Submitted by 1963-malibu on Sat, 05/01/2010 - 06:20
Does anyone else find it funny that all of a sudden surfers are fascinated with experimental surfboard design?
it is a good thing that there is so much happening.
BUT, ten years ago no one gave a shit. Everyone was happy with the standard Kelly Slater style thruster. If you walked down the beach with an old quad fin or a fish under your arm everyone would laugh at you and call you a kook, even if you surfed it good.
What changed that mentality?
Today you could walk down the beach and paddle out on a shopping trolley and no-one would say anything i rekon.
Can we thank the internet for this change and new open mindedness?
Or is it because someone cool like Alex Knost or Rasta did it first?
Or is it because the magazines are starting to televise it?
It's a good question(s) and worth thinking about.
The contrast between now and ten years ago couldn't have been greater, hey? It blows me away just how many craft there are in the water now and how it all changed in such a short time.
Surfing, I think, has fractured and diversified and no longer is there one vast, dominant group. Shortboarders still make up the majority but the percentage of crew that get into alternative craft is huge. It's helped along by the media, specifically the internet, surfing's niches - fish, alaias, mals, etc - are all catered for by websites that connect participants together. Sub-cultures grow as disparate riders connect with crew that share common values. No-one's an outcast when they can log on and find random internet communities celebrating alternative craft.
All of which makes it acceptable for anyone to pack the quad, fish, alaia and whatever else you have into the back of the station wagon.
PS: I don't think the magazines contributed much to this. If anything they were late to catch on.
it is good to see the different surf craft being used.people are getting back to what its all about.the boards are made for different waves and bring more enjoyment in riding and the vibe in the water.you iether go bustin airs or carve with the wave,wich is what i like about with these boards.
Just check out ebay,any half decent old kneeboards are attracting lots of bidders. There was a guy at our local on the weekend on one,haven't seen someone ride one in years.Good to see people break away from the herd & just have fun.Will Tracks resurrect Cripples Corner for the retro kneelos?LOL
i'm all for it- more diversity the better. a friend of mine collects old boards- hundreds of them- i took this 5'4 S deck out- single fin, on a small day- it was great- so hard to bottom turn, had to engage a full poo-man stance over the tail, but so fun, it was the same when a bout 2 years ago i started riding a 7'6 reno (still do on occasion)-a ski shaped thing, and i hadn't ridden anything bigger than 6'6 since i was 13, i got into leaning some of the foot work needed to be functional on a bigger board- it was an is so much fun and good for my surfing. Now i am playing with an alaia (a finless wooden plank). Learning to ride board shapes and crafts that are different than the norm is fun- all that falling off from the unexpected is fun. thats why we got into surfing- it's fun.
So a question raises,
At which point does respect in the line up come into play regardless of craft that a surfer chooses to ride?
My guess is; it is when that person becomes functional on the craft, and able not to waste waves.
and the next question is- are there limits to what type of craft we as a surfing community will give respect to?
For example- guys functionally riding bodyboards stand up (and drop-knee)... i've tried it- it's hard, some of these guys shred- turns barrels floats the whole biz in decent waves- but they're riding bodyboards, however, as water sportsmen their skill levels are very high.
I'll leave it that- but i'm interested in what you fellas think.........??????????
If it wasn't for a Step-Deck...
I would never of started Surfing!!!
but whenever i dig it back out...
I still feel like a kook walking down the beach with this fat thing under my arm...
Trippin, Sippin, Surfin
why is it happenning all of a sudden ? well it has always been there but recently it has become more accepted because 'ccol'people have been doin it, and on one hand its a shame it has taken someone 'cool' to do it but on the other hand it is great that surfers are finally realizing that alot of different designs work and work well, some alot better than the majority perservere with most of the time. In recent times the average surfer has been able to ride something much more suitable and functional for his level of skill so the fun factor has improved for some.( other designs are just allowing the waves to be ridden differently, letting surfers experience different feelings and just do different turns, again, this is great coz it increases the fun factor, these boards can be refreshing and renew your motivation for certain waves, usually small ones that are no fun on HPS boards...)..but there are others who just wanna follow the trends and ride whats 'cool' which is typical of surfers and humans...but the best thing is that surfers are willing to ride different designs and this allows shapers to push boundaries within the shaping room and that can only be good for surfing and board design...these are great times for surfboard design and hopefully it will continue for along time to come.....
