In the third episode of Finders Keepers, after searching “air surfboard” in my local area I came across a couple of very interesting finds… but one in particular stood out.
A 50/50 Waveskate shaped by Ben Wei for 50 dollars. I’d actually met Ben in Japan back in 2010 when I was on the WQS, he was announcing one of the events in both Japanese and English. We had a couple conversations in passing and I just remember him being so energetic and frothed out! That, doubled with being influenced by the ’90s airshow series when I was growing up, I already had a little bit of knowledge of the Waveskate designs. It was a perfect fit, it was affordable, and it was right down the road for pickup.
Over the course of this episode we learned of a unique crew of air surfers from Oceanside Calif., who rode the 50/50 surfboards. Zach Rhinehart, Gavin Sutherland, Eric Mchenry, Jeremy Somerville, James Lovett, Derek Bockelman, and Aaron Schmidt eventually became known as the 50/50 crew. They all were the unique characters that were thinking outside the box in their perspectives of surfing with Ben Wei’s being a catalyst for their progression.
I would personally like to thank Ben Wei for helping us connect the dots and share his knowledge of design and innovation. Thank you to Zach Cordner for sharing stories and photos from his time with the crew and Ben. Finally, a big thank you to Jeff Simonson for the archival footage of the 50/50 crew riding these designs in the early 2000s.
During the filming of this episode Zach Rhinehart passed away from cancer after bravely fighting for three years. I had known of Zach for most of my life through magazines and videos but had never met him personally until I moved to Oceanside. Always in the parking lots at the pier or north jetty, I would run into Zach. It’s weird meeting heroes but in this case Zach superseded what I had expected. He was legendary. We’d catch up on surfing and life, always keeping things on the up and up.
I hope you find this episode as a celebration of these surfers and shaper who lived outside the limelight and progressed a side of surfing. They operated from a place of love for the sport and the crew they rolled with. I was so surprised by this episode. It is my favorite of the three and has inspired me to think outside the box with how I am approaching surfing, and life.