Watch: Charting progression with Derek Hynd

Stu Nettle
Swellnet Dispatch

As part of the Australian National Surf Museum's upcoming Derek Hynd exhibition, the Hot Buttered crew prepared footage of DH from the late-70s and early-80s. 

It's only a five-minute vid but there's a lot to take in. For one, it becomes clear that, rather than a late-career reinvention, finless surfing is the logical endpoint of DH's ongoing progression. That for forty years he's been chipping away at something, new lines, new approaches, and that something arrived in finless. Watch those frontside and backside spinners, the stuck-to-the-board antics, and you can see the blueprint forming.

Comments

Halibut's picture
Halibut's picture
Halibut commented Friday, 5 Oct 2018 at 1:38pm

'DH' a poem by Halibut

DH once rode thrusters,
almost like a surfer
there for a while
then he moved on,
like not many do
they just could'nt
and even if they could,
they'd never look as good
wriggling around
on a board that's meant to be caressed
completely finessed
and blessed
by aquatic osmotic spacemen

another tourist

memlasurf's picture
memlasurf's picture
memlasurf commented Friday, 5 Oct 2018 at 1:51pm

Most of that early stuff was on twinnies and he almost looks MR esque on his forehand top and bottom turns. Certainly loves a squat on those finless things which to me is not the most aesthetically pleasing position on a board. He is nothing if not original.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Friday, 5 Oct 2018 at 2:07pm

I was thinking the same about the MR similarity, how he opens up his shoulders, holds his arms high, so the counterweight to each turn is held in the upper body and the arms and not down low. Probably has more to do with the nature of twinnies - i.e gotta be surfed lightly - than any direct influence between the surfers.

lost's picture
lost's picture
lost commented Friday, 5 Oct 2018 at 10:26pm

Well the guys got amazing skills and I love that he's taken his own path but with all that squatting I can't help think he is only inches away from being a kneelo without fins or goat boater with out a paddle.

knB

Spuddups's picture
Spuddups's picture
Spuddups commented Friday, 5 Oct 2018 at 2:22pm

He had a rad style back in those twin-fin days. Kind of a cross between MR and Buttons I reckon. There was a spontaneity and freedom in his surfing that is pretty inspirational. The only guy that's surfing anything like that now is Michael February. Most of the pros have fairly similar styles these days. There's that one turn he does when he get's about halfway through a 360 and then straightens back up and carries on forwards. Pretty cool. Makes me want to surf my twinny a bit more!

In terms of the finless stuff, I'm with lost. I imagine it must be a heap of fun, and it certainly allows for some unusual turns, but most of the time he looks like he's nursing the board. A bit too much squatting for my liking. However, it does illustrate how important the rails of a surfboard are.

GREGLVOV's picture
GREGLVOV's picture
GREGLVOV commented Friday, 5 Oct 2018 at 3:11pm

.....ee is an alibut
chose im out of thousands,
didn't like the others , they were all too flat .

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Friday, 5 Oct 2018 at 3:24pm

Another thing that got me thinking in this clip was the strap.

I always thought NSW south coast surfer Kris Puckeridge was the first to whack a strap on a board, and that was around '82/'83. Yet DH has one, and further searching reveals he rode it in a Coke Surf Classic in either 1978 or '79.

spencie's picture
spencie's picture
spencie commented Friday, 5 Oct 2018 at 5:09pm

Good to see some of the old footage. Hand movements a bit like old MR style and he was certainly surfing well. Dig seeing different paths in surfing.

easterly

indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming commented Friday, 5 Oct 2018 at 6:42pm

A lot of that footage was from Blazing boards, i remember it well always loved the sliding 360's of his and also buttons, a lot of them are kind of functional just something different in different areas of the wave often where not much else could be done.

Don't remember the ones at about 2:48 though, they are pretty cool, much harder to do back hand too.

Pass on the finless stuff though, I'm sure it might feel great but it looks horrible.

Please Stunet just give me that ignore button for Crypto (Herc, uplift or whatever other names he has used)

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Friday, 5 Oct 2018 at 6:47pm

Finless surfing = Fun pastime

Branding finless surfboarding , declaring it a “ movement “ and tirelessly setting yourself as it’s figurehead = Vanity project

Great surfer though.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Friday, 5 Oct 2018 at 7:35pm

"Branding finless surfboarding , declaring it a “ movement “ and tirelessly setting yourself as it’s figurehead"

But that's not DH, right?

From my POV it was the media doing the lionising while he went quietly about his business. Nick Carroll said he watched Derek slide the shorebreak finless at Newport for a year, learning his craft, telling no-one, nor documenting in any tangible way, or even commodifying it, his homemade boards bear no logo. In fact he had the famous stoush with Tom Wegener about "killing Bambi" when Tom, a board maker, dared make a buck off it.

