Kelly Slater and Greg Webber: Back to the 90s rocker ships
Twenty years ago Greg Webber was one of the world's best shapers. His revolutionary work with concave and rocker found tremendous expression under the feet of his top rider, Dee Why's Shane Herring. Over in the US, Al Merrick was exploring similar, though less extreme, concepts using Kelly Slater as his pilot. During the early 90s the two young surfers duelled, propelling the New School of surfing forward.
The rear view mirror of history shows that events didn't play out as exactly as planned, and the thin, heavily rockered design didn't endure. In more recent years Kelly Slater and Greg Webber have again been in opposing design camps, each pushing their vision for wave pools. Considering the history their relationship would seem to be one of permanent adversaries, except that Kelly Slater recently made an unexpected call to Greg Webber...
Swellnet: Was it a surprise to get a call from Kelly Slater?
Greg Webber: Yep!
He was ordering boards. How many boards did he ask for?
Greg Webber: Two boards, a 5'11" and a 6'1".
Was there anything else unusual in terms of their features or dimensions?
He saw the video of Shane Herring on a banana board and emailed me about the turns that Shane was doing. In fact he said it was the best carve surfing he's seen in the last 22 years. The video was shot by my brother Monty in 1992.
And do you know how the boards performed for him?
He wrote to me yesterday and said he's doing turns that he hasn't done before. So that's promising, as long as they are not rail bogs! He said some pretty good stuff but it's up to him to mention it publicly.
Do you think he may ride them in competition? Obviously not the next comp, being Pipeline, but thereafter.
Actually he said he wants to get a 6'8" for Pipe.
So you may shape some more for him?
Yeah he's wanting to get more and develop the design further. It's great that he has the guts to really dive in deep with design, very few competitive surfers ever do that. We're also working on some flexing fins that I've sent him that go well with all the curve.
In recent years you’ve been in opposing wave pool camps. Does this devlopment mean the hatchet is buried?
Who knows mate.
Watch this space for more news. Meanwhile, here's a trailer to the video of Shane shot by Monty Webber. Note: original article ran the full video but has been removed at the request of Tracks.