Herring and Webber ride again

Stu Nettle
Swellnet Dispatch

Nearly three decades after he led the world rankings, setting the pace against an eleven-time champ in the making, Shane Herring is again working with shaper Greg Webber.

The nature of their relationship has changed, of course. No longer are they conspiring to change the surfing world. This time 'round, their goals are slightly more modest. It's not simply a surfer/shaper relationship anymore either, as clever design isn't the only goal here. Redemption is also a part of the package.

Greg recently chatted to Swellnet about the boards they're making and also his relationship with Herring.

Swellnet: Word is you're again working with Shane Herring and a few other people on a new board. Could you explain what's been happening?
Greg Webber: Yep. It's a Shane Herring surfboard - so the branding is Herring - and the team is Justin Crawford and Jimmy Young-Whitforde who both live nearby Shane and can connect with him on a mental level. So they're kind of managing that side.

Justin's more managing the branding and the advertising and marketing, while Jimmy is...I guess you'd call him my protege. We've been working together on experimental boards for eight or so years, and he's also a very good finish shaper and can pretty much copy my rail.

So that's the group.

What is the end goal with the boards? One-off boards, or are they going into production?
Yeah, that's the aim. For sure. They're going to start by doing customs and then approach different retailers. That's the first way. But if it has any traction, then there's a chance that we could introduce it into one of the larger global distributors' range.

You're talking about GSI or Slater Designs, is that right?
Yeah, that kind of level. Anyone that's doing hundreds and hundreds of boards a week. That level, and distributed over 500 stores around the world. So, that's a big jump and you've got to validate it as a saleable item.

A modern Baked Bean: idea by Greg, ridden by Shane, shaped by Jimmy Young-Whitforde

He's going to need some good surfers in his quarter, guys that will ride the board and show it works. Have you thought who that might be?
No, have you got any ideas?

Robbo comes to mind.
Yeah, for sure. He's the best example because he surfed basically every experiment that I've done in the last ten years. So he can prove it and validate it.

The other group would be the guys at Byron that are part of the market, anyway, you know what I mean? The style of surfer who rides low rocker, flat little things. However, this is not just a flat platform, even though Shane wants to have the rocker very low, like 3 1/2 inch nose and 1 5/8 tail, it will still be compared to that style of board but with a definite in-the-pocket performance capacity. You've got to be able to rip on the thing.

It's funny you say that because one of the ongoing criticisms about the Banana board and probably the reason that it wasn't saleable second time around, is that it was just too high performance. The average surfer couldn't get their head around it and make it work.
Just quickly, who did you ever hear that from?

Comments on forums, reading what people's perception was, whether it was based in reality or not. People felt it was too finely tuned.
I've had feedback from guys - obviously that's going to be positive, otherwise they wouldn't give me the feedback - but these are average surfers saying that they've done some of the best turns of their life on that board.

Okay, well, I'll put it to you, Greg. Why wasn't the Banana more popular the second time around?
It got destroyed at the shops, and other shapers resented the attention that that model got. And the fact that it represented something, which is a high-performance board for bowly waves. So it got criticised quite cleverly by grumpy shapers, basically. They were saying, "Mate that thing's unridable, they slow down, they've got no drive."

No-one attacks the flat-rockered fish, because it's got a set function, and everyone knows that board does not go in bowly, hollow waves. But it doesn't get abandoned because of that. Yet for some reason the reverse doesn't hold true. That's a funny aspect of it.

Also, there's a personal reaction by many shapers to the Banana, because I'm the only person that's connected to that. And they don't like that. 

I don't want to press the point here, but I've ridden the Banana quite a bit, and I could do some good turns, but I didn't find it a forgiving or an 'all round' board. The fact that it could do these top 5% turns meant that it didn't go so well at other times. Especially when it was in ordinary East Coast surf.
But that's what I'm saying. It's not designed for ordinary waves!

[phone line goes dead]

Did you just hang up on me, Greg..?
No, no. I'm not even touching the phone. It's sitting on a box of tissues, I'm not even holding the thing.

