Local Motion first opened it's doors in 1977: a small 500 square foot surf shop in Kailua, Oahu in Hawaii. Its founder, Hawaiian native Robert "Rob" Burns, was a well known surfboard shaper and was solely responsible for all design, merchandising, sales and marketing of the the company in its heyday. He even later went on to helm sister brands Hawaiian Style and Kahala Sportswear. The American surf-market was exploding, and he jumped at the opportunity by launching a series of original boardshorts, t-shirts, and aloha shirts that became the Local Motion brand.
Production moved from Hawaii to California and later overseas as the brand began to grow. Design and development, however, would remain true its roots and stay in Hawaii. It wasn't long until Local Motion became a familiar name in surfing circles worldwide, reaching as far as Brazil and later Japan. Even some of the biggest names in surfing were team riders: Buttons, Bonga, Jamie O'Brien and Bruce Irons to name a few. Did you also know that the popular Hawaiian Style Band wrote songs for Local Motion (most notably the single hit "Live A Little")? Or that the cast of MTV's The Real World: Hawaii were employed at the Waikiki store in the series? You heard that right.
And the name was fitting - "Local Motion" was used to convey the movement, power, and speed of the surfing sport, but also embodied Hawaii's local and aloha-inspired themes. Rob finally sold the brand in 1991 to Minami Corp., a Tokyo-based organisation, aiming to expand and serve the global surf market.
Today, Local Motion prides itself on continually producing quality, authentic, premium surf products in Hawaii, and advocating the preservation of Hawaiian surf culture.
Gunther Rohn has spent 40 years in the shaping bay. Surf forms, sanding blocks, gauze, planners and spoke shaves now protrude from Gunther’s hands like appendages. The boards he creates, and the surfers that ride them may very well be glamorous, but the act of shaping in the bay is anything but. The foam dust in the bays resembles a build up of snow, around the outside of a house after a good winter fall. Shapers often call it “been snowed under”refers to a busy period. Since the introduction of the shaping machine this event occurs much less. Something akin to the effects of global warming i guess.
Moving from the Republic Of South Africa, to Australia in the early 70’s proved to be a decisive decision, that would help shape Gunther’s future in the surfboard industry.
Arriving in Australia in 1973, was the start of a ride that has seem him become one of the industries leading shaper’s. Having an acute eye for detail, has ensured constant and consistent form in his boards.
Surfers both professional and recreational, have enjoyed the performance aspects, quality and consistency associated with Gunther’s boards. Professional surfer Nicky Wood, is one of the youngest surfers to ever win a ASP event. The Rip Curl Bells Beach Easter Classic. Wood rode a Gunther Rohn (GR) all the way to victory in 1987. Nick was just 16 years old.
Other surfers to ride GR’s are. Sunny Garcia ASP World Champ 2000. ASP top 10 surfers, Rod Kerr (Box) Jake Patterson, Shane Wehner Runner up Piper Masters WCT event. Darren O’Rafferty World Junior Champ/WCT surfer. Shaun Munro WCT surfer, Trent Munro WCT Bells winner, Shaun Cansdell WQS/CT, Pancho Sullivan WCT event winner. Tom Whitaker WCT, Greg Emslie WCT, Lee Winkler WCT, Anthony Walsh WQS, 2nd Volcom Pipe Pro 2010. Chris Bennetts WQS, Koby Abberton,WQS, Sam Page WQS, Dion Atkinson WQS, Jarrod Howse WCT. Other surfers who have enjoyed GR’s’ boards include, Kelly, AI, Pottz, Curren, Egan, Hoyo, Danny Wills, KP, Dusty Payne, Travis Logie and Adam Melling and Slater. just to name a few.
Gunther has fostered 9 Australian surfers through from the junior / WQS ranks to WCT top flight surfers. They are. Nicky Wood, Rod Kerrbox, Jake Patterson, Shaun Munro, Tom Whitker, Darren O Rafferty, Shane Wehner, Jarrod Howse and in 2013/14 Dion Atkinson. This sets something of a percedent in Australian professional surfing.
Travelling to exotic locations around the world keeps him fuelled up, and in touch with the demands of modern surfing, and surfboard design. Hawaii, Indo, Brazil, USA, Japan, Europe and the Pacific.
“Travelling and working with other shaper’s really keeps your finger on the trigger. Aspects of design and construction are greatly facilitated when working along side other shapers”.
It’s hard to think of another shaper that has had such continuity in the industry, for such a continual period of time. None of this has come easy. It’s been through long hours and hard work in the bay. Gunther is very hands on in his approach to it all. It has remained his philosophy to this day.