Sep 11, 2011
Ciff Robertson Passes
Cliff Robertson did a lot of great work -- most of it more important than his role in Gidget -- but to those of us with a proclivity for ocean/beach recreation, he'll always be "The Big Kahuna."
After being exposed to surfing during the making of Gidget, Robertson got involved with the first generation of foam surfboard construction in the late 50's. Foam pioneer and legendary board builder Dave Sweet recalls:
"Shortly into (my brother) Roger's tenure at Dave Sweet surfboards, movie star/actor Cliff Robertson learned of our foam surfboards and became quite interested. He played the roll of 'Kahuna" in the movie Gidget. Anyway, he approached me and offered to help finance or become partners in Dave Sweet Surfboards. I declined the offer, but Roger saw things differently, Roger's growing disenchantment with our situation was clearly evident. With the small salary he was drawing, Roger began considering a business relationship with Robertson. I couldn't blame him. He was married with two kids, a mortgage, and financial obligations that far exceeded mine."
Soon thereafter, Robertson and Roger Sweet decided to partner up. Robertson/Sweet (R/S) Surfboards was created and included a business plan centered on high production and low cost. The duo opted to abbreviate glassing and detailed construction procedures in favor of high unit, low cost production. In doing so, Robertson/Sweet became the first ever "popout" surfboard builders. Roger Sweet was set up with a $600 per month salary and would share in the profits. The short-lived company would never enjoy or reap any profits before falling into receivership."