It all started with Tom Curren on the Rip Curl Search missions of the early 90's when he surfed at Bawa on a 5'7" Tom Peterson Fireball in 12 foot plus surf. He was the whole and singular reason for the resurgance of retro surfboards. Alex Knost or Rasta had nothing to do with it. Currne and Derek Hynd were the pioneers.
And this was before the internet, so I guess you could say the Magazines and the old VHS tape had everything to do with it.
I would agree with antifroth. It had to be Curren or Hynd, it could not possibly have been someone who isnt in the magazines.
It had to be one of the sponno's.
We need the sponno's to do anything before we will try it.
If what antifroth is saying is correct, that curren is the (quote) 'whole and singular' reason for the resurgance, then maybe we should be laying more cred on Tom Peterson, MP's brother and his pals.
Tommy Peterson is the fkn hero, not the sponnos who got the magazines and movie exposure.
1963-malibu - Mate all the credit goes to Tom Curren for riding the thing in the first place. Has nothing to do with his sponsors as they would have rather seen him out on his regular pro issue board.
It's just the natural evolution of the surfboard towards the ultimate surf craft... The Bodyboard!
Ever noticed how bodyboarders don't waste our lives searching for more control, manuverability, speed etc. The body board has reached perfection and can evolve no furhter.
This discussion also highlights your pathetic obsession with following trends and aesthetics
63 mal - the board was found in a garage sale and curren took it with him to indo. The board wasn't made special for the trip or anything. It was an old surfboard and Curren was going through some different headspace at the time. He was responsible not the shaper and quit going on about sponsored surfers cause you are sounding like a tool.
brian-wu - Fluidzone mate, it's for your kind so kindly.....
Tom Curren beautiful surfer.
I agree, the guy is a legend. I love the way he surfs and his whole attitude, BUT he was not the 'singular reason', the 'first' or any of that crap and neither was Derek Hynd.
They are two surfers who are sponsored who get the media attention and get paid to be in the surfing movies, but there were hundreds of other surfers experimenting with surfboard design at the very same time, you have just never heard of them.
1963-malibu I think you are wrong here. If Curren had not taken the 5'7" Fireball out to surf Bawa in front of Sonny Millers lense in 1996 no-one would have been interested in the whole retro thing. He was the one who exposed the fact that this alternate sort of craft could be ridden and ridden well in serious waves, it had nothing to do with the backyard hippies and their magic shakes. Curren was responsible for making the whole deal go mainstream. Derek Hynd plays a part because it was his board.
I do understand your point of view, but had that session not gone down in Bawa then the whole retro thing wouldn't have taken off in such a big way. The people involved in it would have still been shunned by the surfing majority as drug fucked time trippers from the 70's and we would still be riding the regular pro stick thruster.
Now people can walk down the beach with watever type of craft they want and be accepted.
You seem to be jelous of sponsored surfers? Where do you think innovation comes from? It's these professional surfers who are pushing the boundries every time they go in the water and progressing the sport. Without them and their sponsors surfing would'nt be anywhere near what it is today.
maybe people that surf these days are richer than they used to be and thus have more money to waste on stupid boards. at the end of the day a 6'0 - 6'4 thruster is still the best and most versatile model for a short board - hence why everyone on the pro tour riders one (bar smelly skater - who has gone back to one after performing mediocre last year on a double stringer quad and now look where he sits on the ladder!).
what goes around comes around and everyone will get over it when they realise that these new-old-retro-gay-60s-80s-70s designs aren't as good as a normal board - new materials like the things firewire are doing are probably where a real inovation is coming from, not paying top dollar to look like you just stepped out of the 70s.
waxy is on the money with his comments.
Malibu - Fuck off, modrn boards trim perfectly well and even the bi9ggest kooks like to try to turn. Just cause you can't doesn't mean that others don't want to, Turn that is.
some great stuff here and alot of it very true....but there has always been surfers who were open mided enough to ride different designs to discover different things from their boards but the shapers are responsible for a large part of it also, without the boards, it couldnt happen, but without the high profile surfers, it would get the attention to get it to acceptable like it is today...ride what you want...have FUN.....
