Tom Hoye: Why stop at four?

Stu Nettle
Design Outline

A few weeks back I was chatting to a well known US shaper of big wave boards who was troubling over how many fins to use in his craft. "It's fast with four," he said, "but a rear Thruster fin gives you hold in the chop." He had no definitive answer.

It's a shame he hadn't heard of Tom Hoye, because Tom, also an American though he's been living in Margaret River for nearly fifty years, has a simple solution - stick a fifth fin in the board!

Tom did just that back in the early 80s and called it Da Claw. He perfected the design a few years later and has been quietly crafting them out of his Margaret River factory ever since.

Recently, Swellnet bailed up Tom for a quick history lesson - Tom brought the the first twin fin to Australia - and to get him to explain his underground five fin design.

In the beginning...
I started surfing in 1960, and not long afterwards I thought to myself, "Man, surfboards are expensive, I'm going to have to find a way to get them cheaper". So I started working for O'Neill, and from '62 to '68 I was glassing, sanding, and finishing for O'Neill.

In '66 I started shaping, and the next year I built a little shaping room in the back of my house in Santa Cruz and started my own label -  Hoye Surfboards - although I still was  glassing for O'Neill.

Today's misfortune is tomorrow's blessing
In 1966 I was the number one rated surfer of district two California - that's Santa Barbara up to the Oregon border - and I won a free trip to Hawaii for the Duke Kahanamoko Invitational. I was 20-years old, super stoked! A month before the contest I went to the organisers, and said, "Hey, when do I get my ticket? Do I get to warmup?" And they replied, "Oh, we've already sent someone". They told me, "This is bigger than you, Tom. This is about representing California, and he has Hawaiian experience." They got 12' surf that year and he didn’t even surf in the contest! I couldn’t believe it, turned me off contests.

After they didn't give me my prize, I looked around at what was happening with surfing. I'd just started my shop, started shaping my own boards, and around the same time the first shaping machine came into play - a rocker template with a router. This guy called Jim moved up from down south and gave away 100 boards in town, and then started doing huge numbers of boards a week. He was going to take over the world with surfboards, you know?

Tom Hoye in 1965 "slamming a deep bottom turn and setting his rail for the long-walled section of a Steamer Lane slot wave". Photo and text from 'Images of America: Surfing in Santa Cruz' by Thomas Hickenbottom

Then when all that was happening they built a campus for the University of California in Santa Cruz, and the town went from 20,000, 40,000 in two years. I just went, "Holy fuck, I got to get out of here".

I realised I had to go somewhere with waves of consequence where I can make a couple surfboards a week. I saw a picture of Wayne Lynch pushing a bottom turn at Main Break, and I went "Where is this? That's the kind of wave I'm looking for". Checked where M.R. was on the map and I was on a boat to Australia within three months. I got here to Margaret River in 1971.

Travel quiver
Corky Carroll had just introduced the twin fin in California around the time I was leaving. I came over here with three boards: a 6'8" single fin with a little keel trailing behind the main fin, plus a straight six foot single fin, and I also had a 5'4" twin fin that I brought over. It was the first twin fin in Australia, by pure chance.

A session with the Sultan
I landed in Sydney and got a job working for Barry Bennett at Brookvale. The first day I rode my twin fin was at Dee Why point. It was about six feet and there was only one guy in the water. It was Terry Fitzgerald, but I didn't know that at the time.

We surfed together, and later when we were standing on the grass there he asked, "What's that?" I said, "That’s a twin fin". And he was like, "Wow, I got to check this out". But I wasn't really keen on them, not much drive. I also showed him my 6'8" single fin with single entry concave to dual concaves with tucked under edges, tight down rails, and chines, but he didn't really identify with that. His head wasn't there at that point. He was on these short discy things.

Then about three weeks later, I was surfing Butterbox and Terry came paddling up, flipped his board over and said, "Check this, man! I love these things." It was a twin fin.

Tom, at left, with an early twin fin, taken from a Barry Bennett ad that appeared in the first issue of Tracks. At centre, Tracks Volume 1, Issue 3, December 1970, and at right Terry Fitzgerald and Mark Warren with twins on the cover of Surfing World in 1971

Fitting fins to an offbeat address
From the start I've always been looking for loose action. In the mid-60s, I tried to make a shape work without fins. Deep concave vee was best, though they work better with fins. The fin I put on those shapes was just four inches high, and it was a square fin, right on the tail. It worked better than you'd expect!

Late-60s I got onto shorter single fins, with the fin six inches deep, plus a little keel set behind it to give traction. I guess they'd call it a nubster today. It was placed right on the end, only an inch high so you don’t even feel it till you set the rail then it adds heaps of traction.

