Flexi Week on Swellnet

Stu Nettle
Swellnet Dispatch

In 1967 George Greenough was the most advanced shaper in the world. A regular visitor to Australia, Greenough attracted a coterie of disciples who absorbed his theories on surfcraft design and set them to work. Despite its name, the Shortboard Revolution was much more than a radical reassessment of length. Inspired by Greenough, surfers looked at their boards anew: at fin design, hull shape, planshape, and flex patterns. They threw out the old ideas en masse and applied Greenough’s futuristic designs, building upon his work, either pushing them to breaking point, or morphing them into new concepts to fully realise their potential.

This was true for all Greenough’s ideas bar one - flex.

“Flex remains the one area of George’s teachings that hasn’t been fully explored,” says Mitchell Rae of Outer Islands Surfboards.

So next week Swellnet is gonna shimmy out onto the springboard and take a leap into the world of flex.

  • On Monday we'll track Mitchell Rae's flexible trajectory.
  • Tuesday Nev Hyman will explain how the search for flex was the inspiration for Firewire.
  • Wednesday we'll meet a scientist measuring surfboard flex in the lab.
  • Thursday I've got no idea what'll appear, maybe nothing, it is flexi week after all.
  • And on Friday we'll chat to the guy who is no longer a Bush Rat but still a master of integrated flex, Jed Done.

See you then...

Comments

cswells's picture
cswells's picture
cswells commented Friday, 6 Jul 2018 at 3:19pm

Any chance we'll see any more Boarding School articles? Big fan of that series.

jimbrown's picture
jimbrown's picture
jimbrown commented Friday, 6 Jul 2018 at 3:49pm

Get onto Mick Mackie! Does some very interesting things with flex

blindboy's picture
blindboy's picture
blindboy commented Friday, 6 Jul 2018 at 6:03pm

In my experience, most boards bend but very few flex, that is return the stored elastic energy in a useable manner.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Saturday, 7 Jul 2018 at 8:26am

The last few weeks I've been driving around with a carbon flex tail in the back of the wagon. Not a shape I'd usually ride so I had to overcome that obstacle, but the times I loaded it up on the open face and felt that late turn burst were enough to make some new ideas bloom.

sharkman's picture
sharkman's picture
sharkman commented Saturday, 7 Jul 2018 at 9:05am

Very interesting subject , will be interested to see what the boys say about Torque and Tortion , and hopefully you interviewed Johhny C about how he is measuring Flex and tortion!

x

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Saturday, 7 Jul 2018 at 11:17am

Not Cabianca's, but there is an almost identical tool here in Australia. I checked it out and spoke to the guy who made it.

blindboy's picture
blindboy's picture
blindboy commented Saturday, 7 Jul 2018 at 1:49pm

Back in the 79s I had a Tinkler tail that, very briefly, gave a similar burst of speed. In terms of materials I seem to remember that spring steel has the best weight to elastic energy ratio, followed by high density rubber. The problem has always been securing those type of materials and matching their flex to the flex of the other materials, so carbon fibre is probably the way forward.

sharkman's picture
sharkman's picture
sharkman commented Monday, 9 Jul 2018 at 9:08am

I still have a Tinkler tail , as was one of the first to test them with Wayne Lynch.
That;s where we learnt it was better to stop the flex along the stringer and loosen the outsides so when Torque is applied it's all about the tortion , best bottom turning board I ever had , but broke them all doing bottom turns at Bells , so maybe it's not about the flex, so will be interesting to read Flex week.....

x

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Monday, 9 Jul 2018 at 9:14am

Got any pics sharkman ?

sharkman's picture
sharkman's picture
sharkman commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 10:38am

got pics but am part of the fossil tech revolution , which means I wouldn't have a clue how to do it , I am sure Stu could find some photo's , there is still a brand new one hanging in the RC showroom , shaped by Wayne Lynch, mine are all broken , but have always wondered how to do it again and working with Scott Graham (Google him , he is hydrodynamic specialist who surfs , but also designs America's cup boats ….) might be Tortion Tail coming?

x

blindboy's picture
blindboy's picture
blindboy commented Monday, 9 Jul 2018 at 2:57pm

I got about a month out of mine and that was surfing Sydney beach breaks.

