After Byrne: The last boards Al Byrne ever shaped
It's been almost four years since much-loved shaper Allan Byrne died following a motorbike crash in Bali. Not long after his death, friends and family auctioned some of AB's boards to help pay for medical costs.
Among the sell-off was the last board AB ever shaped, a classic six channel swallow tail which was given a tribute spray by airbrush artist Christian Chapman. The board fetched $30,000 at auction and the new owner, Spike Neumann, donated it to Surf World Gold Coast where it can still be seen.
Though it was the last board AB shaped, it wasn't the last board to be finished; two other boards that AB had earlier shaped were still floating around. One of them had been floating around as a shaped but unglassed blank for ten years!
"It's a long story," says Dale Wilson of Byrning Spears, "but the board got sent to Sydney to be sprayed and it just didn't happen. It sat there not doing anything."
Ultimately the board was sent back to the Gold Coast where it was given the treatment by Christian Chapman (see image below). It's now in the hands of the proprietor of Dripping Wet Manly and ex-Massappeal guitarist Brett Curotta.
And that left one more. The last board was shaped by AB just before he left for Bali. It was ordered by Byrning Spears glasser Matt Green and and since AB's death he's resisted doing anything - till now.
Like the previous two, Greeny commissioned Christian Chapman to colour the foam. This time around it was one of AB's iconic photos: exiting the barrel at the 1981 Pipe Masters where he controversially came second to Simon Anderson. All on the beach who saw it claim AB won but the injustice was overlooked in favour of the bigger picture - Simon's Thruster.
AB was riding a six channel single fin, a board similar in style to this one, though his Pipe board was 7'2".
And what to do with the very last board AB ever made, ride it or hang it?
"We had that talk in here at the factory," says Dale seriously. "AB always wanted his board to be ridden. So yeah, he'll be riding it."