Saturday with Skip: 1984 McCoy Tri Zap

Stu Nettle
The Rearview Mirror

photo_3.jpgNot all surf sessions serve the same purpose. Sometimes we surf with the explicit goal of improving performance, sometimes to escape work or domestic drudgery, and sometimes – perhaps the vast majority of times - we surf simply because it's a habit. My motivation to surf this afternoon wasn't driven by any of the above impulses but rather by curiousity. I had a few old boards sitting in the shed that I hadn't ridden yet.

So into the back of the wagon I threw a 6'4” four channel Nirvana thruster ('86 vintage or thereabouts), an '84 McCoy Tri Zap, and a Webber Insight thruster circa '93 (approximately).

With a mid-range south swell and south winds the first stop was Sandon Point, but low tide and a hefty Saturday crowd meant there'd be minimal return on investment. In those conditions each wave becomes too valuable for anything less than proven craft; a bogged rail takes on greater significance if you've been waiting 30 minutes for the wave. Two headlands south a righthander was breaking off the rocks running gentle and open-faced to the inside bank where it squared up and closed out. A crowd of two made the decision easy.

The decision to ride the McCoy was similarly easy; the Webber didn't have enough volume for the sloping faces, the Nirvana too much for the attendant surface chop. The McCoy had sat untouched in the shed for years anyway, it needed to be ridden.

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It was the first vintage board I bought off eBay and resulted from what's since become a familiar pattern; a Saturday night drinking red wine, doing the rounds on the 'net, the odd bid on eBay, and a surprise email on Sunday morning – congratulations you've won!

It often takes a while to recall what exactly I'd bid on, and even worse, what price I'd paid. Fortunately this one was cheap, my winning bid was just $120 for a 1984 McCoy Tri Zap. When I picked it up from North Bondi the seller clearly expected more for the board. At the time I felt bad for winning but I've since come to view eBay as a gamble; a seller who gets paid above market value feels no guilt so why should a buyer who receives something for less?

In any case, I was the one who felt duped when I took a look at the board. Yeah it was a McCoy, but it wasn't shaped by Geoff, instead the message on the stringer was 'Skip for Rod '84'. Skip was Skip Lindfeld, McCoy's California shaper when the label took off during the Echo Beach boom of the early 80s.

echo-beach-book.jpgIn 1980 mainland US was coming out of the surfing wilderness. For ten years they'd been disillusioned by the collapse of the Southern California dream, then the community was aggravated by intense localism. American surfing had turned inward and paranoid, black wetsuits were the new black. Yet at the turn of the 80s the heartbeat was returning, in Newport Beach surfers wore bold print Quiksilver boardies, and surfers such as Danny Kwock and Jeff Parker rode McCoy's with polka dots and check print sprays - the antithesis of California 'soul'.

Although his boards evoked beach party playfulness, Geoff McCoy was a strange bedfellow for the Echo Beach crew. In 1984, the same year this board was built, Geoff McCoy was interviewed in Tracks magazine. “I was driving in my car thinking about surfboards and it hit me what they really are.” Said McCoy delving into the realm of metaphysics. “I couldn't drive any more and had to pull over to the side of the road.”

That kind of personal investment in surfboards, where design becomes a proxy for a spiritual quest, meant that Geoff McCoy's designs were always taken seriously – very seriously.

History lesson over, Skip Lindfeld and not Geoff McCoy shaped the board I bought. I hadn't thought to ask before bidding and I walked away feeling a sucker. Perhaps that's why I didn't ride the board straight away, it went into the shed and slowly worked it's way to the back of the rack.

This afternoon I pulled it from the back of the wagon and applied the first coat of wax it'd had in years. I walked down the headland and slipped out in the current pushing against the rocks.

image_22.jpgAlthough only 5'7” long it has more volume than most modern shortboards, but rather than spread across the width the volume is compressed into the thickness. The dimensions aren't written on it but the board feels 3 inches thick, and it retains that thickness all the way to the nose which ends with a classic bird's beak. The wide point is two thirds of the way to the tail and tapers all the way to the once-revolutionary McCoy no nose. “Put all the width in the tail,” Geoff said. “That's where you turn from.”