Nick Bone's picture
Nick Bone's picture
Nick Bone commented Friday, 6 Jul 2018 at 6:07pm

Yes! How good are Thursdays!

Nick Bone's picture
Nick Bone's picture
Nick Bone commented Friday, 6 Jul 2018 at 6:08pm

Ive seen one dude overseas on a bush rat flex tail. That guy could surf.

lostdoggy's picture
lostdoggy's picture
lostdoggy commented Friday, 6 Jul 2018 at 7:34pm

When will Gary G flex his biceps for us?

GuySmiley's picture
GuySmiley's picture
GuySmiley commented Friday, 6 Jul 2018 at 9:50pm

its going to be a great week of reading and maybe a cameo appearance from gary g ..... its going to be epic

thatguy's picture
thatguy's picture
thatguy commented Saturday, 7 Jul 2018 at 7:29am

Almost as exciting as Shark Week.

bbbird's picture
bbbird's picture
bbbird commented Saturday, 7 Jul 2018 at 10:46am

On September 29, 1966, Australian Nat Young won the World Surfing Championships in San Diego on a self-shaped board... ...."It was incredibly thin and just sunk underneath you," Young recalls. "I must have spent 60 hours on that glass job, sanding it down, trying to get the flex I wanted from it......"then George shaped that fin."... "I was trying to be George Greenough," "You had to be a good surfer to ride those boards," Young says.
https://www.surfer.com/blogs/design-forum/sons-of-sam/

"Far Out Flexible Surfboard... the wave of the future", Popular Science, August 1969, page 92
Photo by Hayden Kenny of George Greenough and Spoon, Caloundra, Queensland 1966
http://www.surfresearch.com.au/00000320.html

bbbird

blindboy's picture
blindboy's picture
blindboy commented Saturday, 7 Jul 2018 at 6:32pm

I'm guessing that the far out board was the one Nat made at Barry Bennetts. It was based on Greenough's design but was just ridiculous, thick sheets of glass with a lump of foam in the middle. I remember looking at it on the way home from school and, even at that age, wondering what he was on!

nozawaman's picture
nozawaman's picture
nozawaman commented Sunday, 8 Jul 2018 at 3:52pm

Probably hash back in those days .

indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming commented Saturday, 7 Jul 2018 at 5:38pm

I think poly resin continues to cure over it's life, i wonder if a poly flex tail flex would change in how it flexed over time?

People do say the reason PU/PE boards can lose their initial lively new feel is the combination of continuing harding of resin and the foam also changing from flexing (more extreme example is what happens to that foam they use in varse's to hold flowers that you squish and it stays dented)

EPS doesn't have these same issue as has very good memory and i don't think Epoxy resin continues to cure after a certain time period :P

Ada gula, ada semut!

saltman's picture
saltman's picture
saltman commented Monday, 9 Jul 2018 at 10:43am

I understood the same about Poly resin v epoxy resin
If its true it begs the question, why do some well know makers mentioned above persist with poly resin in their flex tail boards?

Toppa's picture
Toppa's picture
Toppa commented Saturday, 7 Jul 2018 at 6:59pm

Greenough in the 1960's his speed is phenomenal for those times.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cVS0bH2GDeQ

Toppa

Gary G's picture
Gary G's picture
Gary G commented Monday, 9 Jul 2018 at 10:01am

Finally, SN jumping on board the real issues.

Gary would suggest that Thursday is devoted to unlocking which combination of lighting, coconut oil, and spandex gives the greatest flex photo for ones Craigslist personal ad.

For Gary, flex is much more than a week - it's a state of mind.

For your next holiday, why not get all up in Gary?
Gary, Indiana.
Nestled at the tip of Lake Michigan, the best spot for scoring a facey anywhere on the great lakes, Gary's such a delight that once you've come once, you're certain to want to come again.