The single fin I brought to Australia had a nubster behind my back fin - a six inch keel about an inch high right on the tail. After I showed Terry the twin fin, I ended up shaping about 300 twin fins for Bennett, but on my own boards I put a little keel right on the tail of the twin fin. A third fin. I showed numerous people who came into Barry Bennett's to order a twin fin. I'd say "Look what I did to mine. I put a little keel on the middle and they work much better". But nobody, nobody took me up on it.

I always recommend putting the little keels on twins. Even Mark Richards, he started putting the little fin behind them. Didn’t start till after the Thruster - I guess that was Mark’s answer to it.

Three fins before the Thruster
In the early-70s, here in Margaret River I was riding single fins with the little keels, and Reno [Abellira] came through the shop. It was just after Reno had been making his little tri fins with Brewer. For a while it seemed everybody was making tris, either single fins with two small 'helper' fins, or a twin fin with a smaller rear fin - similar to what I did at Bennett's. 

1981
When Simon Anderson brought the Thruster out I was riding was a single fin with three little keels - about three-quarters of an inch high - set around it in a thruster configuration. So the boards had one keel behind the fin, and a little keel up on either side. They were dynamic. I loved that fin setup. I probably started riding that setup a year or so earlier.

First impression of Simon's thruster.
Why didn't I do that?

Discovering Da Claw
The Thruster came out, and then the quad fin came out real quickly afterwards. I was making quads for guys, and I thought, "Shit, I should make one for myself just to make sure I've got the fins right".

I had it in the glassing room, and was placing the quads and thought, "I don’t want a glorified twin fin. I'm gonna put a fin in the back!" The first five fin had a big fin in front, slightly smaller mid-fin, with a small fin on the tail. I took it down to Lefthanders, and I had a surf and I got out of the water going, "Hmmmm, there's something in this three fin drive". While walking back to the car I decided to try it with a small fin in front and the big fin in the back.

So that night I ground the fins off and set it up like that. The next morning I went down, surfed Lefthanders again, which was four to six foot, and when I walked up the beach that time was when I coined the claw. I was walking up the beach and I went "DA CLAW!" [laughing] Outrageous! It hung in the wall better than anything. It turned anywhere on the face, loose, non-skid traction, shorter fins further up the rail let the tail move, so looser forward trim. Best thing I’ve had in a barrel.

Echoing Brock Little at Waimea, Camel drops into solid Margaret River on an 8'7" Tom Hoye Claw (Sequence by Alistair Spong, continued below)

Sharpening Da Claws
I recognised it as being a good design, but it took me a lot of years to figure out the angles, you know? How far off the rails the fins should be set, or how far apart, or close together, can they be and still work. It was a lot of fucking around!

At one point I had a stack of paper fin templates  that was probably a half inch high, and I'm talking paper templates. Every time I'd make a board I'd take all these notes and I just confused the fuck out of myself for about three years. I finally came up with what I use today as my standard Claw setup, large and small version.

Size and spread
On average, the fins on a Claw are spread two to three inches wider than the normal Thruster triangle. Because you got an extra fin you can use smaller fins. So my average Claw fin is a half an inch shorter than most Thruster fins. They don't look like they are, but when you put them up next to a Thruster setup, they're quite a bit smaller.

If you squeeze a Thruster triangle together, that gives you more 'punch pivot', it's all happening in one spot, and if you spread them apart you get more carve, you get more rail under control. So with the Claw you get the best of all worlds. You can regulate the carve, and the 'punch pivot' action by setting the mid fin to work more with the lead fin or the trail fin.

Above and below: After six feet of air, Camel gets the claws back into the wave face and resets his line

Drag and drive
I get asked about it: "You got a lot of fins on that board, Mister, must be lots of drag". But my opinion is that a Claw is faster than a Thruster. Yeah, there's more drag points, but it's got less drag per point. 

On any fin, the heaviest drag point is the tip of the fins. So any attempt to shrink them down is increasing the speed. Also, it has more drive, no question.

On Midget Farrelly once riding a five fin at Bells
He did? I could believe that. Barracuda up at Kalbarri, he made a seven fin! I was stoked to see Kelly Slater using five fins at Margaret’s in 2012. My late friend Mike Greutoe had five fins on a shape in 1967. Larry Bertleman put fourteen fins on a shape in a way that would let him knock them off easily. There was an article on it in Surfer Magazine in the early 70s. Larry said it didn’t start working till seven.

The reason I claim the Claw the way I do is because it comes totally out of my own surfing, and I’ve been using five fins on every surfboard I’ve had for the last 37 years.