The arrangement makes for a top heavy feeling when paddling. Because of the volume the board sits high in the water but has less width to stabilise it. A similar feeling is present when paddling into waves, but it's only partly to do with how high the board sits in the water. Of equal influence are the fins.

In 1983 Geoff McCoy could ignore the prevailing wisdom no more. He'd persisted with Cheyne and his single fins ever since Simon unveiled the Thruster. For two years they'd presented counter arguments in the broadsheets augmented by Cheyne's out-of-the-box surfing displays, but it wasn't enough. The world was going to three fins and he was a businessman. He'd never relent though, if Geoff McCoy was gonna whack three fins on a board then he'd include a bit of his own spin. Hence the Tri Zap with three fins clustered wide around the bulbous tail block, and the side fins sanded down to about ¾ the usual fin base and area.

photo_5.jpgThe reduced fin area is most keenly felt when turning the Tri Zap, 'cause despite having side fins it replicates the Lazor Zap's habit of pivoting without projecting. It's a feeling that's utterly absent in the modern shortboard with their ever-present lift and drive. And while it isn't a feeling I'd seek in a surfboard this session wasn't about that.

I'd always wondered why Cheyne Horan never rode thrusters. Perhaps part of it might have felt like capitulation – no surfer nailed his individual colours to the mast quite like Cheyne did – but perhaps part of it was performance too.

The Tri Zap felt great when it was tight in the pocket, it rode best when pivoted in the steepest part of the wave, when every jam results in another downhill burst of speed. However, it had to be held back when the wave started to flatten out 'cause losing speed through a turn was the board's fatal flaw.

It demands a certain kind of surfing. No doubt part of it was imagination but the posture and movement I'd adopted to handle the board felt like Cheyne: the knees bent slightly more than average, the wiggle off the back foot. At the same time it's not ridiculous at all; just as every person who rides a finless board assumes a crouched position similar to Derek Hynd in Musica Surfica, so must everyone who rides a Zap bear some resemblance with Cheyne. Particular craft demand particular responses.

There's very little similarity between the 1984 Tri Zap and the modern high performance shortboard. Most of the things that Geoff McCoy staked his reputation on – no nose, wide tails, increased thickness - have been refuted, but that's not to discount their value in surfing's historical timeline. We stand on the shoulders of giants and all that.

It's one thing to understand that information, to academically compute it, but it's another to physically feel it. And it's an experience worth much more than $120.

Comments

Blowin's picture
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Blowin commented Sunday, 17 May 2015 at 11:25am

Cool story.

Pivoting without projecting - that's a great description for a few boards I've ridden in the past.

What about the nose on Cheyne's board in the photo ...... Looks like he should be jousting with that frigging thing.

blindboy's picture
blindboy's picture
blindboy commented Sunday, 17 May 2015 at 12:46pm

In many ways it is a pity that McCoy went down the lazer zap road. In the mid-seventies he was producing super functional single fins that were at the leading edge of design. I think a lot of the motivation was the degree of rivalry amongst the Narrabeen crew at that time with Terry Fitz already having a high profile and Simon rapidly emerging as a designer as well as a surfer. McCoy had been there first and felt the pressure to produce something to reclaim that position. Instead he was side tracked into pretty much irrelevance. If that seems harsh in terms of standing on the shoulders etc, I can only claim that it is true. It is interesting that there seems much more willingness now for designers to acknowledge the work of their colleagues and build on it.

Pigdog2's picture
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Pigdog2 commented Tuesday, 19 May 2015 at 9:07am

100% in agreement with this on McCoy's mid-70's single fins .....I surfed one for a few years, until a rusty roof rack failure saw the end of it, and it remains amongst the handful of standout boards I've owned over close to 50 years of surfing....it was a pinkish, 6'4" single flyer rounded pin that performed in anything and everything....I've a lazer zap in the shed...that's where it stays full time.

