Resides: Oceanside, California
One of the godfathers of modern big wave surfing, Gary Linden is still tackling behemoths around the world in his late 60s. Linden—a former President of the Association of Surfing Professionals—founded the Big Wave World Tour in 2009 in order to showcase the world’s best big wave riders competing at the world’s best big wave spots. This eventually became the World Surf League Big Wave Tour that Gary helped lead until early 2020.
Linden is a highly respected, renowned shaper with 50-plus years of experience. In the 1980s, Linden Surfboards was recognized as the number three surfboard manufacturer in the world. More recently, Linden’s knowledge of heavy water helped him become one of the top tow-in board and big wave gun shapers anywhere. His work creating beautiful, sustainable surfboards from upcycled agave wood was also a pioneering feat in the early days of seeking greener board-building materials—a unique process that was even featured in mainstream media. “I created the surfboard to bring awareness to the lack of sustainability in action sports and to demonstrate that it’s possible to use natural materials and a nontoxic process to create products that are better for the shaper, the rider and the environment,” he told Travel + Leisure magazine in 2015.