Okay. Look, well we'll move on, Bananas to Beans...
No, no, no, I want to finish that point because you highlighted a good thing: you said it didn't go well in standard waves. So someone has a couple of funny surfs in dud waves, which it's not designed for, and then they throw the board away as a concept.

The Banana is made for four to five foot, hollow, beautiful waves, which is only a few times in the year when the waves are cranking and all of a sudden you're doing turns tight under the tube. The Banana isn't designed for junky waves and shouldn't be judged in them either - the same way the flat-rockered fish isn't judged in hollow, high-performance waves.

Okay...the current board, the Baked Bean, what sort of waves is it intended for?
Beachies and standard flatter stuff. Not 'flatter' like Malibu or whatever, typical East Coast surf.

It's still got a bit of rocker. About 4 inches and 2 1/4 in the tail on a 5'8". It will just be a flat-sided vee bottom. It's like the Diamond - which is a double concave -  which I've made hundreds and hundreds of, and people love the rocker exactly as it is, which is not dead flat. It doesn't have a straight deck and a nose flip, it's just slightly curved throughout the whole thing, but not a lot of rocker. So that's what I used as the guide, because I've had such a broad range of surfer ride that thing.

So that's what the Baked Bean will be close to.

Shane with his Baked Bean in 1993, taken from the movie 'Journey On'

What size should people ride. From memory Shane's original Bean was 5'8", two inches shorter than his standard shortboard of the day.
I think it was 5'6"

Well, there you go, four inches shorter.
There's so much nose sawn off, there's no way I only took two inches off.

OK, so it'll be the same again? A snub nose that's ridden a few inches shorter than your standard shortboard?
Yeah.

OK, I want to ask you about your relationship with Shane. Have you kept in contact with him over the years?
No, not at all until recently when we met up for the first time in, shit, I don't know...could be fifteen years.

And how was that?
It was funny actually, it was really nice to see each other. It's like he would have a concept of Greg Webber that is to do with the Banana and pro surfing, someone connected to all that, and there'll be a tainted feeling of failing. Which has totally transformed his life. You know what I mean?

So, maybe, I'm a bit of a problem mentally, especially if you use the word Banana in relation to Greg Webber.

Shane and quiver

Yet what I see with him, and have realised moreso since I made his boards and watched him change, is that he's a good person who just didn't deal with the attention. Which is a very Australian kind of thing. There's no ego allowed. Especially back then, I think we've evolved a little bit and become slightly more American since.

Americans are better designed to deal with success because they are told from a young age, "Man, you could be the best at this." And you'll notice I used an American accent for extra effect.

Thanks for that.
That's what they've heard since they were kids. What do you think Kelly's heard? "You're going to be the world champ." Over and over. That believability helps them.

It's starting to infect our culture as well.
It is, we've gone a bit more American and I think that's healthy in a way. We can deal with the ego side in the way that Americans do, being able to say to someone, "Mate, you ripped. You're doing unreal. Keep up the good work." As against this deconstructing horror that the person's going to think too highly of themselves.

But at the same time, we can't forget that that's a really valuable thing. It's what stops us having much of a class system. You know, you can have someone working on the roadside, then an engineer next to the guy, and then a lawyer in a suit, looking at the hole that's being dug by some guy on an excavator. All side by side. I think we can't ignore that it has been a great benefit to this country.

Just that when it comes to being famous and attracting attention, that's when you really need young people to be groomed in dealing with all that attention.

Okay. So where's Shane at now? How do you think he's traveling?
Quite well, I think from what I heard. He's not overweight and he could quite easily get back in the water if the right board is made for him.

The only problem is there's such a psychosis in relation to the past that he becomes very stubborn about certain things. He can't look at the surfboard design itself as an inanimate object, one that has to match the needs or wants of the market. He can't be objective. So that's where Justin can manage things.

There are a few overlaps here between Michael Peterson and Shane, in the sense that they were gifted surfers who went off the rails with health issues. It always felt like a big loss that MP never surfed again. How do you think people are going to respond when they see Shane in the water?
Good question.