Gordon's picture
Gordon's picture
Gordon commented Sunday, 17 May 2015 at 12:55pm

Lazer zaps perform well for some surfers. You have to adjust your style though it will take more than one surf to master what is happening below your feet . Also the pivot without drive comment , I have found the exact opposite. Riding other boards teach you to put your weight forward in the steep and dead sections. It is a habit you have to unlearn. Keep your weight back and Roll the board on the dome and the boards take off. Forward = sluggish and slow , As for the design theories being refuted. More than ever people are riding fishes and other boards seeking variety because the boards that the professional surfers have their limitations as well. But if you look the FireWire dominator for instance ,it has the wide point further back and is a definite adaptation of the lazer zap. All designs are valid. Been riding Geoff's boards for 10 years and love them. Regards Gordon .

Gordon

blindboy's picture
blindboy's picture
blindboy commented Sunday, 17 May 2015 at 1:52pm

No doubt Gordon that some love Geoff's designs. My point is that he was a major contributor to mainstream design with numerous professionals on his team but who was side tracked onto a path that very few followed him down. I just wonder what further contributions he might have made working with a later generation of pros had he stayed more mainstream. He was a seriously deep thinker about design who, I think, had more to give.

Gordon's picture
Gordon's picture
Gordon commented Sunday, 17 May 2015 at 3:13pm

There was a great cross pollination of ideas. Mark Richards and Simon worked alongside Geoff and some point in their career. Both attribute to Geoff's influence on them. The winged keel was designed Ben Lexen and the board that won the Bells was a Hot Buttered . In 1981 there was a single fin a thruster a twin and a quad in the top 5. Surfing then became more closed in ideas ( power surfing) and remained that way for a long time.
Until recently. ( which has become a mix of Button's slide and glide and Tom Carroll's brutal power ).
Surfing now, has become more open minded again and shapers are once again experimenting. Which is good. Hence the interest in different designs and fin setups.
What Australian board designers did from the 60's onwards revolutionised surfing and pushed us to future . Of which Geoff played a large role. No one can take that from him. We need our innovators and we should learn from them .
Regards Gordon.

Gordon

zenagain's picture
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zenagain commented Sunday, 17 May 2015 at 4:17pm

Great read and some excellent banter gentlemen.

Watashi wa metabo oyagi desu.

blindboy's picture
blindboy's picture
blindboy commented Sunday, 17 May 2015 at 4:45pm

Experimentation is good Gordon but it involves trying a concept and refining it over a series of boards. Most of us have neither the money, the time nor the expertise to experiment effectively. Buying an experimental model, which seems popular at the moment, is something completely different. It is taking a punt on a half baked idea on the off chance it will suit your surfing. Sadly, as is easily observed these days, it rarely does. Take for example the cut off nose designs that some manufacturers, who really should know better, are including in their range. It's an old idea tried repeatedly with little or no success over several decades. It's only purpose would seem to be to signify difference, which is rather sad.
The main contribution we can make to design as consumers is to carefully select the board that performs best for us. Now if you want to claim that there are some souls out there so different in their approach to a wave that a cut off nose actually enhances their surfing experience......I haven't noticed them locally! Aloha (...and wasn't Cloughy a legend!)

caml's picture
caml's picture
caml commented Sunday, 17 May 2015 at 8:12pm

Crikeys blindy cutoff noses have worked since the first paipos , alaias , olos greenoughs spoons , horans no noses , dan tomo & slater all dont have a spike at one end of their sled . Imo sharp noses are stupid dangerous unnecesary weapons . McCoys zaps actually fit into the hollow tubing part of the wave but most surfers spend most of the time out of the tube or even above the wave . A convex bottom shape doesnt want to be anywhere but fitting in the tube .

blindboy's picture
blindboy's picture
blindboy commented Sunday, 17 May 2015 at 9:21pm

Most of the boards you mention caml more commonly had rounded noses similar to those on a mal which is very different to the square cut off noses on some of the boards around at the moment. If Slater and co can come up with a design based on that idea that out performs more conventional boards more power to them, but the models I see being surfed locally are a serious hindrance to those surfing them. Fun to fool around with in shit waves maybe, if you have a quiver, but definitely not performance boards in any conditions that I have seen.