But you're right about the great surfer part. Most definitely.

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Friday, 5 Oct 2018 at 8:54pm

He’s pushed the barrow a few times as far as I’m aware.

His trip to the Northwest with Freeride for one.

spuddyjack's picture
spuddyjack's picture
spuddyjack commented Friday, 5 Oct 2018 at 7:00pm

Good post Stu.
Nice bit of editing by Nick Waters. First half is like an effigy induced homage to MR, the other finless and fancy free is really freewheeling beautiful.

Stay salty

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Friday, 5 Oct 2018 at 7:37pm

"Effigy induced homage"

Nice.

Rabbits68's picture
Rabbits68's picture
Rabbits68 commented Friday, 5 Oct 2018 at 8:45pm

Amazing surfer. Really enjoyed that clip. I love seeing people do what feels good to them in the surf, no matter what craft or approach. Why should everyone ride a stock 6'0" thruster and try an emulate the top surfers? I wonder if Kelly Slater took any inspiration from DH's early days re performance surfing etc. DH was doing some pretty intersting surfing back in the day, similar to what KS has since done IMO.

Crystal Clear

mattmac's picture
mattmac's picture
mattmac commented Saturday, 6 Oct 2018 at 2:50pm

The guy's a freak can surf anything with style -especially that early twinnie footage -whether or not you're into finless boards that finless surfing at solid J-Bay is pretty amazing!

wax-on-danielson's picture
wax-on-danielson's picture
wax-on-danielson commented Saturday, 6 Oct 2018 at 11:13pm

The foot strap is interesting. Fine tuned it could take air game to another level. Imagine Italo or Medina with something similar, busting snowboard moves.

Spuddups's picture
Spuddups's picture
Spuddups commented Sunday, 7 Oct 2018 at 6:10pm

I wonder if there's any WSL rule against foot straps?

Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean commented Sunday, 7 Oct 2018 at 2:40pm

Liked it so much I watched it for the third sitting.

Check out his surfing in litmus( front side laybacks).
My all time favorite maybe the surfing he does in glass love on a yellow sail board.
Magic stuff!
Cheers D H forever yourself , forever ripping.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Sunday, 7 Oct 2018 at 5:02pm

The frontside layback! The highlight of Litmus.

I've got some old footage from the '84 Country Feeling Pro at J'Bay, and there in the warm ups is DH flying down the line, jamming up under the lip and throwing all his weight off the back of the board. It's not a clean frontside layback, but the kernel of the move is there, the vague outline, the blueprint. It'd take another decade for him to get it wired.

Similarly, I've got old footage of Tom Carroll at the '84 Pipe Masters going for an outrageous full-railed snap at big Pipe. TC doesn't make it but you can see where his imagination is leading him. In 1991 he was again presented with the perfect section and this time he pulled it off.

Makes you realise that progressive moves - frontside laybacks, snaps at Pipe, whatever it may be - aren't spontaneous. Those guys have been playing them over and over in their heads for years.

indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming commented Sunday, 7 Oct 2018 at 3:13pm

This came up in my Youtube feed, i can't remember if it's been posted here before.

Personally all finless surfing does for me is makes me think how important fins really are.

Please Stunet just give me that ignore button for Crypto (Herc, uplift or whatever other names he has used)

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno commented Sunday, 7 Oct 2018 at 6:06pm

Good article, seeing Derek using similar biomechanics on the twin fin really lit a light for me, great footage. It's always been a pleasure to see Derek and have a brief chat with him in the surf, from what I can work out he has an articulate and enquiring mind.

I have noticed apart from the deeply channelled or concaved boards, most of the finless boards are flat. Has anyone tried Wally Froiseth's "calculated drag" in a finless board? This was used to give a semblance of control to the wooden Hawaiian boards before Tom Blake put the fin on. It would look like a vee in the tail of the board, or an apexed vee?

uncle_leroy's picture
uncle_leroy's picture
uncle_leroy commented Sunday, 7 Oct 2018 at 6:44pm

Finless on a skim board is more progressive if just talking about putting a board on rail and turns, those forward spins up the face trying to gain some edge are really painful to watch, going backwards but going forwards, spend more time looking at the next wave of the set behind you than the wall in front down the line
each to their own

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Sunday, 7 Oct 2018 at 7:38pm

Understand that everyone is entitled to thier opinion, but the notion that finless "looks bad" really does miss the point. DH isn't competing, trying to impress judges with aesthetics, he's doing something altogether different. It's a purely personal trip.