Personally, I would like to think there is a lot of goodwill out there and people would simply love to see him surf, irrespective of his current skill level. Like, don't compare him to the surfer he once was, just see him for who he is now.
I think anyone would look at it the way you were saying, because too many years have past. But you know, irrespective of the damage he might've done to himself, there's still talent on the inside. So I think it would be great, as you're suggesting, to see him on an open face, like at Lennox at four to five foot, on a Baked Bean doing beautiful, big round turns.

That's what my objective is: to get the guy on a board that makes him go, "Shit, this thing's easy to ride, but I'm doing turns." That's currency for the bloody soul that is, or the heart or whatever it is...it's the thing that's so valuable in surfing. Everyone knows that if you just get two or three turns done in one surf then you're transformed and your whole day is better.

So what stage is the project up to?
Right now it's just working out where it's going to be retailed, that's all. And I'm going to go back to Justin, who's really good at this stuff, to see what our plan will be in terms of wholesalers.

It won't be long.

Comments

memlasurf's picture
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memlasurf Friday, 23 Apr 2021 at 1:18pm

"Everyone knows that if you just get two or three turns done in one surf then you're transformed and your whole day is better"
Greg has never uttered a truer sentence.

FrazP's picture
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FrazP Friday, 23 Apr 2021 at 5:18pm

So true mate. So true

rothmanisatool's picture
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rothmanisatool Sunday, 9 May 2021 at 9:21am

yes. i always aim very low when the surf is rubbish. just one good turn every half an hour. it keeps you smiling for the rest of the day. sad to see herro like this and i hope he can surf again as greg says.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 Friday, 23 Apr 2021 at 3:04pm

that was a really good interview.
classic actually.

Archive that one Stu.

Hope it all works out.

NDC's picture
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NDC Friday, 23 Apr 2021 at 3:13pm

Growing up in DY a few years ahead of Shane... I just wish him well and hope people around him treat him with the respect and dignity he (and we all) deserve - even thought that doesn't often seem to be the currency of relationships in everyday life.

It was a huge thrill when he won the Coke contest at Narrabeen back in the 90's for most in the area, myself included. And I enjoyed a waltz down memory lane watching old footage of Shane as the WSL went through town these last few weeks.

Thanks for the memories and the good times Shano - hope your enjoying whatever comes your way these days from another old DYian.

freeride76's picture
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freeride76 Friday, 23 Apr 2021 at 3:28pm

My fondest memory of Shane around here is on a huge winters Day in the mid90's.

He paddled out at the Point on a 6'8" McCoy.

My other mate and Bernie were the only ones out.

'Herro paddled right out to the Pinnacle, about 500m past the outside take-off and catches a 15ft wave from there.
Goes into the Point proper and runs over my mate who was trying to get out of the way.

Then rides it all the way in.

I've only ever heard of Bob McTavish catching a wave from the pinnacle. Back in the 60's.

Hiccups's picture
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Hiccups Friday, 23 Apr 2021 at 3:31pm

That's an amazing story FR. Herro was one of my heroes as a kid. I hope he's doing ok.

Blowin's picture
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Blowin Friday, 23 Apr 2021 at 3:55pm

Back in the early 90’s I was sitting in my car with a couple of mates having a quiet mix at an otherwise empty beach when a photographer set up in the middle of the sand and a surfer ran into the water and started doing the best carves any of us had ever seen. It was Paul Sargent and Shane Herring- they were both pretty famous amongst our crew and the rest of the surfing world at the time. On the Hong Kongs enjoying our own private, live surf movie in an area which didn’t see pro surfers too often.

Thanks for that Shane Herring. Was very inspirational.

BTW- The Baked Bean looks like a great idea which would suit hundreds of waves along the East coast alone, the Banana works well in waves which have to be not just hollow and lippy but also waves which don’t demand too much down the line speed. This limits its application significantly so comparisons with a low rockered fish along these lines are apples and oranges. The Banana would blaze at Angourie, Middle Beach LHI and Periscopes but not too often anywhere else. You’d ride the Baked Bean every day of the week for months on end without feeling underdone I reckon.