caml's picture
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caml commented Sunday, 17 May 2015 at 8:19pm

A few errors writing that one sent before checking . Anyway stu i think maybe the fin position could be your problem . Maybe not big enough trail fin ? Also noteworthy is the side fins are further in ( 2 inch ) from the rail . A bit more than the norm but works well with wide tail shapes . I use the same concept to give a smoother turn on what i ride .ie wide tail

uplift's picture
uplift's picture
uplift commented Sunday, 17 May 2015 at 8:54pm

I agree through experience with a lot Gordon said. Those style McCoy's required a strong back foot and the realisation that if you didn't constantly drive the board through your back foot, and if you weighted forward to drive through sections, it would quickly lose momentum. However the opposite was true in my experience, if you genuinely stayed on that volume tail, there was no limit to speed and drive. Then you combine with and could make use of that no momentum and literally sit where you wanted. And because of where you were standing, and the hold all that curve encouraged, they were awesome especially in really hollow, thick, powerful waves with lots of draw. I surfed with plenty of guys, some who were actually famous shapers as well, who thought those boards would be the opposite in those type of waves, and who really struggled, and had to watch those boards do very well. One particular 'legend', whom I won't name, and have vowed to protect to the very, very end, literally got his battered, bruised blacks and bluesed arse handed to him on a plate, after giving the McCoy a somewhat 'frosty' judgement on the cliff. Magnificent times.

An American guy sponsored by McCoy in the US, came and stayed for a couple of months. The US boards were different to Geoff's. The guy could surf, really surf, but he didn't mind the snow either, and that was his demise.

Geoff made me many types of boards, some like the Larry Blair models, that went awesome too, so I can see blindboy's reasoning. To be honest, lots of guys wanted to, and did try my zap and nugget styles. But they were true customs, and they all floundered. However, they all had the stock standard surfee very, very, very skinny legs though and... well they weren't exactly... yeh... aye! Not the rippling, heavily muscled pre enforcer camslessless...less (pay back herro!).

Geoff was all over surfing at one stage, Abellira, Kanaiaupuni, Hackman, Warren, Raymond, Richards, Oliver, Anderson etc. Then of course, its a bit hard to genuinely downplay Blair's PIpe Masters, and Surfabout efforts, and Horan's efforts. I love listening to guys babble about Horan. Should go for a surf with him, in any type of waves. See how you stack up... or don't.

blindboy's picture
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blindboy commented Sunday, 17 May 2015 at 9:29pm

I surfed with Cheyne a few times when he was a grom uppy and he was a mega talent even then, all over anything that moved, with style and power to burn. He was surfing pretty standard McCoy singles at that stage. Stack up? Well I had a decade or so on him and had just got back from a few months on the North Shore so......no, absolutely not, little bastard took my favourite break apart!

southey's picture
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southey commented Sunday, 17 May 2015 at 9:13pm

Welcome back young fella Upty .
Well done only one mention of strong /strength , and actually in context .
Refreshing ! ;-)

" SA's Reserve Capacity "

uplift's picture
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uplift commented Sunday, 17 May 2015 at 9:42pm

Yeh, thats my point blinder, Horan was the real deal. He could have just as easily been multi times world champ on the same boards. He and Geoff, deserve much respect, despite their flaws, in my eyes. I talked a lot with Geoff, and he could be very abrasive. But to me, that was just Geoff. He got badly burned by business sleazebags. His effort and resourcefullness to survive that is impressive too. Guys like MP had plenty of faults, many much worse, and made plenty of bungles, but get accolades in bucketfulls. The fickled finger of fate. Humans, flavours.

uplift's picture
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uplift commented Sunday, 17 May 2015 at 10:10pm

And stu, it could be an optical illusion, but for fuck's sake please sand that downturned, concorde lookalike, hook beak up. That ding repair is a ludicrous shocker. The signs are obvious... it appears that Gaul has somehow got his useless... less hands on the thing. In fact, he is probably behind the fleecing, flimsily disguised as a 'sale'. Duttsy would be dry reeching and gagging in disgust.