Midget Farrelly with five fin board (and star trunks!) at the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach 1982

Popularity
I've never tried to sell them to other surfers because they're harder to build and it's hard for surfers to get their head around it. In 1984 I got my Claw cartoon drawn, mainly because I wanted people to think about it in their own mind. I've had a few friends get my old ones, and then a few people started riding them in the 80’s and 90’s. In the early 2000s they were probably 20% of my output. Today, Da Claw is around 70 to 80%.

A design best suited to guns?
No, no, no...most of my shapes are guns because that's the way people see me, and my shop is in Margaret River. I've made Claws that are 5'4" long, ridden by 15 year old kids, and I've made Claws that are 12 foot long for Cow Bommie. You can put them on anything. A few times I’ve even converted someone’s Thruster to a Claw by grinding of the side fins and adding the Claw fins to a shape they’ve been surfing. Every time, the feedback was good.

A Claw for any occasion! At far left is an 8'4 Tom shaped for himself in 1989 that still gets used by his friends

Production
Production? Let's not get into my production....

I've never been famous for doing them quickly. Since I broke my leg in '05 I treated my surfboard crafting more as a hobby and I've been working to a 20 to 40 order backlog. The last few years I like to think I’m doing one a week on average, but it’s probably more like two a month. I get guilty feelings because guys wait so long, but they tell me it’s worth it.

Last words
I'm slightly crazy and idealistic the way I think about surfboards. I hand shape. I foil all my own fins. I'll make a better surfboard than you've ever had your feet on! I'll just say that to you.....[laughs] Actually, I shouldn't say that to you! That's too fucking egotistical, that is.

Though just the other day I had a guy say to me, "This is the best surfboard I’ve ever had". It had deep channels, six foot double-wing swallow with Da Claw.

Comments

surfstarved's picture
surfstarved's picture
surfstarved commented Tuesday, 7 May 2019 at 10:34am

They kinda look like a thruster mated with a bonzer 5, but the fancy bottom contours didn't come through in the next generation. I love toying with fin sizes, shapes & configurations - the possibilities are virtually endless.

Don't let the bastards grind you down

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Tuesday, 7 May 2019 at 10:53am

Rusty did something similar in the mid-90s with the C5, but the difference is they took a Twinzer configuration and whacked a rear fin in to compensate for its shortcomings.

goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot commented Tuesday, 7 May 2019 at 10:56am

What a takeoff :-0

neville-beats-buddha's picture
neville-beats-buddha's picture
neville-beats-buddha commented Tuesday, 7 May 2019 at 11:02am

That yellow and red board in the centre of the bottom photo is a weapon.

Ape Anonymous's picture
Ape Anonymous's picture
Ape Anonymous commented Wednesday, 12 Jun 2019 at 1:15pm

Left to right, the boards in that photo are 9'8", 12', 10'6" and 7'10". There's a photo sequence of the 12 footer doing exactly the same thing as Camel is doing about but on a bigger wave.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Tuesday, 7 May 2019 at 2:09pm

Know how one could get a hold of that photo sequence, AA?

Ape Anonymous's picture
Ape Anonymous's picture
Ape Anonymous commented Tuesday, 7 May 2019 at 5:01pm

Best to ask Tom. The paper copies I've seen are not as high res as the Camel ones above - which I'd never seen until this article - thanks Stu

indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming commented Tuesday, 7 May 2019 at 12:41pm

Good read.

Greg Grffin in Hawai also does a lot of 5 fins boards (not bonzers)

http://www.griffinsurfboards.com/shop/surfboards/modfish/

mezkal's picture
mezkal's picture
mezkal commented Tuesday, 7 May 2019 at 12:46pm

Great article. Tom is very humble and honest considering his innovation and talent, a true gentleman. And I can certainly vouch for his boards being worth the wait, it's almost impossible to get boards of that calibre in this day and age, a master of his craft. But that takeoff by Camel !! Holy shot, hanging in by his Camel toes ! Perfect surfing on the perfect board. Awesome.

Ape Anonymous's picture
Ape Anonymous's picture
Ape Anonymous commented Tuesday, 7 May 2019 at 1:49pm

Fully agree with your summary of Tom, Mezkal, and it's not only the fins that make the best boards under your feet, it's the complementary bottom and rail design, the way that they are all made in sequence and the time, the time that goes into each board is second to none. Nobody else puts that much effort and thought into boards with such a high level of expertise and success. Have a look again at Camel, he's not just 'hanging in there', he's there with confidence, style and DRIVE - fully supported by the craft. I've been upside-down at Snapper on my 6'6" Claw with the ease of 'tea and scones with grandma' - paddled back out and people said "that was insane ... I'd like to see you do that again", any day of the week mate ;-)

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Tuesday, 7 May 2019 at 2:08pm

I'll vouch for Tom's concept of integrated bottom design. Not for having ridden one - I haven't - but for his theoretical approach and obvious diligence. We spoke for over an hour and ranged over all facets of design but the conversation had to be distilled down to 'online reading length', and in so doing I chose to hone in on his Da Claw design. I hope I haven't done him a disservice by leaving out how it relates to his rocker and bottom contours.

