3rd Coast x Bing 10 Year Anniversary Surfboards

Ryan Gerard, TCSS owner,
inspects a new 3rd Coast Chief.

When I opened Third Coast in May of 2005 my goal was to bring high quality surf gear to my friends in the Great Lakes surfing community. Wetsuits, accessories, and all the other important stuff we - as cold water surfers on these vast inland seas - need to shred. Before starting TCSS, I was fortunate enough to live in the incredibly surf-soaked town of Santa Cruz, California, where I immersed myself deeply in this incredible lifestyle. My frothing grom mind was constantly on surfing and everything that the surfing life encompasses. I couldn't get enough of it.

In Santa Cruz, I was lucky enough to get a job building surfboards at the Pearson Arrow Surfboards factory, which led to building boards in my own time on the side and after I returned to the Great Lakes. Being surrounded by guys with decades of surfboard-building experience, surfing next to some of the best surfers in California, and spending a lot of time thinking about surfboard design helped develop and refine my approach to surfboards. It also tuned me in to finding, and surfing, the best boards I was able to.

It wasn't long after opening Third Coast that I put an order of Bing (and, at the time, Jacobs Surfboards) in for stock boards to fill the racks. They came a couple months later and I was blown away by the craftsmanship; the quality of the boards, from outline to the polished gloss coat, was insane. I didn't realize it at the time, but that was the first of dozens of orders to come, and the start of a friendship with Matt and Margaret Calvani, the owners of Bing Surfboards, that continues to this day.

Matt Calvani, Bing Surfboards owner and head shaper,
with a 3rd Coast Surfboard at the Bing Factory in Encinitas, California.

Fast forward to 2012 or so and I had the idea of creating a line of private label surfboards that would work well in Great Lakes waves, but that you could surf anywhere in the world. My philosophy on surfboards for Great Lakes waves is simple; if they work well here, they should work well anywhere. Sure, our waves are typically smaller and less powerful (and the freshwater slightly less buoyant), and that has to be considered when deciding which boards to surf in lake waves, but I am not willing to compromise performance because of those conditions. Boards that work well here can work well elsewhere.

I asked Matt and Margaret if they'd be interested in building 3rd Coast Surfboards for us, and they agreed. I decided on three models that would suit a variety of different types of waves - and surfers - and Matt got to work creating the basic outlines that would become the Warrior (fish), Medicine Man (midlength), and Chief (longboard). He and I worked together on the characteristics of the boards, which continue to be refined to this day, and we crafted the first batch of many that would later come. My longtime friend, South End Lake Michigan surfing amigo, and TCSS co-conspirator, "Captain" Jack Flynn, gave them their native-themed names and created the logos out of his Chicago studio. Voila.

Where the magic happens.
Ryan's son Oliver in Matt's shaping room.

Here we are, ten years and hundreds of 3rd Coast Surfboards later, and I'm super-stoked to unveil the latest batch of a decade's worth of collaboration between Third Coast and our friends at Bing. In honor of the 10-year Anniversary, we decided to build a limited, 10-board batch with a custom logo, fresh new airbrush design, and Matt's signature on each one. From the beginning, my goal with 3rd Coast Surfboards was to create boards that were user-friendly and versatile enough to surf in a wide variety of conditions. Given the cultish following they've created, I think we've succeeded. I hope you enjoy this latest version!

Check them out here !

Thanks, and see you in the water!
Ryan Gerard
TCSS Owner