kinda numbers we hitting? “Thousands, thousand of ’em,” says Russ.

It’s this kinda history that’s driven Rusty to release a limited batch of 200 almost-exact (more on that in a sec) replicas worldwide. Twelve hundred shekels. All with the same fluoro Billabong stickers, all signed by Rusty and Occ (although Occ’s are rice-paper decals – the logistics of getting Occ to the US to sign all the boards proved a little tough) and all with glass-on fins that feature the old R-dot logo.

Noz_teoOcc remembers his first surf back on the ’84 at Rocky Point last December. A pack of rippers had each been given one, including Noa Deane, Jay Davies and Ryan Callinan, and Occ was hot to let ’em put on a little show. He waited half-an-hour, found a set and demolished it. “I put it on the rail and it felt like… the eighties… it hadn’t changed,” he says. “I felt like I knew the board already even after riding completely different boards for the last 30 years. It kinda felt like home.”

And the one small difference between the replicas and the original? Because Occ was such an animal, Rusty placed the back fin 2 3/4″ from the tail so he wouldn’t spin out; the replicas are set at 3 1/4″. Russ respects you but says y’ain’t got the same jam as Occ. “No one’s got that same leg power,” says Russ.

To win one of these very special pieces of fibreglass, follow @rusty_australia and @stabsurf, then repost the competition graphic (which you’ll find on our profile) with #winoccy – We’re also giving away Rusty x Stab x Occy ’84 teos as runner-up prizes (modelled right by Noa Deane). Drawn Friday – Don’t miss this one.

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