stunet's picture
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stunet commented Monday, 18 May 2015 at 1:31pm

Hey Uppy,

Yeah, it's got a ding repair, but what would the orginal nose have looked like in '84? Sharp, blunt, round...?

uplift's picture
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uplift commented Monday, 18 May 2015 at 2:32pm

Good afternoon Stewart, I'm more than happy, and not embarrassed to, as some have proclaimed, 'unselfishly share knowledge, skills... gifts' if you like, with you. It is reasonably sharp, and in the beak style, but, it would have (strangely enough), followed the actual bottom curve, rather than adopt a ridiculous lifeless of its own. That lifeless droop, is actually a specialised technique, perfected by the likes of Gaul, whereby the plastibond, or even rarely used resin, is poorly, some would even venture to say 'slackly' crafted, and allowed to slump alarmingly just before setting. Resulting in the concordingly appearing, drooped beak.

Whilst you have made it clear that you have a penchant for blindly obliterating and butchering McCoy's, ala the pop riveted, plastic, disclaimerised winged keeled, blasphemed McCoy that you last got your sweaty mitts on, this latest, boldly displayed droop fiasco, has added a whole new meaning to the word ludicrous. Not to mention being fleeced into a bidding war on the stars and stripes, the 'clayton's' McCoy.

Whilst on the subject of the 'lifeless droop', it was later physically mimicked and immortalised in form... adopted as a hidden claim, in the era when claims were first banned by, by, by... possibly wordy? Little bobby machado perfected the technique, humbly, almost nonchalantly drooping the head, at will, then Rasty built on it by adding the drooped shoulder/s as well. Pete took it to the extreme though, combining the two, and adding a drooping hair flick (also available in drooping colours, ie sepia tones).

That's enough 'gifts' for one day.

stunet's picture
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stunet commented Monday, 18 May 2015 at 2:49pm

Thanks for your gifts Uppy, I'll treat them as the offerings from God that they are. Though I'm wondering if you've got me mixed up with someone else; I've never ridden a winged keel, on a McCoy or otherwise, and I know full well Geoff's aversion to 'em.

Also, my name isn't spelt 'Stewart' but 'Stooart'. Keep 'loodicrus droop' in mind - it can't be hard! - and you'll never go wrong again.

uplift's picture
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uplift commented Monday, 18 May 2015 at 3:09pm

Perhaps a memory droop.

From here:

http://www.swellnet.com/news/rearview-mirror/2014/09/10/board-bazaar-aug...

We were presented with this:

'Considering the convo above RE Cheyne Horan star fins, I just bought one on eBay to muck about with:'

Ironically icongraphic, so to speak. Who could forget that proudly proclaimed moment. And I suppose you expect us to believe that you haven't driven around Sydney, proudly displaying the thing before strutting down to the ocean with the thing. If that's the case, God only knows what you do with the thing.

Anyway, best to make amends and start sanding.

stunet's picture
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stunet commented Monday, 18 May 2015 at 3:19pm

...amasingly enough I've never ridden it. Not on a surfboard anyway.

uplift's picture
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uplift commented Monday, 18 May 2015 at 3:29pm

Anyway, as I've made clear before, I never once asked to be labelled 'The Truth', and I never once asked to be gifted with incredible abilities. Now it seems I'm being forced by others to also accept the label, the moniker of ... 'The Gift'.

Fuck it then, so be it, why fight it. Anyway its a got a ring to it, I like it. 'Lift... the Gift'.

stray-gator_2's picture
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stray-gator_2 commented Monday, 18 May 2015 at 3:48pm

Oh. My. Lawd!! What, the retirement home went insolvent? Kicked you out for taking everyone else's meds? Depend refused your re-order requests? She recovered her sight and issued divorce proceedings, which have finally concluded??? What?? What!!?? Why are you still with us????

