Pipeline! With Infinity SUP Surfers Bernd Roediger and Sebastian Gomez

Infinity SUP has its roots firmly embedded in the surf, the first Infinity branded surfboard was made back in 1970 by Daves’ father, Steve and as surfing combined with the paddle, it was a logical step for Infinity to use their expertise and passion to create and innovate with their range of surf SUPs. Today, Infinity SUP works with and supports some of the biggest names in the SUP surf world including Bernd Roediger and Sebastian Gomez. It was a treat for me to talk to these two world-class surfers about their recent competition experience at the world-famous surf break, Pipeline.

Sebastian Gomez on Infinity

Guys, welcome to TotalSUP! You’ve been here a few times before Bernd but this is the first time we’ve spoken to Sebastian on TotalSUP, “Welina” Bernd and “Hola” Sebastian! 

Sebastian – Hola Chris! 

Bernd – Mahalo Chris!

Talking to two passionate surfers is a first for me, let’s start off with an introduction for readers who do not yet know you. To keep my OCD happy, let’s go alphabetically 

Ha ha ha! OK, I am Bernd Roediger and I come from Beaufort, South Carolina, USA! 

And I am Sebastian Gomez and I grew up in a small surf town called Punta Hermosa which is south from the Capital of Peru, Lima.

Bernd Roediger and Sebastian Gomez

Two locations that lend themselves to being on the water how did you start out with your love of the sea?

Bernd – I started as a windsurfer 20 years ago now and that’s a sport I still love and compete in, that was maybe 2 years after my family relocated to Maui, Hawaii. It was through watching the likes of Laird Hamilton, Dave Kalama and the other early pioneers of SUP that I began to learn and explore SUP. 

Maui remains a premiere destination for wind sports and for the longest time, SUP was another windsport, in the form of downwinding. It wasn’t until later on that I began to explore the surf with my dad, I was maybe 11 the first winter that we paddled out to Kanaha. 

In those days we often had SUPs with mast-base attachment points, for the use of windsurf sails. In that way, SUP felt like an extension of my already flowering passion for windsurfing, and the unparalleled freedom of sailing, whereby we could easily access the outer reefs of Kanaha. As the hobby became a sport, with competitions and sponsors, the young watermen of Maui were incentivised to specialise in SUP surfing and racing as pure disciplines.

Bernd in action. Image – Laura Glantz Photography

Sebastian – I started surfing when I was 2 years old. I come from two families that have a strong connection with the ocean so I was exposed to it from a very young age. Coming from a small beach town there isn’t much to do other than surf and fish; I decided to dedicate my time to surfing.  

Chris – Two years old! Wow, that’s an incredibly early age, you’re very lucky! 

Sebastian – yeah, I guess I was. I started off short-boarding then was made to move to Sao Paulo with my mother so she could find work. Then, when I returned at 11 years old my father introduced me to Stand-Up Paddle. Because I had been living in the city for so long, I had lost my strength and confidence in the water but once I tried the SUP, I fell in love all over again. 

It looks like 11 is the right age to start to SUP surf, I left it too late… maybe that’s what’s holding me back…

Both – Ha ha ha ! Maybe it is more than that…

OK, moving on. Before we get to your Pipeline experience what inspired you to compete?

Bernd – for me it was the Sunset Beach Pro, that was my first event and it was the year Kai Lenny won it for the first time. I think I was maybe 13, Sunset made an impression on me! 

I certainly fell in love with the spot and still come back to it for a SUP surfing session par excellence. I made the Finals a few times there. 

Life through a lens with Bernd Roediger

Aside from that, my passion for the wind hasn’t dwindled a bit, and it carried me to many wins on the once-prominent downwinding circuit. However, the days of long summers spent downwinding in Hawaii and the Gorge are a memory unless you count SUPfoiling. And while that is certainly very addictive!; it feels less community-driven, and more akin to windsurfing in its Sisyphean innovating.

Sebastian – I have always been on the water and competing was another way to improve my skills and to have fun. My aunties, uncles, father and grandfather were all competitors so it was something I was always surrounded by. I have had many memorable experiences competing, I achieved 2nd place in the Pan American Games in 2017 and 3rd place in the APP Gran Canaria Pro-Am event in 2018.