There's a title to a book by Martin Amis, "The War Against Cliche", it's a book of essays and newspapers articles, but content aside I think that title is something every creative person should aspire to. That line should be their foundation stone. Don't keep revisiting what works but constantly push forward into new expressions. New views into the world.

Here in surfdom we have a few people upholding Amis' decree. Shearer, for one. Have you ever read two articles of his that are similar? That invoke the same concepts, tropes, and storylines? The same lines of thought? Last Mentwai article missed the mark, but whatever.

There are other writers, shapers, filmmakers, musicians, both within and outside of surfing, and I'm tempted to name them because I'm sitting on a far south coast verandah half cut and the mere thought of their work thrills me, but I'll refrain from being a pretentious twat.

Anyway, point being, DH is a surfer and an artist, and he's also been riding waves the same way for half a century, so finless is his own war on cliche. A way to keep expanding the experience.

Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean commented Sunday, 7 Oct 2018 at 9:38pm

I once read a quote by D H saying

" the thruster destroyed all creativity and comodified competitive surfing."
I was already aware of D H so to read that was quite interesting. To watch his surfing pre thruster it's really unique and actually amazing.
The finless stuff is great also I really understand your P O V.

Halibut's picture
Halibut's picture
Halibut commented Monday, 8 Oct 2018 at 7:22am

D H said that? I been telling ya's this for years, ya's would'nt listen and now this comes out.

another tourist

lost's picture
lost's picture
lost commented Sunday, 7 Oct 2018 at 7:46pm

I bet he climbs up on the toilet seat and squats when dropping the kids off. Probably does it with style too. Not my thing though, hard to watch.

knB

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Sunday, 7 Oct 2018 at 8:01pm

From Martin Amis to dropping turds in a bowl, we got life's rich pageant on display.

crg's picture
crg's picture
crg commented Sunday, 7 Oct 2018 at 9:15pm

Hahahaha...rich...oh so rich...

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Monday, 8 Oct 2018 at 5:47am

Good point , Stu.

The world is far better place cause people colour outside of the lines as their natures dictate. I think that Hynd’s quote by Lanky Dean is a bit accepting and lacking of imagination itself though !

Don’t think I’m down on Mr Hynd too hard . I was lucky enough to share a line up with him and had a bit of a chat. He seems smart , funny and open. Good surfer walking his own path which is a trait I admire immensely.

PS How far south are you ?

Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean commented Monday, 8 Oct 2018 at 8:21am

Please explain?
Its his opinion, he is entitled to it ?
Don't shoot the messenger ....
Watching his surfing back then and others I can see his point of view.
Sure why not have a finless in your quiver.
The funny thing about this old world is that everyone loves to control the narrative. Mine and yours apparently........

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Monday, 8 Oct 2018 at 9:37am

Nah , I just think it’s a cop out saying that the thruster destroyed all creativity.

Look at the previously unimaginable manoeuvres being performed on thrusters and the extent to which fundamental surfing ,such as turns and tube riding , has improved since the advent of the thruster.

Not to mention the whole other worlds that have opened up with foils , quads and even finless. The only thing limiting creativity is lack of imagination.

Not having a go at you in any way , Lanky.

Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean commented Monday, 8 Oct 2018 at 10:05am

"The only thing limiting creativity is lack of imagination."
Don't forget skill ; )

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Monday, 8 Oct 2018 at 2:05pm

Not even.

I’ve got no skill , yet it seems my scope for bogging rail is only limited by my inability to conceive ever more inappropriate cutback techniques .

Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean commented Monday, 8 Oct 2018 at 11:57am

Pretty sure the first airs were done on twins, pipeline tamed on single fins. Modern performance big wave boards quads. Modern tube riding quads .
Modern short boards with mackee fin layout.
I have two six fin setups in my quiver. (Though I ride them usually as asym quads.) I haven't surfed a thruster in over five years.

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Monday, 8 Oct 2018 at 2:08pm

The big three not stifling creativity.

https://youtu.be/llNxIWILPdQ

uncle_leroy's picture
uncle_leroy's picture
uncle_leroy commented Monday, 8 Oct 2018 at 10:41am

These right hand points popping up along the Atlantic coastline, every surfers dream, hollow sand bottom point break, endless barrel, in all of DH’s quiver there is not one board that will hold rail in the tube. JBay footage also lacks any tube rides, all open face. I noticed his boards are quite length and volume following ‘traditional’ surf board design, but maybe if others wanted to bring finless to modern day surf perspective, there is maybe something in bodyboard length/rail concept. Recall footage of Chris won and Cavin Yap getting Backdoor/off the wall stand up bodyboard barrels and down line surfing carves/snaps.
But that is what DH is not about, it’s about following the beat of your own drum and groove, against the grain and if it works for him, good things. Respect for doing something different

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