Though if you're curious you can always ring him up for clarification or to order your own board. It's easy enough to find his number and email online.

Ape Anonymous's picture
Ape Anonymous's picture
Ape Anonymous commented Tuesday, 7 May 2019 at 2:12pm

Stu, I'm living in the Northern Beaches area, do you want to have a ride of one of my Claws?

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Tuesday, 7 May 2019 at 2:15pm

Yeah, I'll shoot you an email.

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Tuesday, 7 May 2019 at 2:16pm

Classy move , Ape Anonymous.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Tuesday, 7 May 2019 at 2:20pm

Run them as a sequence?

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Tuesday, 7 May 2019 at 2:21pm

The shots of Camel you mean?

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Tuesday, 7 May 2019 at 2:43pm

No, the entire Tom Hoye material.

Sounds like a very interesting bloke with a lot to say about surfboards.

Shanga's picture
Shanga's picture
Shanga commented Tuesday, 7 May 2019 at 3:30pm

Good story Stu- please run a sequence on his 5 stage integrated bottoms- his philosophy all makes sense and then you get your feet on a board......sweet.

Ape Anonymous's picture
Ape Anonymous's picture
Ape Anonymous commented Wednesday, 8 May 2019 at 9:45am

Oh.. I don't know... should we really let the cat out of the bag?

Shanga's picture
Shanga's picture
Shanga commented Wednesday, 8 May 2019 at 10:15am

True- he would be working to a bigger back order.....I'll have to wait 3 years for my next board- 2 is enough, but provides an opportunity to hear a few good yarns from him.

Ape Anonymous's picture
Ape Anonymous's picture
Ape Anonymous commented Wednesday, 8 May 2019 at 4:19pm

I like how Tom says "broke my leg" hahaha! What he means is: snapped it in half climbed up a rock face on a stump and the doctors bolted and sewed it back together. He still surfs!

I like the stories about North Point. Just Tom and Ian Cairns surfing it alone for decades. Ian goes onto start and run the ASP/WSL while Tom continues to quietly build the foundation of true surf culture, never selling out - a HERO, a real hero.

We love you, keep charging Tom!!!

Shanga's picture
Shanga's picture
Shanga commented Wednesday, 8 May 2019 at 5:07pm

Yep a lot of love for the man! When I first met him I explained that the first board I rode was my uncles PE down at Augusta. My uncle got the board in 1978 and hadn't seen Tom since- when I told him who my uncle was he went into deep thought and goes......"yeh the guy with the moustache and blonde hair- red and yellow board in symmetry.....id have his order in here in my office". Then he proceeded to flick through books of orders and I could see the places where these were being sent- Africa, Hawaii, US, UK, I mean hundreds upon hundreds of entries. I got my board with a similar colour scheme nostalgically because of the first board I rode. Then Tom spends the next hour talking about his philosophy and development of board design over the years and a light bulb goes off in your head- as if you have just discovered the meaning of life! I did hear of your story over at Snapper the barrel roll and flying past a couple of pros as you were sitting the deepest in the line up.

sparrowfahrenheit's picture
sparrowfahrenheit's picture
sparrowfahrenheit commented Thursday, 9 May 2019 at 9:21pm

Re: "...and a light bulb goes off in your head- as if you have just discovered the meaning of life!"

Sounds about right. Tom is the best. His boards are up there too. Are his guns the best ever made? Ever? Each one is unique, but you can spot them in the lineup by the way they move -more efficient glide. They literally "surf" better.

What Tom has over any other manufacturer is soul. The boards are works of art -each one hand shaped with love to fine detail and perfection. It helps that he's very clever to start with, incredibly innovative, has studied boat and hydrodynamic design and has been doing it for longer than most of us have been alive.

Yeah, O.K. I love the guy. The physics of his work is totally inspiring. He's the only reason I shape boards (not commercial). Got hooked on his machines and couldn't get them fast enough -only solution was to start shaping. Still have orders with Tom, but just as happy to sweep the dust in his shop -talk to him. Genuinely a kind and generous person.

Have talked to shapers around the world. When I met Tom, it was like -this guy is the guy -this is the real deal -these machines work when they are needed most -in critical situations -Tom knows his stuff for real...