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Monday, 9 Jul 2018 at 2:48pm

catalyst san clemente insta
Lost surfboards - Flex your Head.

ancient's picture
ancient's picture
ancient commented Monday, 9 Jul 2018 at 5:31pm

Nothing but admiration for George, possibly the most original & talented surfer of all time. But I think the flex thing is a dead end, any "energy storage & release" is largely imaginary. Virtually all vehicles working in a fluid dynamics environment work best when they're stiffer, from fighter planes to hydroplanes, better responsiveness, precision control etc. George could make a toilet door surf well, look at his performance on a half inflated surf mat!

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Monday, 9 Jul 2018 at 5:50pm

I recently spent two weeks riding a carbon flex tail and there's nothing imaginary about the energy release. Whether it works better or worse than a rigid board is a different question.

bbbird's picture
bbbird's picture
bbbird commented Monday, 9 Jul 2018 at 7:29pm

Pros: Flex is great for power turning & maintaining momentum.
eg. Marine creatures flex in the surf...(until they reach a dead end; becoming stiff...)
eg. Filipe Toledo at Jbay Pro
Cons: Flextails can cut toes & legropes.

bbbird

andrew-pitt's picture
andrew-pitt's picture
andrew-pitt commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 3:38am

What about something on bodyboards on thursday? Watching the good guys it seems like - flex? Finless? Lightweight materials? - surfboard evolution might have just hopped over my quiver of polys.
More than materials. Its hands vs feet. Hands have much better coordination and control.
Basketball into a small hoop. Soccer into a large rectangle.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 7:22am

I'll see what I can rustle up, Andrew. Did you read Mitchell Rae's piece? He credits the bodyboard revolution with providing the materials he needed to perfect his boards.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Thursday, 12 Jul 2018 at 3:06pm

I tried to get an article on bodyboard flex up today but unfortunately no-one I spoke to works at the same pace as an internet journalist. Which is a shame 'cos there appears some unique ideas getting tossed about by our BB brethren.

Maybe Flexi Week might continue till next week? We'll see...

andrew-pitt's picture
andrew-pitt's picture
andrew-pitt commented Thursday, 12 Jul 2018 at 3:32pm

BB's are getting thin on the ground, almost time to list them as an endangered species?

blindboy's picture
blindboy's picture
blindboy commented Thursday, 12 Jul 2018 at 3:37pm

Still a few chargers around here but you don't tend to see them on the beachbreaks.

Spuddups's picture
Spuddups's picture
Spuddups commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 5:59am

Man, kneeboarding looks strange. Very rare to see them these days.

bbbird's picture
bbbird's picture
bbbird commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 7:40pm

Crozier / Peter Crawford made flextails in 1975
"The 360 in the tube was one of Peters specialties."
https://lyttlestreet.wordpress.com/2012/06/25/the-late-peter-crawford-kn...
Video: https://vimeo.com/54692762

bbbird

blindboy's picture
blindboy's picture
blindboy commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 8:37pm

bbird, Peter's son Justin is the owner of Fallenbrokenstreet at Byron. I am pretty sure he has a couple of PC's flex tails out the back if you ever feel the need to check them out.

liamj22's picture
liamj22's picture
liamj22 commented Wednesday, 11 Jul 2018 at 12:26am

Do we have to have $7.99 a week to read it?

35_degrees's picture
35_degrees's picture
35_degrees commented Thursday, 12 Jul 2018 at 12:46pm

worth talking to mick mackie isnt it , been making epic flex tails for years ..... just sayin !

@35_degrees

andrew-pitt's picture
andrew-pitt's picture
andrew-pitt commented Thursday, 12 Jul 2018 at 3:44pm

Had a flex tail once, fell off the back like a kook every time, couldn't control it.

Some great flex surfing in the movie, Stoked and Broke, I think they are riding finless foam blanks (? open to correction) in 3footters and totally ripping

So I expand on my hypothesis - flex is the domain of body boarders and kneeboarders (George, Peter Berry) - because their hands are on the rails, controlling the flex, with all the finesse that hands have over feet.
For most of us flat footed punters, we struggle to control the power. So seeing that bottom turn of Mitchell Rae at Changu - wow, that guy can surf.

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