Hope Herro enjoys himself whatever he does whether he surfs or not but every surfer deserves another wave irrespective of the talent they have now or had in days gone.

freeride76's picture
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freeride76 Friday, 23 Apr 2021 at 3:53pm

I've also seen Herro do some amazing things at Parties.

Dee Why and Byron crew will know what I mean.

those stories are just shared around in private.

One other less well known fact about Shane is he is a very talented poet.

Justin Crawford is a very good man to have on his side.

tubeshooter's picture
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tubeshooter Friday, 23 Apr 2021 at 4:34pm

I have to agree with the lack of ego regarding Herro ,and as Greg states it was pretty much frowned upon 'back in the day' . MR was the epitome of that characteristic . Tall poppies got cut back to size quick smart , except maybe Elko.

simba's picture
simba's picture
simba Friday, 23 Apr 2021 at 4:51pm

Well not sure if GW has seen Asher Pacey or even Kerrzy surf lately on their flat rockered fish style boards but they go in hollow waves....

GW..No-one attacks the flat-rockered fish, because it's got a set function, and everyone knows that board does not go in bowly, hollow waves.

FrazP's picture
FrazP's picture
FrazP Friday, 23 Apr 2021 at 5:26pm

Have to agree Simba, I love riding a fish in good bowly waves, even with a bit of size. Nothing like Asher or Josh unfortunately, but I think that's more down to ability than board. Suspect bottom curves and rockers have changed since the 80's fish.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet Friday, 23 Apr 2021 at 5:36pm

Nah, with respect, it's a bit of a nonsense argument.

Good surfers can make any board look good, but we need to be able to discern between the surfer and the board.

Short flat boards simply dont have the curves or characteristics to make best use - note those words - of steep, bowly waves. Boards with matching rocker innately go better in them.

Really, any board that floats can 'ride' steep, bowly waves...hell, even alaias can and given a supremely talented pilot I could imagine a day someone tries to convince me alaias go good in hollow waves.

But for picking the board that makes best use of steep bowly waves, not a person on Earth could convince me that rockered boards aren't better than flat-rockered fish.

lilas's picture
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lilas Saturday, 24 Apr 2021 at 6:15am

Exactly!. Ask slab riders if they are using a flat rocker. Wouldn't last very long riding those boards on those types of waves.
I also think it's important for people to realise that depending on your bottom shape [especially concave] you actually have multiple rocker angles over the board. The rail rocker shape is much more pronounced [curved] than the rocker in the center of the board in concave shapes which makes things even more complicated. A vee bottom shape can produce the opposite effect of more rocker curve on the rail. So you can have more or less Rocker when you are planing or turning. Just depends what your preference is.
Mine is for a touch of vee in the bottom as it gives better rail-to-rail responsiveness. [I hate the "Sticky" feeling of concaves]

memlasurf's picture
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memlasurf Sunday, 25 Apr 2021 at 10:45am

My only comment on this one Stu is size. If the board is short, rocker is far less of an issue as it can fit the wave, sort of, which seems to be the key. This way if a beachie (like down our way) is a long wall with hollow sections you can still maintain drive. Obviously Indonesia is special and you take your purpose built board over there for fast hollow waves. Yes rockered boards go much more vertical in bowly waves and don't catch edges and maintain speed if the wave has push. No doubt.

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo Friday, 23 Apr 2021 at 5:05pm

Beat me to it Simba with the Asher and Kerrzy + Torren bit
Didnt Steve Lis design the fish for hollow waves
Is this a Royalty payment set up for Herro on these boards ?

dean maddison's picture
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dean maddison Friday, 23 Apr 2021 at 5:13pm

To you FR76, Got any info on Larry Blair ? 2 time pipeline winner and Narrabeen winner. Tried to find footage of his win over Wayne Lynch at pumping Narrabeen and also any pipe footage ,not having much luck. Always thought he was one of our best goofy barrel pigs. I know he was a bit of a lad but doesnt get much of a mention. .

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain Friday, 23 Apr 2021 at 5:25pm

Maybe this one Dean at Manly?

memlasurf's picture
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memlasurf Sunday, 25 Apr 2021 at 10:49am

Big Dazza. RIP.