I'm sure a lot of you out there have been influenced by Tom?

He is a living legend.

wallpaper's picture
wallpaper's picture
wallpaper commented Sunday, 12 May 2019 at 11:20pm

'never selling out' - wonderfully paradoxical from you seeing that if Ian had not gone on to make surfing something that people other than shapers and glassers could make a living out of, this website would never have existed and you would have had nowhere to air your fatuous 'true surf culture' drivel.

Ape Anonymous's picture
Ape Anonymous's picture
Ape Anonymous commented Monday, 13 May 2019 at 6:10pm

Yes, you are right, thank you for your input wallpaper. Contrast defines perception and it is certainly a fine balance in these on-line chat rooms. Tom and Ian are friends, both pillars of surfing. All the best, Ape

crg's picture
crg's picture
crg commented Tuesday, 7 May 2019 at 1:53pm

Another great article Stu...loving these design outline series.

I'm not cheap,
But I'm free.

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Tuesday, 7 May 2019 at 2:13pm

Life is too short - Too many boards .

Inspirational backstory. You don’t like what’s going down .....relocate.

Eugene Green's picture
Eugene Green's picture
Eugene Green commented Tuesday, 7 May 2019 at 3:19pm

Jeez there’s some world class craftsmen in Margs doing high quality work in a low key manner. Some without social media or even a website. Much respect.

simba's picture
simba's picture
simba commented Tuesday, 7 May 2019 at 3:19pm

Didn't Glen Winton,mr x ,run five fins ?

simba

factotum's picture
factotum's picture
factotum commented Tuesday, 7 May 2019 at 4:51pm

Close, Simba...

memlasurf's picture
memlasurf's picture
memlasurf commented Wednesday, 8 May 2019 at 3:30pm

I wonder how that goes. So seven is another at the back. That is a lot of fins.

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Wednesday, 8 May 2019 at 5:10pm

Its a Facto owned i think..?

inoshishi sex

factotum's picture
factotum's picture
factotum commented Wednesday, 8 May 2019 at 6:12pm

Yep, slicker than snot

memlasurf's picture
memlasurf's picture
memlasurf commented Wednesday, 8 May 2019 at 6:17pm

Ummm my snot is not that slick more coagulated and bubbling and sticks like you know what to a blanket.

factotum's picture
factotum's picture
factotum commented Thursday, 9 May 2019 at 11:33am

Hahahaha.

Whatabout runny mucus?

Or maybe, I meant shit. Specially after the Mongolian Beef at our new Chinese, say.

Hot damn!

I love it.

memlasurf's picture
memlasurf's picture
memlasurf commented Thursday, 9 May 2019 at 11:31am

Yes I can imagine that would be like a train and give you a good clean out.

mezkal's picture
mezkal's picture
mezkal commented Tuesday, 7 May 2019 at 3:58pm

Haha I agree ApeA. Cam is never hangin in there he's got something else I never got. Two legends, one story. Respect to both. " surfing would be overrun with jocks. " if it weren't for individuals like both of these perfect examples of why we surf. WSL humph! This is surfing.

Clam's picture
Clam's picture
Clam commented Tuesday, 7 May 2019 at 4:44pm

The picture of midget with a 5 fin board is interesting !
Is there any more to the story ?

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Tuesday, 7 May 2019 at 5:27pm

I found it buried in the Vintage Surfboard Collectors FB page. Fella called Nigel Jackson had recorded Bells '82 off his tele.

Worth watching, Midget talks about the board a short while.

See if this link works: https://www.facebook.com/groups/VintageSurf/permalink/1476541102476729/

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno commented Tuesday, 7 May 2019 at 6:49pm

Can I test Stu's encyclopaedic knowledge? Didn't Jake Spooner win a comp on a 6 fin board sometime.

Also: shoutout to Barracuda Surfboards of Perth, for the 7 fin board. A story in itself. Saw one in a hock shop in the 90's, should've bought it!

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Tuesday, 7 May 2019 at 6:56pm

Yeah VJ, at the 1997 Konica Skins at Sandon Jake rode a six fin board shaped by Wayne Cleggett. He won the Skins that year giving credibility to the design.

Have to look it up or speak to Jake, but from memory it was set up similar to Da Claw with a central rear fin, but the sixth fin was a small one that sat ahead of the centre fin and between the leading fins.

