Local surfboard maker inducted to International Surfboard Builders’ Hall of Fame

Mitchell Rae founder/owner of Outer Island Surfboards in Raleigh, a 2023 inductee to the International Surfboard Builders’ Hall of Fame.

“INCREDIBLY rewarding” is how legendary local surfboard maker Mitchell Rae describes being inducted into the International Surfboard Builders’ Hall of Fame.

“I am truly honoured,” Mitchell told News Of The Area.

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Mitchell is the owner of Outer Island Surfboards based in Raleigh industrial estate.

The presentation takes place at Surf City in California on Saturday 14 October.

He’s taking four boards with him.

“Two of them are my trademark flex tails, for which I am well known.

“One is my original design which is inspired by George Greenough’s flexible spoon kneeboards.

“He is the ‘Godfather of Flex’ amongst many other innovations within the framework of modern surfboard design.

“The second flex tail design is one which I call the Zen Blade.

“It contains the sum total of all the various design elements I have developed over the last 30 years.

“It is a composite construction which uses three different types of carbon fibre, married with high-end cross linked epoxy resins and flexible rubber foam.

“They function like a dolphin’s, tail delivering drive and whip, with a slingshot effect.”

Equally key is the variable curve, said Mitchell, which “means that the board can actually change its lines while you’re riding it”.

The other two boards are models he calls ‘Coral Reefer’, a broad range, semi-gun design perfectly suited to the long point breaks of northern New South Wales and Queensland and particularly well suited to the perfect waves of Bali.

When he moved to the Coffs Coast in 2000, he set up residence with his family in Urunga and built a home out at Hungry Head.

“I rented premises down at Scotts Head for four years before shifting up to Raleigh industrial estate.

“I’m no stranger to country living on the Mid North Coast as I lived out at Nana Glen from ‘73 to ‘78.”

He’s been building surfboards under the Outer Island label since 1969, having become a professional board builder in the mid-1960s.

The Surfboard Builders Hall of Fame honourees include surfing royalty and legends of the surfing world such as Duke Kahanamoku, Dick Brewer, Dale Velzy, Rabbit Kekai, Greg Noll, Lance Carson, Billy Hamilton and Gerry Lopez.

“Along with my peers Bob McTavish, Mark Richards, Dick Van Straalen and others,” he said.

New Hall of Fame inductees are nominated by former inductees.

His old friend Dick Van Straalen was inducted in 2022.

“We have been friends since the late 60s and I’ve always admired his original approach to shape and design.

“He has shaped boards for a long list of household names, including former world champion, Peter Townend, and the legendary Michael Peterson.

When Mitchell phoned him to congratulate him, Dick said, “I’m pretty excited about it but hey here’s the thing… you’re next.”

Dick had nominated Mitchell for the 2023 inductions.

“I’ve had an uncompromising approach to quality through all these years, and I’ve stayed true to my ideals… resisting offers to commercialise, to go to a large scale.

“I think it’s fair to say that my main contributions to the art and science of surfboard building are my pioneering work with deep concave, bottom designs, and my longtime quest for flex.”

For more information follow Outer Island Surfboards on Facebook and instagram @outerislandsurfboards.


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