I aim to give you something that you can keep for life. A bit like herpes. My techniques are not available in any book or course; what would scientists know? I have played with model trains for 40 plus years.

uplift's picture
uplift's picture
uplift commented Sunday, 17 May 2015 at 10:19pm

And don't let camslesslessless...less any where near it. That is, unless you want it to fucking sink.

caml's picture
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caml commented Monday, 18 May 2015 at 12:09am

Yeah that sharp beak was what got me started too . Ludicrisly absurd its all that i really cared about but couldnt quite pinpoint .

uplift's picture
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uplift commented Monday, 18 May 2015 at 12:33am

Thank you for that verification camsless... less. That honestly deserves one less... less,... less.

uplift's picture
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uplift commented Monday, 18 May 2015 at 12:42am

Stewart...

freeride76's picture
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freeride76 commented Monday, 18 May 2015 at 10:04am

Good to have you back Uppy.

Blindy your take on Geoff McCoys design contribution is ludicrously myopic. Geoff didn't get sucked into a sinkhole post Horan and the lazor zaps. Arguably, his greatest contribution to design came in the early/mid nineties as the Slater era potato chips cruelled a generation of recreational surfers with anorexic surfboards. Geoff was making beautifully balanced adequately volumed shortboards that were a joy to ride and a get out of jail card for surfers who's surfing had been stunted by potato chips. Those boards morphed into the nuggets which is a whole 'nother story but there's no doubt the mainstream of design followed Geoff and started beefing up the boards again.
Some of the performance advantages available to McCoy riders during the potato chip era were, as Uppy might say, ludicrous.

Herro '96.

stray-gator_2's picture
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stray-gator_2 commented Monday, 18 May 2015 at 3:51pm

"Good to have you back Uppy?"

What, like it's good to have gonorrhoea back after finally being cured of syphilis??

I aim to give you something that you can keep for life. A bit like herpes. My techniques are not available in any book or course; what would scientists know? I have played with model trains for 40 plus years.

blindboy's picture
blindboy's picture
blindboy commented Monday, 18 May 2015 at 5:52pm

Yeh I missed that contribution freeride but if, as you say, he was ahead of the game, what happened? I am not putting Geoff or his work down, just suggesting that he had more to contribute than we got.
As an aside I think the whole banana chip thing is a bit exaggerated in the collective memory. There are way more dysfunctionctional surfboards produced now than there were then as a proportion of the total production. Most surfers moderated the concepts.

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Monday, 18 May 2015 at 6:04pm

How long did the banana chip thing last , 12mths max ?

velocityjohnno's picture
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velocityjohnno commented Sunday, 24 May 2015 at 11:40pm

15 years for some.

uplift's picture
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uplift commented Monday, 18 May 2015 at 10:56am

Power, pivot, insane projection, maximum hold, no loss of speed! Fluid carving! Nicky Wood did some awesome things on McCoys too.

stray-gator_2's picture
stray-gator_2's picture
stray-gator_2 commented Monday, 18 May 2015 at 3:52pm

Fluid..... aggghhh, so much fluid......drooollll

I aim to give you something that you can keep for life. A bit like herpes. My techniques are not available in any book or course; what would scientists know? I have played with model trains for 40 plus years.

memlasurf's picture
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memlasurf commented Monday, 18 May 2015 at 4:22pm

I am with Blindboy on those Lazor Zaps. They just looked (and still do) look truly dumpy, and the guys I saw surf them had a hard time once it got a bit bigger with the odd flat spot (say Bells). Never surfed one as in those days as if you had 2 boards you were a pro, and as BB said experimentation was not as cheap as it is today. I missed the first slater era of the early 90's (child rearing and house building) and came back into it in the later 90's so thankfully missed the skinny mega rocker boards. I do love Geoff's ideas however the standard board I ride these days is so good compared to anything from any era that these things are really a bit like an old car or bike. Bit of fun on the weekend as Stu had and great to yak about. Look forward to the next two instalments.

uplift's picture
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uplift commented Monday, 18 May 2015 at 7:02pm

'Yeh I missed that contribution freeride but if, as you say, he was ahead of the game, what happened? I am not putting Geoff or his work down, just suggesting that he had more to contribute than we got.'