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno commented Thursday, 9 May 2019 at 5:12pm

The comp was memorable for what he won on. At that point I realised "hey, you can put almost anything under a board and it will work if you refine it enough" or words to that effect.

pussyrioters's picture
pussyrioters's picture
pussyrioters commented Tuesday, 7 May 2019 at 8:13pm

Da Claw. Must be good if Camel rides them

derra83's picture
derra83's picture
derra83 commented Tuesday, 7 May 2019 at 8:53pm

That was a wonderful read!! Heres to Tom for holding true to his vision for 37 years and here's to Swellnet for shining a spotlight on him. Makes me wanna surf!

thedrip's picture
thedrip's picture
thedrip commented Tuesday, 7 May 2019 at 9:30pm

Here’s another article in Tom where he elaborates on a few other things. It also has that 12’ board dropping into big Margie’s. The red twin fin with the keel is mine and I got 19 years ago.

My most recent boards from Tom were an 8’ and 9’6” gun. Both had his five stage bottom contours and Da Claw. Da Claw goes really really well.

Ape Anonymous, I saw your boards getting shaped and sitting in his factory. They looked sick. Cool paint jobs too.

http://surfingdownsouth.com.au/2016/08/10/origin-of-twin-fin-surfboards-...

Ape Anonymous's picture
Ape Anonymous's picture
Ape Anonymous commented Wednesday, 8 May 2019 at 4:29pm

Da Broccoli is outrageous! Power surfing with ease - Da Claw accelerates through turns.

The 7'10" made at the same time is a magic carpet. 5-7 foot day, the entire crowd at the Alley let me get barrel after barrel after barrel (20+ in 2 hours??) one time from every part of the break. At one point I thought, well I might as well do something other then get barreled standing up, so I pulled into a deep stand-up barrel laying down and coffin rode (hands under my head, proper) the whole way through it. Surprisingly that wasn't the most popular wave of the day...

thedrip's picture
thedrip's picture
thedrip commented Wednesday, 8 May 2019 at 6:03pm

Lol. They were there so long I dropped hints that perhaps Da Broccoli should come my way...it looked like a burster to my eye.

Spuddups's picture
Spuddups's picture
Spuddups commented Wednesday, 8 May 2019 at 4:53am

Good article. Keep em' coming.

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Wednesday, 8 May 2019 at 8:22am

Is that a Rpela fitted to the pinkish board
And fins are always Hoye made glassins ?

inoshishi sex

Ape Anonymous's picture
Ape Anonymous's picture
Ape Anonymous commented Wednesday, 8 May 2019 at 4:30pm

he'll put a fin system in if you want???

Houses@Holes's picture
Houses@Holes's picture
[email protected] commented Wednesday, 8 May 2019 at 3:27pm

I have a 8.4 , 7.4, 6.4 and a 6.2, all yellow with Da Claw. Ridden 6.2 the most and it is the best board I have ever ridden. Absolutely love it. Haven't had a wave since Xmass 2014 when I came off the bike and broke my back. If anyone is interested in getting one of these gems, let me know. To answer "udo" above me, he will make you what you want, however, Tom being so damn experienced and such an amazing shaper, I just let him know a bit about my surfing and my favorite waves and let him shape what he thinks is best. I was not disappointed to say the least. His preference is 5 fins , lots of meat through the middle and glassed in fins. If you intend to travel, probably best get the boxed fins and if you like doing aerials (way beyond me) you might want less thickness then he normally shapes.
There is so much more to his boards then just the fin number. The rocker, the concaves, the amount of work he puts into glassing so he does not drown the blank shape (pretty much shapes the board twice really, pre glass and post glass). Only bummer is the wait, upwards from a year ( he is early seventies with some bad injuries). Tom is a true master of his craft and a top bloke, true gentleman.

thedrip's picture
thedrip's picture
thedrip commented Wednesday, 8 May 2019 at 5:59pm

I’d love to have a look and possibly grab one (or two or three) and I have a couple of mates who would jump at the chance too. Let me know some contact details.

Houses@Holes's picture
Houses@Holes's picture
[email protected] commented Wednesday, 8 May 2019 at 6:29pm

i live in Margs. mobile is 0488937149

memlasurf's picture
memlasurf's picture
memlasurf commented Wednesday, 8 May 2019 at 3:37pm

Pity the old fella is not passing on his wisdom. There is plenty of these old diggers who will not pass on all their knowledge. Nobody seems to want to shape anymore due to the poor pay and rubbish conditions. Real shame as these shapes are born out of a mountain of experimentation by a non pro (which is 99% of us) so probably work better than the latest pro model from a bulk board builder for most of us. I still reckon he should get some 3D scanned so the knowledge is not lost.