1963 Malibu You are the only person I have ever heard of who doesn't like to turn. A good surfer can and should ride every type of surfboard available, and that means doing turns on them.
The shapers are responsible for the equipment we ride, and that means the latest and greatest too.
The fact that you like to go straight and trim without turning is something that you have all to yourself.
And the 'fuck off' was aimed straight at your comment that modern thrusters don't trim. That is the biggest load of crap I have ever heard.
So you can get over it.
Modern thrusters don't trim you need to wiggle and waggle to keep them moving.
Good point mal63.
Give me a single fin that glides any day.
thrusters-suck - maybe you need to ride a bigger board to carry your fat gut, if you've got the right size board and are surfing waves over 1 foot dribble it should go sweet without having to pump.
single fins track too much like a wind surfer, twinnies are too loose like a lid, quads sort of make a twinny hold better but they can be a bit tight on turns - they do have good speed though. but at the end of the day the all-round winner is the thruster cause you've got drive like a single fin but not as much drag and manuverability like a twinny but it holds on the face. Meaning - you can gun down the line then drive a big turn easily bring it back around into the pocket and then pick up speed to do it again.
all these designs came out in the 80s with 5 fins and sevens fins, ten fins, and everyone got over it. time will tell.
in terms of surfboard design when i'm old and unfit i'll probably ride a mal cause paddling can be a bitch if your an old bastard! but for the moment i'll ride a short board cause surfing is all about getting barrelled and its a lot easier on a short board.
Spot on Danielson. hey you can make a mal go good to if you make it a thruster, add heaps of tail rocker and keep the nose flat. So don't stress about getting old.
there are many many many different surfboards and fin configurations for conditions and ability levels.
saying 'single fins track' is narrow minded.
saying 'twins are too lose' is also narrow minded.
sweeping comments like this are written by someone who does not understand board design and fins, someone who has CLOSED their mind to possibilities and anyone who backs that sort of comment is also closed minded and restricting their stoke.
It is the closed minds of froths and wax-o's that restrict our future.
there is no "perfect shape" or "design". nearly every shape will have a perfect wave, somewere, some day, and on that day, in that place, that surfer will have the best surf of his life. just bring it on, now, lets talk about swallow tails.........
wax on....wax off......oohhhh
Hype and fashion seem to cut both ways. Big business marketing and pro endorsement may be responsible for condemning recreational surfers to riding â€˜standard thrustersâ€™, but The Industry has also benefited hugely from the boom in â€˜alternativeâ€™ surfboards (fish, eggs, spoons, retro rockets of all descriptions). You only have to open the pages of Surfing World or The Surfers Path to see that the push is on.
The standard thruster as design stagnation seems like a straw man to me. Set him up and knock him down! If there was a period of inertia, it only lasted for a few years in the 1980s. We continue to congratulate ourselves for breaking its shackles when the shift has been underway for twenty-odd years.
Iâ€™m assuming that prior to Simonâ€™s thruster, it was pretty much open slather. Singles, twinnies, long boards, short boards, they tell me things were changing pretty rapidly. I may be wrong, but I wasnâ€™t around back then.
By the time everyone got a handle on the thruster, we were well into the â€˜80s. Things may have stagnated a bit for a few years, but when I compare my early â€˜80s Energy thruster (low, rolled rails, wide rounded square) to my late â€˜80s Rusty thruster (boxy rails, flat deck, narrow chopped square), it seems that things kept moving. Also through the â€˜80s we had channels (4 shallow belly channels, 6 deep tail channels, jet bottoms?!?), we had the Cheyne / Ben Lexcen wing fin, we had Mr Xâ€™s quads (a man before his time?). More broadly in terms of alternative craft, we had sailboards, goatboats, boogie boards, mals and mini-mals (yeah, I didnâ€™t like it any more than you).
Mr Slater and Mr Merrick soon had many of us reducing the volume and increasing the rocker. This didnâ€™t work for everyone, but Curren was already showing us what could be done on a fish. â€¦Val Dustyâ€¦ Litmus. I can remember in â€™95 ordering a specific small wave board that was shorter, thicker and wider than my standard shooter and by â€™97 or â€™98 I was occasionally on a full-tilt fish. I wasnâ€™t alone. So for the last decade at least thereâ€™s been something fishy in most crowded lineups.
