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In 1995, the Iron Surfer took fitness to SLO County’s shores

Brian Roberts works out on the Iron Surfer, his in-the-waves weightlifting invention, at the Grand Avenue ramp in Grover Beach in 1995.
Brian Roberts works out on the Iron Surfer, his in-the-waves weightlifting invention, at the Grand Avenue ramp in Grover Beach in 1995. dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com

Brian Roberts found gyms stuffy and decided to combine his love for pumping iron with pounding surf.

In February 1995, he told former Telegram-Tribune reporter Dave Wilcox: “The ocean air, the oxygen. I’m never out of breath. It’s all about oxygen. I’m really hooked on fresh air.”

The concept was called “Iron Surfer.” Roberts had built two machines. One lifted his own weight; the other used a 50-pound disc on a fulcrum that adjusted the force required up to 360 pounds.

The machines cost $13,000 to build and used ATV-type tires to wheel from the parking lot to the surf.

Whatever happened to the Iron Surfer?

A recent Internet search revealed that an Iron Surfer was listed in Pismo Beach and at a Venice Beach Gym in 2013, offering “the world’s first in-the-ocean personal trainer since September 1993.”

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