Sebastian, Dave and Bernd at the Carolina ProAm. Image – Laura Glantz Photography

Recently readers will have seen you both compete with Dave Boehne at the Carolina Pro/Am, what brought you into the Infinity family, the Speedfreak squad, Sebastian? 

Sebastian – I met Dave a few years ago and Dave gave me a board to try that I had never seen before, that worked really well for me and I enjoyed surfing it. Then, in 2023, I went to the north of Peru for the 15-year Maverick swell, and I had one of the best sessions of my life with the Blurr V3 model.

Bernd – yeah, I like the way Dave does that, he makes boards we love to use.

For me, Infinity has always been a sought-after brand and that goes back to the golden era of intense competition at Huntington Beach and Dana Point -for surf and racing respectively 

Infinity was the epitome of style and their custom boards were coveted by every athlete. The ability to dictate design was a rare luxury for most athletes, whereas Infinity championed the custom board; for that reason, R&D was rapid and manifold, and the best boards on the market were created from this spirit of collaboration. 

Dave Boehne

I always wanted an Infinity board of my own, having spent a lot of time SUP surfing on tour with Izzi and Giorgio Gomez. But I would never have imagined being on the team at such a time as this in SUP surfing, where the community is so open to such a wide array of designs, a true Renaissance of modern and classic shapes fusing to fit the unique needs of SUP.

It’s a fantastic time for experimentation and not a single board in my quiver is the same.

Sebastian Gomez

This article is about you guys and Pipeline. A place that maybe everyone who has ever picked up a surfboard knows a little bit about, it’s iconic. 

Bernd – yes. You only need to say “Pipeline” to a surfer and they know that wave. The first thing I can say about Pipeline is that many surfers would kill to be out there with just a handful of guys. 

Sebastian – Yeah, Exactly, we had the opportunity to be on the water with 4 of the best surfers in the world and it is a dream for many surfers. We are lucky, we have lived that dream.

Bernd – that! It’s an unimaginable situation to be in such a place without 60 guys out, a battalion of the best surfers in the world, of which only a handful hold court. This is why, when I got a last-minute call-up around Christmas to compete there in early January, I said yes without a moment’s hesitation. 

When heading to a wave like Pipeline which SUPs do you put in your board bag?

Bernd – Ah, I said yes to the competition without thinking about the fact that I actually didn’t have a board for that wave, it being so hyper-high-performance. Of all the myriad shapes I ride, a semi-gun or tube-shooter is not one of them! And so my “preparation” for the event was wildly different than you might expect. 

Bernd Roediger

Given that I had just found out I’d be surfing Pipe in a week, there was no time for Dave to build a board and send it from California. Instead, we came up with a clever plan to send one of Dave’s custom CNC milling files over to my local mill, where a foam blank could be cut onsite. This digital transfer cut the shipping time out of the build. 

Now it was just a matter of cutting the blank, prepping it for glassing, then doing the lamination itself. A huge thank you to Mark Nelson, who builds boards on Maui, for his hard work on that end! When it was all said and done, the board was sanded and ready the night before the event. Without any time to feel the board, let alone time to allow the board to properly cure, I paddled out to Pipeline! 

Sebastian – That’s crazy, I knew you had a rush on the board but … wow! 

Bernd – right to the line, the Pipeline! All I can say for the experience itself is that the entire process was a highlight, the barrels ridden being the full realisation of a concerted effort among friends to do something truly audacious! I felt that energy going into the first heat and “rode” it to the Finals, I was able to score some truly rare waves along the way.

It was a surreal experience being out in the lineup at Pipe, more so to have had the support of so many surfers whilst there in this position of massive privilege, I am so grateful to DaHui for including SUP surfers in this pinnacle event. It is a trip to think that a sport which I used primarily as another avenue towards riding the wind, drew me steadily over the years into the surf, the realm of waves, of which I was more of a foreign visitor, until it lead me to the best wave on the planet, in perfect position for an unforgettable moment within the barrel.

Sebastian Gomez

Sebastian – I had an easier time with my boards and preparation for the competition although I did fly to Hawaii with the hopes of entering the competition but not having the official invitation till 2 days before the event. It was a risk that I took which certainly paid off. I love surfing big and tubular waves and there is no better place than Pipeline. In Peru we are blessed with world-class waves all years round so I am always prepared for an unexpected swell or spontaneous competition. 