Spuddups's picture
Spuddups's picture
Spuddups commented Thursday, 9 May 2019 at 4:43am

Good idea.

sparrowfahrenheit's picture
sparrowfahrenheit's picture
sparrowfahrenheit commented Thursday, 9 May 2019 at 9:30pm

Don't worry mate. A legend never dies. Unfortunately, no 3D scanner will ever capture Tom anymore than a camera can catch Bruce Lee.

marcus's picture
marcus's picture
marcus commented Wednesday, 8 May 2019 at 7:31pm

Ha theres another guy that reakons he invented the claw, a handle for carrying sups. Of course he has made his own news advertorial web page on the best 5 surfing inventions of all time. And in this "news article" is his claw.

I wrote to him saying you cant claim your own silly invention as one of the best of all time. His response was a link to buy one of his claws.

Would make a good story on truth in surf journalism stu.

i remember the internet when it was just for inteligent people but.

The Shaper's picture
The Shaper's picture
The Shaper commented Thursday, 9 May 2019 at 11:43am

@ Stu, nice article mate. All cred to you Stu for giving these guys some daylight. There is so much value off the grid if you take the time.
Thanks.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Thursday, 9 May 2019 at 3:57pm

Appreciate the nice words, mate.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Thursday, 9 May 2019 at 4:24pm

Here's another bit o' history to stitch into the quilt: a five fin Energy shaped by Simon Anderson. It's on a first gen Thruster planshape and after a quick chat with Simon he dates it as 1982.

"Everyone was looking for the next thing," said Simon, "So it went three fins, four fins, five fins."

Rear fin is standard Thruster size with the side fins sanded down. He didn't use a panel vee like so many early Thrusters but a rolled bottom. ("The rolled bottom was terrible")

Surprisngly, Simon said he was getting a little bit of pressure at the time to develop ideas - apparently the Thruster wasn't enough? - so he went fishing and came up with this design independent of seeing anyone else do it.

"It wasn't evolution," explained Simon. "More like devolution."

Curious to see the parallels, how for years people put three fins on a board but couldn't get them to work till Simon came along and cracked the code. And similarly, Simon put five fins on a board (and Midget Farrelly too) but it was Tom Hoye who got the design to work.

(Photos courtesy of Andrew Kidman)

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno commented Thursday, 9 May 2019 at 5:09pm

That is absolutely mental Stu!

sparrowfahrenheit's picture
sparrowfahrenheit's picture
sparrowfahrenheit commented Thursday, 9 May 2019 at 10:26pm

Yeah, wow -amazing shot Stu -great history. Simon Anderson is also a humble genius. If you really measure up his hand shape team boards precisely, you realize he has much, much more going on in the details than a standard copycat cut-out -and much more than a single fin. When his boards work -it isn't a fluke -he's also a master craftsman with a refined and reliable product.

Still, the details of Tom's "Da Claw" are intimidating. Setting up Simon's thruster -like Simon does is far more involved than the generic FCS template would have you believe. There are many reasons Simon's boards are so reliably good. So too is it with "Da Claw" -but worse.

FCS has a whole range of pre-made fins specifically for Simon's system. You're going to have to hand shape your "Da Claw" fins. Also, its one thing to get a fin on, another to get all five fins coordinated with each other to the mm. You are much more than five times more likely to make a mistake with this fin setup than a single fin.

(In Simon's board above, the "transition / second fin" is wrong for "Da Claw" -so the response will be non-linear -a problem. It will track on the dominant two front fins that will reluctantly cede to the back fin with enough force -so the fins will fight and I'd guess it will tend to track in a stiffer line, with non-linear characteristics). Small differences make exponentially larger changes with each unit of increased speed -so these details are very important. -particularly on guns.

As Simon, Tom and Camel have proven -marginal improvements in performance can be found in the increased details and wider spread of more control surfaces. One option -more fins can give you more performance -if placed in the right way on a dedicated system.

A successfully built claw tries to do to a thruster, what the thruster did to a single fin. With each addition of a coordinated control surface, the complexity of build -and chance of making a mistake increases. If you own one of Tom's boards -you are lucky.

fuhrious's picture
fuhrious's picture
fuhrious commented Thursday, 9 May 2019 at 5:23pm

Great read Stu. Again congratulations on sourcing interviews and design material such as this. Gotta say again that I can’t understand why anyone would choose not to buy boards shaped by the magnitude of craftsmen that exist along the Australian coastline.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Friday, 10 May 2019 at 9:23am

Cheers Fuhrer.

I love reaching out and talking to these guys who connect with surfing in a way that can never, ever be packaged by the wozzle or any other Johnny-come-lately.