Being ahead of the game doesn't necessarily mean instant success or recognition at all. Henry Ford understood the benefits of using different constuction materials many years ago, that are just now being realised. Galileo was ahead of the game, so much so that he was lambasted, and punished for it by the status quo. There are many cases of forward thinking dumbfounding the masses, and the contributions not being realised until much later. Take the present sugar/low fat debacle and the resulting obesity and diabetes 2 epedemics, which are only the most obvious failures created by that long accepted, and championed bungle. Others ahead of the game, pointed out the failings of that whole scenario many years ago, and advocated seemingly 'radically' different, much more successful alternatives. Yet, only now the reality is breaking through the status quo, through the square box heads, and finally sinking in.

Simon Anderson made it crystal clear that without Geoff's lazorzaps, he never would have developed the thruster.

freeride76's picture
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freeride76 commented Monday, 18 May 2015 at 7:31pm

"As an aside I think the whole banana chip thing is a bit exaggerated in the collective memory. There are way more dysfunctionctional surfboards produced now than there were then as a proportion of the total production."

Strongly disagree.

caml's picture
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caml commented Tuesday, 19 May 2015 at 12:10am

freeride76 wrote: "As an aside I think the whole banana chip thing is a bit exaggerated in the collective memory. There are way more dysfunctionctional surfboards produced now than there were then as a proportion of the total production."

Strongly disagree.

caml's picture
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caml commented Tuesday, 19 May 2015 at 12:16am

Yeah fr76 so true for me too . I still say it that that early 90s ruined my surfing career becos i couldnt find a board that floated or paddled . Being a grom just starting out i resorted to riding old boards from 10-20 yrs before . Nowadays if u want a thicker flatter board theres heaps of choices

velocityjohnno's picture
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velocityjohnno commented Sunday, 24 May 2015 at 11:50pm

Can relate to this. Was on boards 10-20 years older in 90's. Geoff was really solving many surfers' problems in the early 90's with his nugget designs. On the West Coast Len Dibben was making 'fun guns' with similar adequate foam in this era - 7 foot long or so, 20"+ wide, saw older guys ripping big Eddy's and some Perth waves on them - all looking so easy and it still took some time for the penny to drop.

uplift's picture
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uplift commented Monday, 18 May 2015 at 8:52pm

Here's some other viewpoints.

'So, how should history record McCoy’s achievements? MR is in no doubt. “He deserves to be acknowledged as one of the best shapers in the world, along with Al Merrick, Rusty, Dick Brewer,” he says. “It’s true. It’s fact. There’s a lot of people who would call bullshit on that, but them’s the facts. I have the utmost admiration and respect for him and I’m incredibly grateful for everything he did for me in my shaping career. I get disappointed that he is not acknowledged as one of the greatest shapers the world has seen.”

Simon Anderson, a man who’s few, dry public utterances are generally accepted as lore, concurs. “He’s one of the, if not the, greatest designer shapers in Australian surfboard manufacturing - quite possibly the best ever.”'

Anyway, it appears that there is another cork headed geek, lurking inside, and probably behind all of this real McCoy stuff, that has left the other porpoise scones looking about frantically, blindly, unaware of what is really going on.

'Perhaps McCoy’s most contentious design theory is that soft, thick, curved rails provide more hold than hard edges. For decades, shapers have operated on the exact opposite principle - that hard edges create hold. Geoff says it was when he was shaping Cheyne’s boards for Hawaii that he studied Gerry Lopez’s designs and noticed their full, soft rails. At the time, Cheyne was complaining that he was falling off deep in the barrel because of a lack of hold. Lopez turned Geoff on to the idea of soft rails holding in the barrel. He tried it, Cheyne rode them and they worked.'

https://vimeo.com/113554867

canetoad's picture
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canetoad commented Wednesday, 20 May 2015 at 5:11pm

