Geoff McCoy 1944-2024

Stu Nettle picture
Stu Nettle (stunet)
Swellnet Dispatch

During the first surf boom, Australian surfboard shapers were largely down-to-earth and practical folk. The Brookvale Six, for instance, were all doughty workers who could’ve been running joineries or car mechanics, such was their roll-up-the-sleeves pragmatism.

Geoff McCoy was of the next generation of Australian shapers and he was anything but orthodox. There was no ‘wisdom of the crowd’ for Geoff McCoy; in his world, greater truths were found by following your own intuition, and evolution wasn’t so much the refinement of one path but the avowal of many - although his way was always best.

Born in 1944, Geoff McCoy got his start in the surfboard business working at Ron Surfboards, then later with Denny Keogh and Barry Bennett - two of the Brookvale Six. At Bennett he hooked up with Narrabeen surfers Mark Warren and Dappa Oliver, together colluding on a design that would be the first of the very short shortboards: the double-ender.

The double-ender was McCoy’s attempt to emulate George Greenough; to allow surfers to do Greenough-type turns powered from the back of the board. It was also McCoy’s first signature shape, and while surfers were, according to Bob McTavish, “breaking away from the straight line”, their shapers were also moving the form away from straight lines and long arcs into something more curved and radical.

Shaper and surfer: Each role depended on the other. Complete expression from one required complete engagement from the other.

In 1970, at the height of the Shortboard Revolution, McCoy struck out on his own with the emotional and financial backing of Ray Richards who bought the first ten boards. McCoy found a mentor in Richards, and in time McCoy would become mentor to another Richards - Ray’s son Mark.

The McCoy factory was one of the first to produce the short and stubby first-generation twin fins. In time, radical innovation found its limits and surfboard design began moving back to the functional centre where improvements were incremental. However, unlike his peers, and also unlike the shapers before him, McCoy maintained the notion of the bold breakthrough. His thinking was always big and conceptual.

Though he shared few traits with the early Australian shapers, there were shades of Bob Simmons - the brilliant but curmudgeonly Californian shaper - in Geoff McCoy. Both were cocksure and easily irritated by pedestrian concepts, and both thought surfboard design was worthy of existing on a higher plane.

“I had to pull my car over to the side of the road,” said McCoy in an interview with Tracks, “and think about what a surfboard really is.”

No-one would mistake Geoff McCoy for a carpenter or mechanic.

These lofty ruminations didn’t always sit well with his business interests, yet through the seventies McCoy built up a significant following, largely on the back of a hard work ethic - that’s one trait he shared with his predecessors - his connection to North Narrabeen, plus the success of surfers such as Mark Warren, and later Larry Blair, Pam Burridge, and Damien Hardman.

Photo for a McCoy advertisement talen at the first McCoy factory: 43 Winbourne Road, Brookvale. Clockwise from top left, Mal Hockley, Syd Crimson, Jim Beasley, Frank Williams, Bruce Channon, Geoff, Mark Warren, Grant 'Dappa' Oliver (Alby Falzon)

In 1976, McCoy met a young Cheyne Horan and it’s easy to imagine the encounter as an artist finally meeting his muse - and considering the creativity that followed, calling McCoy an artist shouldn’t be seen as too much of a stretch.

McCoy’s mind naturally wandered to the frontiers of design and in Horan he had a pilot who could take his craft there - the shaper and surfer expressing themselves in full. Horan the pure surfer, McCoy the pure shaper. Someone who literally created new shapes.

With MR on the rise riding his wide-point forward double-flyer twinnies, McCoy came at things from a whole other direction. He began to see surfboards as triangles, an evolution from his double-enders, while still forcing the rider to stay planted near the tail much as a kneeboarder is.

With Horan planted in his ‘horse stance’ near the tail, McCoy took flight building boards that maximised the output from those equine thighs. It took many versions to arrive at the classic wide-backed, narrow nose Lazer Zap shape, some of which were comically unconventional, and often downright dangerous, yet conceptually the duo were ahead of their time.

The earliest versions of the Lazer Zap took the no-nose concept to the extreme (Brian Bielmann)

They were also widely ridiculed for their experimentation. It was often said that McCoy cost Horan a world title, that if they played it safer Cheyne could’ve converted one of those four runner-up finishes into a victory.

