Vancouver’s The Surfdusters were Western Canada’s premier rock and surf instrumental band throughout the 1990s and into the 21st century.

Founded in 1989 by lead guitarist Ralph Johnston and rhythm guitarist Rich Hagensen, The Surfdusters recorded three full length CDs of instrumentals mostly composed by band members – ‘Raincoast Rumble’…‘Surf After Dark’…and ‘Save The Waves’; one 7” vinyl EP ‘Waves Of Pleasure’, and were on scores of vinyl, cassette and CD instrumental releases and compilations throughout the world.

Besides Johnston and Hagensen, the original group included bassist Dave Guindon; keyboardist Joanne Banks, and drummer John Hanson. Ex-Powder Blues saxophonist Gordie Bertram occasionally played and recorded with the band and, in 1994, Frank Nichols replaced Hanson on skins. Ralph Johnston, who played on and composed most of The Surfdusters early vinyl and cassette releases and their first CD, left the band in 1995 to form industrial surf band Quonset. In 1996, lead guitarist Mark Brodie briefly recorded and played with the group before leaving to form Mark Brodie And The Beaver Patrol and later, The Metalunas. Scott Smith then joined as lead guitarist and Grant Shankaruk also came on board as the new bassist when Guindon bailed out in 1995. This grouping (Smith, Hagensen, Shankaruk, Banks and Nichols) picked up the pace with increased live dates and they recorded The Surfdusters second CD in 1998 plus other sessions in 1999.


For over 10 years, The Surfdusters played mostly around Vancouver where they shared the stage with instrumental kings Dick Dale & The Del-Tones, The Ventures, Shadowy Men On a Shadowy Planet, Huevos Rancheros as well as numerous Canadian and American rock’n roll, instrumental, punk, country swing, and rockabilly bands including Nervous Fellas and Ray Condo & the Ricochets. Highlights were an October, 1997 road trip to play at North by Northwest in Portland, Oregon and a July, 1996 appearance on Phil Dirt’s KFJC surf radio show in San Francisco, California where they opened for Davie Allan & The Arrows.

Another honor was having their original composition ‘Save The Waves’ selected as the only Canadian instro on the Rhino Records 1996 ‘Cowabunga! The Surf Box’ 4 CD anthology of the best 1960s to 1990s surf instrumentals. Also, The Surfdusters felt privileged to have 11 of their original instrumentals (all on the Fireball Records ‘Save The Waves’ CD) included in various episodes of the world’s #1 cartoon ‘Spongebob Squarepants’. Another Surfdusters instrumental ‘Russian Dressing’ – also from the ‘Save The Waves’ CD – is playing in the background during the beach barroom scene on the ‘NCIS Los Angeles’ Season 4 episode titled ‘Skin Deep’.


The Surfdusters continued playing until November, 2001 with their last live appearance at the Fireball Records ‘Instrobeat’ CD release party with 7 other instrumental bands from the compilation. Since then, several Surfdusters originals have appeared on various artists compilations in Europe and the U.S.A. Waiting in the wings are yet more instrumentals from The Surfdusters vaults slated for Fireball Records releases in the near future.