Good article and good comments. I have been riding Geoffs boards for around 15 odd years or so, mainly 6 footer nuggetts, 3 inches thick. In the beginning starting with one of Cheynes boards , without success, but persevered, then onto one of Shane Herrings own boards, from then on its been awesome. From comments made to me, a lot of people dont understand the wide tail concept and think they are made for fat waves, which couldnt be further from the truth. The fat arse gives a more parrallel rail and the boards love sitting in the barrell. I have known Geoff for a few years now and see him as an individual who believes in what he is doing with a passion rarely seen. Is he going to please everyone, i dont think so, but for the rest of us who have met him and ridden his boards and still doing so, and still getting stoked every surf, we say thank you Mr McCoy for all the great boards.

canetoad

freddieffer's picture
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freddieffer commented Wednesday, 20 May 2015 at 8:55pm

Had the opposite experience with the McCoys I rode in the 80's canetoad. I'm happy to admit it was me, but I felt they were thick, stiff and stubborn boards under my feet. Tried as I might, I just didn't connect with them at all; it was a failed attempted love affair.

velocityjohnno's picture
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velocityjohnno commented Monday, 25 May 2015 at 12:03am

The Zap is best surfed as a single with soft lower rails through the tail. If you are to approach the board coming from the 1970's approach that Geoff did, you will find performance increased the more flyers/tail volume he added over successive boards with the single fin, eventually ending up with the Zap. Compared to 70's singles, it's a lively puppy - the pivot turns and never-ending hold really work in juice. Flip side of that hold is paddling in, if you expect your edges/concaves to burst through the wave face on entry, it won't happen - the Zap holds you, then releases you in a far more critical (and faster) takeoff. So it loves the pocket and power. Single fin means straight line speed - no need to pump the fins on the front foot. Also means you are slowing through turns rather than holding/generating speed, so do them and power them hard to get back to the pocket. It's also a back foot board, so anyone learning surfing biomechanics from their boards in the last 35 years will have to re-learn. Not the front foot - pump and jiggle bias, but more back foot, top to bottom surfing. Go onto the front foot and fall off the front on a shoulder. Pivot is good on the single. Sheer volume of foam can be a disadvantage when getting drilled in a heavy impact zone; it is not easier to duckdive. So a modern, off the rack, dome deck, concaved, multifin board will be a more accessible performance if you are light, or really front-foot, but is everyone this way? I wonder if the Zap would be about the ultimate shortboard for a generation of post-2000 longboarders who know that back foot pivot turn intimately?

Geoff can be incredibly kind and gracious of his communication time; if nothing else he is the leader of an undercurrent in surfing that has some very dedicated fans.

the question's picture
the question's picture
the question commented Monday, 25 May 2015 at 7:39am

Damn stu, you can't just ride a board once and assume knowledge based on experience... Its just plain unscientific and we are in the scientific age of man... Science says it must be tested and counter tested and all theories explored for the truth to emerge out of the realms of assumption.... Go forth young scientist and don't stop where your eyes fail to see light... Go forth you intrepid warrior and seek what no journo before you has seeked.... Skip lives up Avalon way, track him down in search for the truth ....

stunet's picture
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stunet commented Monday, 25 May 2015 at 8:01am

The Q,

First time on that particular Tri Zap, but not my first surf on a Zap. See this review/interview on Swellnet from 2011.

mrmik's picture
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mrmik commented Friday, 20 Nov 2015 at 1:35am

Sorry I'm late to the party, but I unashamedly drag this thread back out because much of it is so ignorant.

I totally agree with Freeride76's comments above, but would like to expand them further.

Anyone stating that Geoff McCoy missed some chance or other to be an important influence on surfboard design, without even mentioning his ongoing contributions in the last say 15 years wrt modern high performance single fin designs, is laughable.

Geoff McCoy, like all dedicated, intelligent and single minded humans, is hard to keep up with, and he keeps on pushing and improving on his previous work.

It would be an excellent idea to surf an Astron Zot or a modern single fin Nugget before proclaiming that Geoff missed the surfboard design boat sometime back when. If you do, chances are that you will want to join the queue for a custom McCoy board before he stops shaping.

theween's picture
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theween commented Friday, 20 Nov 2015 at 9:17am

What are youse wankers all on about? What a waste of ink.

The Ween