From White Kite to Muff Diver: What's in a name?

Stu Nettle
Surfpolitik

Recently I did a board review and commented that many shapers are frustrated celebrity chefs. Evidence to support my claim was overwhelming: the board I was reviewing was Firewire's Sweet Potato model, Aloha have a Bean, Channel Islands have a Biscuit and a Cheese Stick, while a quick look through a catalogue turns up a Hot Dog, Peanut, Drumstick and an Egg.

Surfboards with model names were once the preserve of popouts, production line boards maligned by the faithful and bought by the masses. Yet since the introduction of the shaping machine the idea has been turned on its head. Shapers now give their surfboard models a name - and not necessarily food related - to stand out in the market. Tell me what lodges in your brain, the Psychedelic Germ or 6'2 x 18 ¾ x 2 ½?

Yeah, it's a form of branding and like any marketing the methods match the era. Gone is the austerity of Shane Stedman's White Kite or Channel Island's Black Beauty, replaced with free-for-all nomenclature that can include Haydenshapes Hypto Krypto, Vampirate's Grave Digger, or Division's Burning Burrito. Like the shapes they describe, anything goes.

Puns are ever popular: Greg Webber has the high-volume Fat Burner, Mike Psillakis The Hipster, and Channel Islands The Fort Knox ("Think Taylor, think Fort Knox!"). But it's Sunshine Coast shaper, Mark Pridmore, who takes the cake for his culinary puns and he gets extra points for staying on theme. The More Surfboards menu features a Fish Finger, a Dumpling, and a Dim Sim – Mark's version of a miniature Simmons slab.

Perhaps we should ask the question, what does a board say about you? We can start with Dane Reynolds who rhapsodised his bohemian regard with the Neck Beard and Dumpster Diver models, both of which are popular with the pro-ho boho set - young surfers who margin walk between idol worship and cool disinterest. The cut-off square tailed Dumpster Diver spawned offshoots of its own. Stuart Paterson at PCC created the Stuart Diver model while Greg Brown at Gash Surfboards celebrated his follicle proclivities with the Muff Diver. With a similar eye for anatomy Cory Russell is soon to release the Camel Toe on his Cory Surfboards label. 

While the names get more daring I eagerly await a shaper with a sharp sense of irony to release a Popout model. I'd buy one just to reward their humour and chutzpah. Unfortunately, levity is far outweighed by grim-faced metaphors to machismo: Daggers, Whips, Bullets and Guns all make an appearance, with the latter divided into Pistols and Sawn Offs. On the other side of the emotional divide lies good-natured Mark Richards, who celebrates the natural world with a Bumble Bee, a Hornet and a Puffer Fish, each board sprayed in gay, lustrous colours.

Not surprisingly the fish is the victim of slippery linguistics in the surfboard world. A quick count reveals a Gold Fish, Stump Fish, Twin Fish, Flying Fish, King Fish, Monk Fish, Superfish, and one species that appears ready to make the evolutionary leap: the Uberfish.

How far can all this go? Too far for Queensland shaper, Ralph Riddel. Ralph has put the plethora of names into a pot, boiled them down to their essential element and come up with the name of his latest model: the Surfboard.

Comments

sophie's picture
sophie's picture
sophie commented Thursday, 1 Dec 2011 at 11:25am

The Muff Diver by Gash Surfboards? Seriously???

z-man's picture
z-man's picture
z-man commented Thursday, 1 Dec 2011 at 11:42am

Can't decide - "Fishy" or "Fishie"

simplicitiy - rule #1

opposite end of spectrum - complexity - "Eau de Fish" - "Aftermath" - "Sweaty Session" -

an ex always reminded me of 'chicken noodle soup' - can't seem to work that one in...!

my signature

slasher's picture
slasher's picture
slasher commented Thursday, 1 Dec 2011 at 10:46pm

Sophie
I think you will find the Muff Diver is actually a Christiaan Bradley invention which may have recently been renamed due to some negative feedback from those higher up the food chain.
Browny from Gash has way more integrity???

daintreelocal's picture
daintreelocal's picture
daintreelocal commented Friday, 2 Dec 2011 at 1:04am

What about a brown longboard called "The SuperTurd"?

floyd's picture
floyd's picture
floyd commented Friday, 2 Dec 2011 at 3:14am

Beats me why no-one to my knowledge has ever called a thruster model a Trident. Dick Van Straalen's Aussie Allrounder says it all.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Friday, 2 Dec 2011 at 3:27am

Maybe no-one wanted the brand association with Asian food products?

http://www.tridentfoods.com.au/products/index.html

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain commented Friday, 2 Dec 2011 at 4:31am

Mark Pridmore has the Dim Sim, it's only a natural progression that he'll eventually shape the 'Chopstick'.

You can have that one Mark, but it would obviously have to perform in a shitty NE windswell.

1173

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno commented Friday, 2 Dec 2011 at 5:35am

It all goes in cycles. This reminds me of many of the 'model' boards of the 1960s - check out Hobie and Dewey Webber for some famous model boards. Surfboards are a reflection of those who are buying, and it seems that the need to be seen as 'like everyone else' is currently strong. "Hey, I've got a XXXXX too, I can relate to you."

What will happen is surfboards will turn back to anonymous once again in the future - when I started surfing around 1990 on, Tom Curren was riding a board with no stickers, it was cool to have no logos, no ID tags on your wetsuit, etc. Long hair and tatts and never wanting to 'sell out'. Glad I didn't do the tatts...

