Born with the competitive desire to be the best at whatever he does, Rush Randle has been living on the innovative cutting edge, defying the theory of gravity and taking extreme water sports beyond the imagination. Raised on the North Shore of Oahu, Rush learned how to surf at four years of age. “My dad was a surfer and couldn’t wait to get me started,” he says. He also became interested in gymnastics and quickly made the connection between the two sports.
Growing up near the Angulo family, he was naturally lured into windsurfing which then started to consume a great deal of his time. As a kid, he participated in most sports, yet chose the ones that were more individualized so he could test his competitiveness on his own terms.
At 14, he set off on his path. He quit school and moved to Maui to pursue a career in windsurfing. With the talent and look sponsors look for, deals were made and he went off to make his mark and gather the education of world travel.
Spending so much of his time in the ocean, he has some rather big fish stories. “There’s a lot of sharks out there that you see when you’re offshore,” he says. “I’ve accidentally run into a few big ones and knocked fins off my board. The worst experience I had was when I was in Japan course racing. I was two or three miles out to sea and in a split second a huge great white popped up. I nailed it and got thrown off my board. I managed to hang on to the tip of my board, get back on, and sail away. The shark was totally thrashing around. I went in and never course raced again.”
His success in windsurfing has opened many doors of opportunity. Just before his 15th birthday, he landed a Frosted Flakes commercial. The national exposure led to many other jobs in the industry. Since then he has appeared in RC Cola, Jeep/Chrysler and Taco Bell commercials. Along with countless magazine and billboard ads, he has done stunt work in several Hollywood movies.
Rush has made a major contribution to the tow-in revolution and has helped put the strap team in the position they are in today. Four of the team members play big parts in the soon to be released motion picture In God’s Hand’s.
This is the first time Hollywood has used real surfers as actors and Rush was very excited to talk about the making of the movie. “The story is about three surfers who travel the world, chasing their dream of riding big waves,” he says. “They hook up with us (the strap team) about a third of the way into the movie. We teach them how to prepare and to ride Jaws.”
Rush spent a good part of last year traveling and being an actor. “The movie industry spares no expense in putting together a production,” he says. “Everywhere we went, we were treated first class. Bali was a highlight, it was insane. We went last November, the surf was great and the production went smoothly. I haven’t yet seen the entire movie, so I don’t totally know what to expect.”
When not travelling, Rush enjoys the opportunity to spend time with wife Erin and son River. “He’s only 14 months old and he’s jumping off of everything,” he says. “A full-on adrenaline junkie.” Rush proudly tells of how his son has straps on just about everything.
Ranked third overall in the world in 1990 and 1991 for windsurfing, Rush has accomplished what he set out to do. For the past seven years, he has been experimenting with foot straps, putting them on just about kind of board he can find. In the video Wake Up Call, you can see Rush and his acrobatic maneuvers that defy gravity.
“I really learned a lot from watching guys like Slater and Rat Boy who catch big air without straps,” he says. “I visualize maneuvers in my head before I try them.” He takes a little bit from all boarding sports to create new and innovative tricks.
Rush really wants to pass on the importance of safety, especially to anyone taking on the challenge of tow-in surfing. “The strap team has spent the last seven years learning and perfecting water safety techniques,” he says. “Educating ourselves so that the risk factor is not so high. People don’t realize how much preparation has gone into our whole trip. Don’t be afraid to ask questions from those with experience.”
Rush Randle utilizes his god-given talents as he pushes himself beyond the common boundaries. He has reached a place where mind and body connect. It is a spiritual connection that one finds through a pure sense of knowing oneself, and by not placing limitations on what can or cannot be done. Living life to it’s fullest, chasing adrenaline, and charging the challenges of life is the path that he has chosen.
This story originally ran in MauiTime’s March 31, 1998 issue.
Photos: Erik Aeder Photography