Wayne "WIZ" Rickards is one amazing individual. I first discovered this talented resin master at Barry Bennett's in 1972, where he was the glasser, laminating my first Bluebirds. He amazed me as the first "roller" glasser who applied and wet out the glass cloth using a paint roller!! Perfect workmanship!
The other amazing factor about Mr. Rickards was his linguistic skills. Some say he can talk underwater, but that doesn't really nail it. He is just a passionate wordsmith, and relishes in wit and quirkiness. Enjoy his dialog......if you'e got the time!
The Bennett boards that year were heavy on tints, opaques, and resin pin lines, the cream of Aussie production in the new short board era.
Next Wiz moved to Monagarilby, up in the stix near Kingaroy, to fulfil the hippie dream of living on the land. He and his wife were in for a terrible shock, as they found out just how hard it was to survive as a farmer in a harsh land. Hence, to make ends meet, Wiz and Deidre moved back to Byron to glass again. Not surfboards this time, but skateboards for Warren Cornish. They simply POWERED, pumping out thousands of skatey decks.
Finally the lure of glass and resin dragged him away from the bush, and he sold the farm to Hans Tholstrup, a well known adventurer. Wiz started his Wizfins business right upstairs in the McTavish factory here in Byron.
His fins feature duo-tints, where the outer lams complement the inner, and a Wizfin held up to the light is special creation of blended radiation. His foils are as accurate as any, his tip-flex just right. He will slave over a custom fin just for you, and then forget to write an invoice. He refuses to chase up what's owed him till the bills are knocking on the door.
As us workers move about the factory day-by-day we hear Wiz, either singing a 60's tune at full volume, or regaling Bill the glasses with grizzles, jibes, or payouts. Their mock-arguments are a joy to behold, recalling the atmosphere of old Aussie surfboard factories of the sixties. What an asset in this day of digitised input. He is playing live, in our facility, day after day.
Wizz is probably the last true Aussie fin maker, a national surfing treasure!
Wiz has a 'passionate' chat with Billy. Photo Sam Lindsay