Max Wax's picture
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Max Wax Monday, 26 Apr 2021 at 8:02pm

sick footage thanks zen, rarely see waves that good at manly :(

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain Friday, 23 Apr 2021 at 5:19pm

Cool interview.

All the best Shane.

Spuddups's picture
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Spuddups Friday, 23 Apr 2021 at 5:32pm

Yeah, I was surprised at the fishes don't go well in hollow waves call. I've never really had that problem with them.

dean maddison's picture
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dean maddison Friday, 23 Apr 2021 at 6:14pm

Nice one zenagain. Thanks for the footage. Great final.

bbbird's picture
bbbird's picture
bbbird Friday, 23 Apr 2021 at 9:50pm

Bananas & beans...really....different surf & surfer: different board.
eg. surfin snails

SurferSam's picture
SurferSam's picture
SurferSam Friday, 23 Apr 2021 at 11:48pm

Think his brother lives in margs these days and still charges big waves and shapes too

Clam's picture
Clam's picture
Clam Tuesday, 4 May 2021 at 4:14pm

Yes so Bretto's shaper is Nick Pope and it's called the Tommy Ruff model surfboard.

Island Bay's picture
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Island Bay Saturday, 24 Apr 2021 at 4:47am

Very good interview, Stu. Thank you.

It would be so good to see Shane up and ripping again.

Surf Ads's picture
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Surf Ads Saturday, 24 Apr 2021 at 6:25am

Great interview Stu! Interested to see board and rider in flight.

jacksprat's picture
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jacksprat Saturday, 24 Apr 2021 at 9:41am

Truisms; Curve - drag. 17 1/4" wide - not functional. Some types of boards will always go better than others. There is no such thing as the all purpose surfboard. Pro's can make anything look good
Marketing is everything.

indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming Saturday, 24 Apr 2021 at 10:01am

Great interview.

I think it was always going to be hard to sell the banana board thing the second time around as so many guys remembered the struggle of those high rockered boards in everyday conditions.

But I also think Kelly surfing one at snapper in waves not suited to the design didn't help, remember the heat with Stu Kennedy? (Kelly wasn't surfing his best and looked slow, while Stu was surfing fast and loose)

But the flip side was for Fire Wire that heat or two of Stu's made the Sci Fi very popular.

goofyfoot's picture
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goofyfoot Saturday, 24 Apr 2021 at 10:04am

“Thanks for that.”
Had a bit of a lol moment with that reply Stu.

So Shane’s not actually surfing again yet?
I don’t know much about GW but he seems to pop up on here with a lot of ideas. Not sure if they end up coming to fruition?

frog's picture
frog's picture
frog Saturday, 24 Apr 2021 at 12:15pm

I had a Webber banana for a while. Did some nice turns. Not great in average waves My main performance memory was a bottom turn where I leaned into it and could feel that I was turning on part of the rail curve and felt as though the fins disengaged a bit mid turn and it sort of skipped sideways. It did not project. Maybe standing further back would have kept the fins engaged but then it would have wanted to head for the lip not down the line. If you could push a button mid ride to create instant banana to do a cutback or head for the lip it would be good.

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin Saturday, 24 Apr 2021 at 1:02pm

Yep. I’ve got some unique and impressive sensations locked into the memory bank thanks to my first generation Banana. Cant see myself ever going down that road again though.

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain Saturday, 24 Apr 2021 at 1:42pm

"instant banana".

I'm sure there's a joke in there somewhere.

Fleaza's picture
Fleaza's picture
Fleaza Saturday, 24 Apr 2021 at 3:07pm

I wouldn’t give that bloke any respect sorry ,,,, he dug his own hole

NDC's picture
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NDC Saturday, 24 Apr 2021 at 6:31pm

Which bloke? GW or SH

morg's picture
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morg Saturday, 24 Apr 2021 at 3:44pm

What a great interview. My take on the banana board is that it’s tarnished reputation is tied to a era and representative of the then performance boards that are less than optimal in average waves for average surfers. IMHO it’s a bit like that perfect Indo board that is so much fun when your in good sucky powerful waves, but back at home you can’t get it to work at your local beach break (east coast oz). In my case, if I’m lucky it gets dusted off a couple of times a year between (pre COVID) surf trips.