I happen to agree with Daniel-san. If I could only own and ride one surfboard, it would be a 6â€™4â€ standard thruster. Best all round performer and suits what I wanna do. However, I recognise different boards work better in different conditions and for different styles of surfing. Letâ€™s just not pretend weâ€™re the first generation of surfers to work this out.
Peace out Zac
Stuff retro boards.
Retro wetties are where itâ€™s at. Only pros can get the most outta these warm, comfortable suits they make nowadays.
If youâ€™re not freezing, rashed to buggery and unable to bend your limbs, youâ€™re not really surfing.
at the end of the day a 6'0 - 6'4 thruster is still the best and most versatile model for a short board
at the end of the day a 6'0 - 6'4 thruster is still the best and most versatile model for a short board
The word 'retro' is fucked.
I wonder if the word 'alternative' fits better here than 'experimental...experimenting is essential to progress, but it seems alternative craft has become accepted and fashionable, when I was a grommy and rode different boards, I was laughed at ridiculed, now I make a living from it.....
interesting comments from the booger rider...I think boogers could be designed differently, think there is always room for improvement, or not only to improve performance but to alter it, to offer a diff feeling or performance benefit...I am right into my finless surfing and boards atm and am planning a board with some booger rails...
am interested to see if any bodyboarders are gunna have a crack at finless seeing how they been doing it for years....??/
There are a few soft boards with booger rails around... Only one I can think of is from Morey.
i love doing different shit!
would even like sliding through mushy closouts on roys things.
im sure there will be more finless designing. i was standing on a lid years ago. free falling into barrels and arials are very do-able! on the right waves. now seeing the alaias... this is an acient design that works. why do people knock em? much worse seeing surfers kooking it on Â´correctÂ´ thrusters.
need more dhs experimenting with the finless things! alaias are cool but not the future of finless. see dh finless at 6-8 jbay? slater isnt superman...
anti froth; i know crew that never got off their quads/fishes through the 80s,90, and todays...being an ex lid ive hardly heard of curran. and you of all people should understand that there are no rules to surfing, trying to surf a mal like a short board. get your head outa your sponno-ed(worlds) arse.
its all about the wave and you on it. the only arrgument is when som1 tells som1 else what they are doing is wrong!
It seems to me as though the surfing world is very much like fashion, they both go through trends that repeat themselves. For example, I was speaking to a shaper recently who compared Slater's current fat, short boards to those wide sticks ridden in the 70's. I can see the similarities, but I think there are other differences.. today your typical run of the mill thruster short board has a lot more rocker than those sticks back in the 70's. So in reality, we have a combination of today's rocker and the general outlines of those board from the past.
Funny thing about all of these different boards being ridden was actually born from people by choice flailing on way undervolumed thrusters.
In reference to the above. Frankie Oberholzer took a few Tommy Peterson fireballs on that trip, Tom Curren seen it in his bag and wanted to ride it at Bawa.
The actual interesting part of the whole program is that board design now is a modernised form of 80's insprired volume, deck lines and rails with 2010 rockers and bottoms. What has acually happened is people rode their super trendy fish or single fin and came to the realisation that floating actually worked. You can paddle and catch waves.
I worked in a very major surfboard shop and the amount of 85kg guys insisting on buying the 6'2 x 18 1/4 rounded square even after I explained that Occy, Margo and Luke Egan were on 6'3 x 19 x 2 1/2 minimum at the same weight eternally confused me.
Maybe the twins and singles with foam gave people a taste of actually floating.
The funny thing was though that a modern board with the right volume WILL go better than a retro. The fashion concious may feel better with a retro design and more foam than a thicker wider modern board and thinking thick boards are for kooks.
Many shapers are now introducing boards more influenced by late 80's volumes etc. See the Dumpster divers etc etc. Kellys boards are more tricky than they look, longer boards with the nose chopped off and widened a little to keep volume. It moves the widepoint forward and also rocker apex. He is riding actual longer boards without the nose, not shorter fishy boards. Any shaper that has actually looked at them up close will tell you that.
