Sophisticated Banter Vol. 2 with single fin slider Mick Rodgers

Sophisticated Banter welcomes long-time friend, one of our favorite Southern California gents and single-fin slider Mick Rodgers into the mix. 


He was tossed into the ocean at a young age, which explains his timeless style on whatever craft he chooses to ride. It just so happens he's in the middle of designing his own signature craft with the wizards at Bing Surfboards in Encinitas, California, so we caught up to see how things were going and when we can get our hands on one...

So before we jump into board talk, how is life going mate?

Good man, there’s been a whole bunch of changes going on. I moved out of the van after three years and got a place in Leucadia which is pretty sweet and quite the change of pace. 

I hear you’re in the midst of creating your own board model – what’s happening with that?

Yup, so myself and Matt at Bing are working together. We’re working off board number five right now. We were kind of tinkering around and going in circles for a bit so Matt made a board this week that is just a hodge-podge of a bunch of Bing models that I really like. He finished that one and it’s feeling really good. It’s been tricky though because the surf has been such dog crap. We might make one slight tweak but it’s feeling like it might be the one.

Tell me a bit about the process of designing a signature model

It’s always quite the daunting task when it comes to making a model because when you change one little thing the whole board is different. I’ve learned from the first model we did, for that one we went in all sorts of directions and before you know it your just kinda lost. This time we’ve been tinkering, making slight changes so we don’t lose the essence of what we’ve been working on. I think now we’re at the point where the board is really close.

Mick and the first board he shaped with Matt from Bing

So you’ve learned from the first model I gather..

This will be my second model with Bing. On the first one I kinda got lucky and the thing worked, so the original idea was to base this second model off that and make a more refined version. I think I just had a weird combo that worked and realized it would be pretty hard to replicate so we decided instead of chasing that idea to go with something that was a little more based off the models in the line and then combining them in a way that suits my surfing while also being a really user-friendly nose rider.

Mick headed out for some light R&D (Photo: Julian Martin)

Is the board made for a certain kind of wave?

Matt tries to make all his board so they’re not one-tricky ponies so that it will nose-ride but have turning capabilities too. We’re gearing it more towards Southern California waves which tend to be on the mushier side – something that is versatile enough so you can ride it around here and then take it somewhere else in the world and still have it work. And then making it user-friendly is top on the list so that someone advanced can jump on it for progressive surfing and then someone who just got into nose-riding can hop on the thing and be able to have fun.

What would you say is the most challenging aspect of making your own board?

I’d say it’s the design idea because there are so many different combinations you can put into a long board nose-rider. I feel like I’ve learned so much while being at Bing about surfboard designs – when I first showed up I would go, “I’ll have a nose-rider please” and I had no idea why it would work. I started to learn so much; that a more gradual tail rocker had a different feel and then combo-ing that with different concaves. It’s really just trying to find the right combo which can take a lot of different attempts. It comes down to finding what part of the board needs to be adjusted and making that slight change to improve it.

Mick, walking on water (photo:@hisarahlee)

Product testing – how does it go down?

I tell Matt what I’m feeling and then we can meet in the middle in terms of understanding what the issue might be. Being able to get footage is so helpful. I don’t always know exactly what to tell him in terms of the design elements of the board so I can show him the different sensations on a wave so he gets a better idea of where I am coming from so we work together on making a solution or improvement for a potential problem.

So how close are you to nailing it?

I’m kinda excited for this one he just made me. I don’t think we’ll have to make too many changes. Next week I think were actually going to get some swell so we’ll get some footage. And then we’ll take it to the factory, review it and see how it’s working, where it might be lacking and then make the decision on anything we’re gonna change.

And your plans for production and getting this thing under people’s feet?

The plan is to get an edit all finished up and then have a release party at the Bing store in Encinitas. I think we’re going to collab with Rhythm on that and have a little joint shin dig to release the model and get the word out there. When people actually see the board working – I’ve found that to be the best avenue for getting people on board.

Mick and a dreamy looking Southern California peeler (photo@filippomaffei)

Outside of the board project, is there anything in the pipe for ya?

I’ve actually kinda put myself on a new career path; I went back to school in the summer and got my EMT certificate. I spent 6 months doing that and will be doing some EMT work and then eventually my main goal is to become a firefighter. Outside of that there are some potential trips to Asia which could be pretty goal, we’ll see…

Mick, living through Glass in our newest 'Omar' frame in Matte Tort / Brown Lens (Photo: Julian Martin)


Keep in the loop with Mick's new Bing model and all of his wave riding adventures @mrrodgers_neighborhood