Rasta on the torus channel
Over the last decade Dave Rastovich and Gary McNeill have forged a tight surfer/shaper relationship. For many years Gary was shaping under the Formula Energy label but he's since branched off and created his own label, Gary McNeill Concepts.
With Rasta as test pilot, Gary specialises in high performance craft with a Delphic bent, he uses lesser known materials, employs different techniques, and seeks inspiration from obscure places.
Their latest creation is the torus channel. Here Rasta expands on its origin and how a board with one central channel feels.
Around 2010 Gary came to me with his eyes lit up and a wild smile saying he had a dream idea for a new bottom contour on the high performance shapes he was already making. The contour revolved around the torus shape that he had recently seen in the new age film 'Thrive' that was circulating at the time. In his dream he saw the torus shape being applied to a board in the form of a channel down the centre of the bottom surface.
The torus is a shape found in nearly every aspect of seen and unseen phenomena. It's seen as one model of the entire universe, in which the centre of the torus may be found black holes and white holes. We also see it used in electrical transformers that we humans build, in which using coiled wire in the torus shape produces the cleanest and most reliable power. In metaphysics we see the torus shape around the human body in the form of subtle energy patterns, for instance, energy moving simultaneously up and down the centre of our bodies goes out and in through the tops of our heads and the bottom of our feet. It's widely experienced and treasured in chinese medicine.
The torus is a profound shape, and Gary applied it to a board by placing the wider points of the central channel at the nose and tail of the board which makes it easy to visualise water being welcomed into the channel then squeezed through the narrower centre point before being shot out the wider end part of the channel at the tail kind of like a venturi effect. If you were to continue drawing the lines of the channel off into the spaces beyond the board they would eventually loop back into themselves to make the toroidal shape.
This is all pretty wordy and kinda trippy for some, but I reckon it is a fun thing to check out and to realise that the design has some deeper roots, and it also mirrors a very common and profound shape found in the universe.
But how does it feel?
Basically, by having the edge of the central channel under the front foot there is a whole other level of engagement that the front foot starts to experience. So instead of only having the edges in your tail and your fins to push off to gain traction to the wave and leverage to gain speed, you also now have that under the front foot as well. Specifically, when you use your front foot more - like in tube riding or in deep turns where your whole rail is buried - the channel engages in a way that can make the board hold in at super high speeds.
I have ridden four different 5'9 twin fins with the torus channel, from 8 foot point surf in Morocco, 8 foot G'Land, 8 foot point surf at home, and draining tunnels in Indo - the boards that have the torus channel hold in where the same shapes would blow out at high speed.
By having that edge go right up to the shoulders in the board it also means we need less fins to keep the board holding in. Less fin = less drag and less drag = more speed...
...and more speed= more fun! // DAVE RASTOVICH