Nice post, cheers.
didnt Slater score a 10 on a 5'8" yesterday?
i reckon its so good that you can rock up with anything these days and not get shit.
and people want a go of what your riding aswell.
i agree with most of what seethesea says.
i recon the point raised about not so good surfers on thicker boards helping them is spot on.
though also i believe different shapes and the different approach to wave riding they demand helps everyone.
even if its to help them on thrusters.
including the top guys.
you learn in an instant of changing a board how a wave can be surfed differently.
and if you give this new found approach to a wave a chance you will know why the ordinary joe on his different board is having fun without trying to and failing to surf like the pros.... endless examples...
sure the smallest amout of foam for your weight surfs better if you surf every day.
but even still its fun to mix it up more drasticly then the last 3 inches of the tail.
and a larger normal thruster will perform better for an average weekend surfing joe. but theres no question to the truth that almost any crazy design if given a chance to understand will Â´workÂ´ also.
stagnating helps nothing.
i agree with rasta type boards in the surf. hes the only person i seen ride smll craft and i tried one and they rule. i go smaller and smller not fat and wide when ever the waves are small but whenever its bigger i usually go the 611 or 63. maybe someone will put foot straps on a body board and get towed in to chopoo or jaws for a picture op. who knows rasta cool enough.
you can find a skim boarder towing into 4-6Â´ teahupoo on youtube...ahh or a crazy frenchie with a tiny alaia with a strap. he s.u.p.Â´s into 6Â´ frenchies bailing the sup and getting kegged and ripping on the alaia!!!!
the point is small surf and every day shit gets boring. you like the same same good for you.
hell, after a week of straddie slabs or 100+meter pits on the points, pretty good waves can be boring too.
doing somthing different makes it more interesting/challenging/enjoyable. mal, wierd fish, alaia or even a lid.or anything different.
or you can continue riding boards as similar as possible to each other to suit the wave height and your skill level and weight etc. and when its too small either not surf at all or struggle to do a turn.
i dunno why you think rasta deserves credit for the types of boards he rides. as far as i know hes never shaped or designed a board.
if you wanna continue to buy what the pros ride thats cool. i dont. make your own minds up. remember when you have the whole kit of sponoed stuff you wont surf like slates. youll have his gear on the beach for every one with a clue to laugh at the guy who thinks hes cool cause hes riding a lable.
ill be the guy having fun in the water while your struggling to do a turn that fail to slightly resemble sl8ers 1s.
man, i thought mals were worthless Â´til i gave em a go. same for boogs. if you actually learn the deal with a totaly new shape and approach to a wave you will understand that standard surfing isnt always the most fun you can have on the wave.
now that im open to all types of craft i spend more time in the water then anyone i know!!! isnt that the whole point to surfing? enjoying the waves?
a possible convo from any day of the year.
nope; `yew, lets surfÂ´
jazzy; Â´nah its too big/small/choppy/slabby/fat for this board. i wont have any funÂ´
even body surfing can be fun
one good turn deserves another
im sick of the conventional shortboard i love experemental design because if you try new things you never know what you can find. anyway if you like fun experamental baords check out the following, CI dumpster diver (greatest thing you will ever ride !!), lost rocket, webber mini fish, CI biscuit, CI gravy, chilli red peppa and purple peppa, js black box, firewire sweet patatoe
Its great to see "more functional" surfboards being used, appropriate to the level of surfer surfing them.
When a lot of people talk about new designs etc they talk about the same 5 or 6 shapers models. A GOOD LOCAL shaper can make you whatever you want! Get creative, if you see a design you like, get one made along similar lines with your own input, or think about what you'd like a board to do, tell your shaper, and give him a bit of artistic license. You might be pleasantly surprised. And own a very original stick!
these things are so much FUN.....
5'2" x 21" x 2 11/16" 5'1" x 20 3/4" x 2 9/16" 5'3" x 21"x 2 3/4"
It may not be the most experimental design out there but I've been riding a Torkpedo from RM Shapes (similar concept to the Dumpster Diver) over Christmas and it has kept me smiling through the average Summer conditions so far.
Having torn the meniscus in my knee I thought I'd try my hand at making a surfboard. Given it is my second ever board I was not expecting to create a high performance machine, so thought I'd do something very different. Sub 4ft different...
Excuse the sawdust from the stringer, for a 2nd effort figuring out as I went how to shape a board, I don't think it's too bad. If anyone is interested in this I will share my experiences riding it.
Do you stand-up on it?
It looks like a paipo.