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo Saturday, 24 Apr 2021 at 3:56pm

How many minutes of footage exists of Shane riding the banana boards
less than 10 ?

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo Saturday, 24 Apr 2021 at 4:21pm

Justin Crawford and Herring were making Surf Cowboy boards out of Byron a few years back
has anyone seen one or got a pic ....Freeride ?

edit-https://m.facebook.com/bonzer5/photos/pb.56755398138.-2207520000.1428903...
maybe this ?

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo Saturday, 24 Apr 2021 at 4:57pm

Ah made under the ESP label.


And a SH 13 V bottom by Jimmy Young Whitforde

Baked Bean

crg's picture
crg's picture
crg Sunday, 25 Apr 2021 at 10:13am

Is Herro on board with this? Is he connecting with these people because he has a desire to surf again and these are his board design ideas?
I hope so; anything less sounds like a special kind of horrible exploitation of someone who’s already been through the ringer enough.

goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot Sunday, 25 Apr 2021 at 11:53am

Hard to tell isn’t it.

Clive Rodell's picture
Clive Rodell's picture
Clive Rodell Sunday, 25 Apr 2021 at 10:50am

I almost ended up coaching Shane, many moons ago. I have so much respect for his surfing and lack of ego. I will always have time for him. People talk about Italo, Medina and John John being way above the others. Shane/Slater were those guys in Shane’s era.
I sincerely hope ‘Shane is back’ and I’m glad Greg has ‘reunited’.
Go get ‘em guys! :)

Chocalatte's picture
Chocalatte's picture
Chocalatte Sunday, 25 Apr 2021 at 11:57am

Can only agree Clive - Herro (& his little brother) both good people + Shane a phenomenal talent in the waves, easily as good as any of the very best over the past 60 years, imho.

Chocalatte's picture
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Chocalatte Sunday, 25 Apr 2021 at 11:52am

crg, having known Herro, Justin Crawford & Greg Webber for a long time, you can rest assured there's no exploitation of Shane on the agenda - no matter what some people may say!

Swift's picture
Swift's picture
Swift Monday, 26 Apr 2021 at 1:27pm

Best board I've ever owned was custom shaped by GW (not ghosty). 6'3 x 18.25x 2.25.
Swallow tail, deep single concave, 4oz' glass.
Truly the only "magic " board I've ever had.
Bought in 99/00

dangerouskook2000's picture
dangerouskook2000's picture
dangerouskook2000 Monday, 26 Apr 2021 at 8:16pm

why are the logos all painted out in the pic of Shane and his quiver

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo Monday, 26 Apr 2021 at 8:29pm

That is Shanes own Marking [s] i think


Some rocker

groundswell's picture
groundswell's picture
groundswell Tuesday, 27 Apr 2021 at 12:14pm

My favorite shape for indo barrels is a Jim Banks fish. Loves 2-6ft speedies but goes a bit straight if you take off under the lip on a wrapping one like supersuck so you might run into the lip...so versatile though if you pump down from a highline into a steep bowl it FEELS like you're going about 80 kms an hour.Left it at a mates house in West Sumbawa.


zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain Tuesday, 27 Apr 2021 at 4:48pm

Sweet.

Classic tube stance too GS.

Neil Guy's picture
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Neil Guy Tuesday, 27 Apr 2021 at 6:54pm

DEAN MADDISON I am working with larry blair to reproduce his boards from the coke and pipe line wins . Really nice guy and humble . He is working on a book about his life growing up and surfing career. Very intersting life.

amb's picture
amb's picture
amb Wednesday, 28 Apr 2021 at 2:39pm

No questions to Greg about the wave pool progress Stu?...Is it "dead in the water" so to speak?

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo Wednesday, 28 Apr 2021 at 4:41pm
udo's picture
udo's picture
udo Wednesday, 28 Apr 2021 at 6:41pm

Copy of 1992 Coke Classic board

udo's picture
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udo Sunday, 2 May 2021 at 6:05am