I recently read two things that kinda sum it all up for me, both penned by giants of our sport:

"We should know better – we used to know better – than to try and reshape surfing into a sport that fits into an Olympic telecast. Selling the sport isn’t a crime. But sell it on our own terms, the way Bruce Brown did with Endless Summer. Make them come to us. And if they don’t, so what? But no, we continue slicing off our legacy of cool, of independence, piece by piece, in exchange for a seat in the nosebleed section of mainstream culture." - Matt Warshaw (foreword to 'Cocaine + Surfing' by Chas Smith)

"Surfboards feel to me now like the last remaining cool things in surfing, or the last things anyone would call cool. They challenge the eye, they can scare you just by the suggestion of the waves they might ride, and if you don’t surf, you have no hope of understanding ‘em." - Nick Carroll ('Is There Such a Thing as a Sustainable Surfboard?', Coastalwatch)

My feelings? Don't take surfboards and the people that make them for granted. Everything else in our sport has been packaged or sold off, but surfboards remain the last bastion of cool. Surfboard factories are the last place you can talk about surfing on its own terms without being harassed by a teenage shop clerk asking your waist size, or beaten around the ears by beach announcers reminding us of the sponsors while watching jocks with media managers and coaches do gymnastics in one foot waves.

The more people that ride the big brand models the more our last piece of independence is threatened.

All hail the shaper.

crg's picture
crg's picture
crg commented Saturday, 11 May 2019 at 9:28pm

Fuck yes!
Hail.

I'm not cheap,
But I'm free.

fuhrious's picture
fuhrious's picture
fuhrious commented Friday, 10 May 2019 at 1:00pm

Ain’t that the truth! Had some beautiful waves on the NSW South Coast earlier this week. Solo sessions just on sunrise riding a custom made board that made this old fella think he was thirty years younger. Hail the shaper indeed!

Island Bay's picture
Island Bay's picture
Island Bay commented Saturday, 11 May 2019 at 6:09pm

Great article, Stu.
And what an interesting man. We really are incredibly lucky to have proper shapers and surfboards.

redmondo's picture
redmondo's picture
redmondo commented Tuesday, 14 May 2019 at 8:22am

Yes I praise and salute the shaper especially Simon and his master crafts.

Clam's picture
Clam's picture
Clam commented Tuesday, 14 May 2019 at 11:34pm

Would be good to see someone use a claw fin at an elite level...
Kai Kenny at jaws on one?
On a tow board I think would be awesome too . Big choppy nazare perhaps?
They are superior when the conditions are choppy, windy, bumpy & powerful surf .
The 5 fin claw set up is amazing but I like surfing with less fins a lot of the time.. I think you need powerful waves for the design to work good and that's why they worked for Tom in wa / Margarets but not for Simon and co on the east coast...

Ape Anonymous's picture
Ape Anonymous's picture
Ape Anonymous commented Wednesday, 15 May 2019 at 8:53am

Clam, da Claw works in all conditions! Living on the east coast, all the boards I ride are Claws - all other systems are inferior now, a novelty. One of my Claws is so loose (and has heaps of drive) you'd think it was a twinny (even using an extra large back fin!!) or a single fin (straight line speeeeed), but then how does it accelerate through turns, how does it hold so high on the wall!!???

Don't you think Camel is at an elite level?? Surfing big waves, alone in extremely sharky areas. What about Kelly Slater - he uses five fins.. Thing with Kai is that he surfing is his brand. There are guys in WA, in fact all across the world, doing extreme surfing at an elite level. Difference being, they are un-sponsored, underrated and not vain - no film - secret spots, shhhh.....

As Sparrowfahrenheit (and yourself) said about Simon, he did an excellent job of making boards for pocket surfing on the East Coast, and because surfing is most commercially popular in under-powered waves - I mean, how can you actually be serious about competition when doing open ocean charging, too dangerous - those designs formed the most popular lines and modes of the surfing masses. But there are sooo many ways to surf a wave.. Hell, if you ever want to do a carving 360, try a Claw, it was the first move I did on the East Coast on one.

Ape Anonymous's picture
Ape Anonymous's picture
Ape Anonymous commented Wednesday, 15 May 2019 at 9:06am

Oh, and I agree totally - Kai Lenny on da Claw at Jaws at his current fitness level with limited injuries, holy sweet baby Jesus. You'd see things done that have never been done. With enough speed, would ride the lip up-side down through the barrel?

Island Bay's picture
Island Bay's picture
Island Bay commented Friday, 16 Aug 2019 at 12:48pm

Was out at my local yesterday. Big, and very thick. You never see young guys here on decent boards, but one was on a longer board, which looked to go really well.

Turned out to be a Tom Hoye Precision Equipment 7'7, swallowtail thruster. Would have loved to get a really good look at it. Board looked great.