Scott Anderson was known globally as a world class board builder and locally as a man of pure heart and no ego, who was endlessly giving and as loyal as they come.
Anderson died from skin cancer on Jan. 18 at age 57, leaving behind a generation of surfers whose boards, championship careers, and personal values were the product of his loving shaping.
“His fundamental influence was not just the fact that he made surfboards, it was that he made human beings,” said Venice surf and skate icon and close friend Skip Engblom.
Anderson sponsored promising young surfers, steered local kids away from bad influences and into jobs in his factory, and gave to surf shops up and down the coast.
His absence is felt both in the void of top quality surfboards created by his passing and in the hearts of all that knew him.
“Our relationship always felt like it was one of like kindred spirits. He was like me in the sense that we have a deep love for the product,” said Guy Okazaki,” Venice’s remaining local shaper. “Because we are such a small niche industry we have to compete with things made in the third world. There’s not a lot of money in it, so if it’s not a labor of love you’re not going to do it.”
Anderson’s earlier productions were ridden by Josh Farberow and Dane Peterson, two drivers of the 90s longboard renaissance in Malibu. His newest creations are used by 18-year-old rising star and Venice native Beck Adler.
“Scott was a true artist. He was a sculptor, crafting a piece of sports equipment for somebody to optimally use,” said Beck’s father and close friend of Anderson, Gary Adler. “We are 100 percent going to feel his loss and I’m not sure who is going to fill that hole because there are not a lot of guys like him around anymore.”
Anderson also built boards for the WSL South American Pro Champion Wesley Santos. Anderson noticed Santos’s talent early on and brought him from Brazil to LA where he lived with the Adlers and helped out in Anderson’s factory.
“Scott brought me to America 11 years ago with so many dreams in my head,” said Santos. “He represents so many things to me: he is like family, he gave me the opportunity to work in his shop, he opened doors for me to learn about my surfboard, and I got my title in Brazil with his board.”
“Scott added a family member for us and we feel super blessed that he introduced us to Wesley,” said Adler.
Each surfer that Anderson sponsored is called a member of the Anderson Surfboard family. His factory provided jobs and opportunities for many locals and often transformed into a social space where the surf community came together in the evenings.
Nine time national champion Mike “Slamz” Lamm won all of his NSSA titles riding Anderson boards and said that aside from sheer artistic talent, what was most remarkable about Anderson was his generosity.
When Lamm’s Malibu surf store went out of business he was $1000 short on money he needed to rent a new warehouse. After Anderson heard this he volunteered to give Lamm the money and brought over five boards to put up in the space, asking for nothing in return.
“Not only are his boards incredible but he came through for me personally at a time when I really needed help,” said Lamm. “I know his heart and soul and in my world that guy holds rockstar status.”
Lamm used the warehouse space Anderson helped him acquire for his coaching businesses and has gone on to train the next generation of champion surfers, including ISA World Junior Champion Dimitri Poulos.
Anderson’s legacy lives on through these young surfers and through the many friends and family he gave his time, talent, and love to.
“Scott had no ego with him. It wasn’t in his nature to put himself first,” said Engblom. “He just loved to make the product you loved and he loved dealing with the people that was making a board for.”