This was in reaction to the heights that fluoro-ness got to in the late 1980s. It all comes around and goes around. And before, the 1960's models, short back and sides hair descended into the home made experimentation and 'country soul' hippy images of the early '70's.

My first board, that I loved, was a 'White Pointer' single fin by Brothers Nielsen and shaped by Tony Eltherington, so I guess that came from a time of 'labels' as well. I still have it, so I guess it's hip now? Again.

whaaaat's picture
whaaaat's picture
whaaaat commented Friday, 2 Dec 2011 at 12:08pm

I ride one of Neil Luke's "The Freak" boards.

Marginally better than "The Cripple" or "The Gopher" or "The Board Those Old Fuckers Wot Won't Stand Up Ride".

Marginally better....

bum_acid's picture
bum_acid's picture
bum_acid commented Saturday, 3 Dec 2011 at 9:44am

I'm pondering my collection and the only one that comes to mind is my "boxkite flyer" by Loveridge out of Brothers Neilsen. a late-70s performance twin.
boring and a little superfluous. i don't get why it would be named after a kite.

names make me 'meh'. cept for the neckbeard. which is a cool name for a board i would never buy.

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain commented Saturday, 3 Dec 2011 at 2:43pm

Living in Asia, I can't let the Asian thing go.

For all those aspiring shapers out there, how about the-

Wanton, Samosa, Spring Roll, Chow Fun (love that one), Fugu, Wasabe, Bang Bang Ji......

On and on it goes.

I'll throw it out there. Mark Pridmore, if you shape a Chopstick, or any one of the above, next time I'm back home I'll grab one. Has to be short, fat, wide and a ton of fun.

and after surfing for an hour, I'm sure I'll feel like another surf.

Can't wait to see the Peking Duckdiver.

1173

fishheadsushi's picture
fishheadsushi's picture
fishheadsushi commented Sunday, 4 Dec 2011 at 7:22am

Got a super-fish. It's super duper alright despite it's ridiculous name and unimaginative branding. Hectic stuff

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Monday, 5 Dec 2011 at 10:36pm

I reckon there's a lot of room for an Aussie shaper to express their patriotism with an 'Aussie Wildlife Range':
The Raw Prawn
The Flaming Crow
The Bouncing Shark
The Drop Bear
The Drinking Lizard

They could even be painted with said animals! Gotta be better than a Southern Cross decal.

sophie's picture
sophie's picture
sophie commented Wednesday, 7 Dec 2011 at 12:24am

^^^^ The Fat Arsed Wombat??

amb's picture
amb's picture
amb commented Wednesday, 7 Dec 2011 at 3:55am

The "Barry Bruce"..or does he have a copyright patent?

coopshuadi's picture
coopshuadi's picture
coopshuadi commented Wednesday, 7 Dec 2011 at 9:18pm

What about footy theme boards, graphics to suit? Wetsuits too. Although you may get belted riding a collingwood board out at bells.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Wednesday, 7 Dec 2011 at 11:43pm

The Barry Bruce model? Comes CSIRO approved and sharks don't fuck around near it.

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain commented Thursday, 8 Dec 2011 at 12:17am

How about a Barry Crocker? We've all had one of those.

1173

cheetz's picture
cheetz's picture
cheetz commented Wednesday, 14 Dec 2011 at 12:03am

Surely Pam Burridge's "special" design that received lots of funding in the 80's would gotten off the ground if she had called the model "soup bowls"

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Wednesday, 14 Dec 2011 at 1:18am

haha - forgot about that one cheetz!

sandspit's picture
sandspit's picture
sandspit commented Friday, 30 Dec 2011 at 9:47pm

Weren't they called Wild Women Surfboards? The ones with the breast scoops on the decks?

the-u-turn's picture
the-u-turn's picture
the-u-turn commented Sunday, 1 Jan 2012 at 9:56pm

Well put Stu. Regretfully, like celebrity chefs, some shapers are just looking for that secret herb and spice in the descriptive of their product.

Still, commentary by a Messer 'bum_acid' always add's to something to the vernacular.

The U Turn
...a little Aloha goes a long way.

more's picture
more's picture
more commented Tuesday, 3 Jan 2012 at 11:31am

Zenagain and Stu, believe it or not, a few of those have been throw around as possible models and now I am gunna surely be accused of copying...haha...got me a headfull of freshly prepared ideas after a stint in Thailand eating myself mad, all in the name of design name research of course....I think the names are fun and surfing should be but I do worry about the people who buy a board coz its got a name they like and not coz its a shape that'd work well for them and in their waves....

z-man's picture
z-man's picture
z-man commented Tuesday, 3 Jan 2012 at 12:32pm

Sawahdee Krup!

"This old thread" ?

"Fishy" - That's my pick, and I'm stickin' to it!

my signature

surferjoe's picture
surferjoe's picture
surferjoe commented Saturday, 21 Jan 2012 at 1:43am

Jim Banks calls his Quad Fish the "Magic Carpet".... and seeing he's making one for me... gonna ride that Magic Carpet to Nirvana

poocurves's picture
poocurves's picture
poocurves commented Friday, 27 Jan 2012 at 3:17am

If ya buy the barry crocker it gives you every excuse !