I think my passion and experience for Tube riding was born in Puerto Escondido. I have been fortunate enough to experience 4 seasons surfing there and each year my abilities grow. I have experienced some pretty heavy wipeouts but made it out safe each time so that defiantly helped with my confidence to surf Pipeline for the first time this year. Unfortunately, the conditions were not as good as we expected; most of the waves were closeouts, and I know the consequences of getting a wipeout there. So, in the final, I decided to wait for the perfect one. This time, it never came.

After the competition, I was surfing and filming at Sunset Beach almost every day, which is one of my favourite waves, as well as eating typical Hawaiian dishes and documenting everything for my web series “Waves and Flavours. 


Listening to you both I get a real feel for the passion and the special place this event has for you both. We already know a little about Bernd’s special board, how about yours, Sebastian?

Sebastian – When you first asked me this, I had a very quick response with not much thought needing to go into it. It had to be the Infinity Blurr V3 model. Since then, I received a new custom board, a 6,10 x 23 which is light with thin rails and it rides like a shortboard. This has now become my favourite board and it shows in my surfing. They are a dream to ride and reflect Dave’s skill as a shaper. 

Bernd – got to agree with you Sebastian, Dave has a special touch. The board I used that Dave designed was a 7’8” step-up similar to the boards he’s built for Kai Lenny in the past. 

He gave this one a little tune-up for my body and riding, as there are a lot of differences between the two of us, Kai for example having a lot more experience surfing since he was young. 

While being on Infinity was always a dream, I really had no idea how inspiring it would be to work alongside Dave. He’s not only a fantastic shaper and surfer, but also a human of unique quality. In ways similar to the building of great surfboards, he’s crafted a lifestyle of fun and freedom all his own. It’s something to model off of, and my time with him, whether it be on the water or in the shaping bay, benefits my whole being. Where I was once a wind-chaser moving on the breeze, SUP has shown me a way to sit in this pocket of bliss, surfing in beautiful places and spending time with beautiful individuals.

Sebastian Gomez

Sebastian – I feel it is an honour to be part of Team Infinity, being able to travel and surf the best waves in the world is what I like to do most and it does feel like family with Dave and all the team. 

It almost feels wrong to refer to the Infinity family as a brand, talking to Infinity athletes and writing about Dave and his adventures really reinforces that Speedfreak feeling. We’ve just covered the Carolina Pro Am where you both performed well alongside the boss man, what’s next?

Sebastian – I went to Carolina with the ambition to win but on the day, it didn’t work out as planned. It was still a great experience to be there with Dave, Bernd and the rest of the Infinity family. Next time, I hope for bigger waves and barrels!

My ambitions for the year are to perfect my manoeuvres, and strategies in heats, to strengthen myself physically and mentally to be able to fulfil my dream of being a world champion.

Bernd – Spring is almost gone and the ambitions of 2024 are coming to fruition. Regardless of the date, my goals remain to learn and grow from the activities I’ve passionately dedicated my life to. There is really so much to explore in this realm of surfing; which is a place to study timing, positioning, breath and focus. And when the wind blows I still put up a sail to see where it will take me!

Looking towards the end of the year, I’d be stoked to go to the Canary Islands for the APP final there, but if I’m being totally honest I’m really just counting the days until I can return to Pipeline.

Bernd Rüdiger and Sebastian Gomez

Thank you both for sharing your Pipeline experiences and more with us here at TotalSUP. We are already looking forward to your next adventures.

Infinity Surfboards are a family-owned and family-run business based in Dana Point, CA, USA with a range of SUP surfboards available through the Infinity website, I can recommend checking out the Infinity SUP Pirates video featured here on TotalSUP.

You can see more Infinity Boards in action on their social media channels – InstagramFacebook and YouTube.

You can follow Sebastian Gomez on Instagram and see him in action on YouTube

Bernd Roediger is active on Instagram and see his adventures on YouTube

Images from Bernd, Sebastian, Dave Boehne and Laura Glantz who has some incredible images on Instagram

About the Author

Chris Jones

Chris is the driving force behind SUP My Race, a distance challenge group for Stand Up Paddlers on Facebook. He is a super-keen paddler who has been on the water for nearly 10 years now and shows no sign of stopping. When he isn’t logging data on his laptop he can be found on the lakes and coastal waters in south west Sweden.

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