RAPO Surfboards Barbados- Andrew Rapson’s Passion
Andrew “Rapo” Rapson was born and raised in sunny Barbados and had a love for the ocean from early age. Adrenaline Sun made a visit to the RAPO Factory to capture the process of creating a Barbados made surfboard and to find out more about the shaper himself. Check out our video above for the process of creating a RAPO.
Hey Andrew, Can you tell us how you started creating surfboards and how RAPO was started?
I started surfing from the age of 8, later on I surfed in the first local contest making it to the final and placing 4th. Subsequently competing in all local contests and my brother Darren went away to Newquay, Cornwall in England and learnt to make surfboards at Vitamin Sea surfboards. When Darren returned from England my Father Paul Rapson, well known footballer, invested in a shipment of surfboard raw materials and Flyin’ Fish surfboards was born. We set up a small factory at the IDC block near the old Seawell airport, later moving to Anthony Huntes old nursery in Providence Christ Church.
I have made to date 136 boards and I have vision of making local surfboards that are second to none and also have long term goal of developing the Rapo brand into a clothing line
There we manufactured Wind surfers and Surfboards for several years during the early eighties. During that time we made boards for most of the local surfers and also exported to Trinidad and Martinique. Eventually Flyin’ Fish closed its doors and I moved to Florida where I studied Emergency Medical Services and Architecture returning to Barbados around the change of the Millenium and started a seafood company and also operated a charter fishing vessel taking tourists fishing and diving.
My longtime friend and surf buddy Kenny Ward had a keen interest in board building and had made a dozen or so boards in what I call “backyard fashion” and one day he mentioned to me he had ordered a couple surfboard blanks and I asked if he had room for one for me which he replied yes and that was the spark that renewed my passion for building surfboards. A short time after I made my 1st board I made an order for 7 blanks and started production under the Flyin’ Fish logo. A friend suggested changing to a new name and Rapo surfboards was born.
I have made to date 136 boards and I have vision of making local surfboards that are second to none and also have long term goal of developing the Rapo brand into a clothing line of beach, street and casual wear that would become internationally recognized.