What’s less well-known is that in 1979, just after Horan split from the Bronzed Aussies, he came up against former BA brother Peter Townend at the last event of the season. Horan was leading the ratings, all he had to do was win the heat to secure the title.

“Who’s to say,” Peter Townend told The Surfer’s Journal many years later, “if he had not screwed the Bronzed Aussies, I might have thrown the heat. And we would’ve had our second world champion. It would’ve been good for business!”

Two other things a Horan world title would’ve done: It would’ve vindicated Geoff McCoy’s design philosophy, and it would’ve shut down all talk of Horan’s surfing being kneecapped by left-field ideas. Yet it wasn’t to be and the accusation dogged them for years.

At the time, however, a runner-up finish was a huge success and if the Bronzed Aussies weren’t doing great business, McCoy Surfboards certainly were.

The surfboard as both sculpture and canvas. Richard 'Snow' Mollard began a sub-genre of art with his intricate tape-ups of McCoy Lazer Zaps

In the early-eighties, McCoy boards became popular in California, Hawaii, and Japan, riding on a mix of Cheyne’s small wave gymnastics and neon chequer and star spray designs. The latter dovetailed nicely with Quiksilver’s Echo Beach colour palette and McCoy/Quiksilver had a short-lived dalliance. Many McCoy-sponsored riders were picked up by Quiksilver, and when Australian-shaped McCoy’s were sent to America, Quiksilver garments filled the empty container space. Meanwhile, Quiksilver stickers crept towards the nose of sponsored riders’ boards.

Truth be told, no sticker could divert attention from the McCoy logo - in the early-eighties his cursive emblem was the biggest in the game - but there was more to it than optics: McCoy believed the rag trade was hitching a free ride on the hard work of shapers. He cut all ties with Quiksilver but the distrust and paranoia remained.

In 1982, following Cheyne’s fourth runner-up finish on the world tour, McCoy and Horan attempted a typically brazen experiment. When Horan paddled out at big Waimea on a 5’8” board, they were not only defying big wave tradition but giving it the middle finger.

“At that time Cheyne and I were a potent combination,” said McCoy, “I had the vision, knowledge and skill to design the object, and Cheyne had the vision, knowledge, balls, and skill to pilot the object. So we went about making it happen.”

It was derisively called a stunt, yet some measure of vindication came with the advent of tow surfing when surfers rode sub-six foot boards in huge waves. By then it was too late to carry much weight.

The McCoy/Richards relationship was charged with drama. From Ray Richards supporting Geoff, to Geoff mentoring Mark, to Mark vanquishing, many times, Geoff's main pilot (Surfer, Paul Naude)

The eighties rolled on, the surf industry boomed, yet in close succession McCoy’s design principles and his business took a bust. The former was via the popularity of Simon Anderson’s Thruster, launched in 1981, and quickly adopted by surfers worldwide. Horan aside, McCoy’s single-fin first philosophy was increasingly being seen as outdated.

In a typically magnanimous gesture, Simon Anderson called McCoy one of the five fathers of the Thruster, “because he came up with the no-nose concept - which was a narrow nose and a wide tail, with most of the volume in the back half of the board, under the rider’s feet. This was the basic outline that accommodated the three fins so well.”

There’s an irony that McCoy ‘saw surfboards as triangles’ but missed the big one: Setting the fins in a triangle. McCoy incorporated Thrusters into his armoury - on his own planshapes of course - calling them Tri Zaps. The design found a following, yet it was the first sign that McCoy was no longer operating at the vanguard.

In 1984, material damage came in the form of receivership after a business associate disappeared. McCoy was lumbered with the debts and he also disappeared, from the spotlight at least. The professional surfing world kept spinning without him, while Horan had moved onto other shapers: Neal Purchase, Terry Fitzgerald, even Wayne Lynch.

When you pay attention to the arts, it becomes clear that success is mercurial; it’s unpredictable and temporary. Not everyone attains it, sometimes even the talented ones get overlooked, but absolute commitment and daring will shorten the odds. Geoff McCoy had both and for a decade his talent intersected with the public appetite…until it didn’t anymore.

Post-business collapse, McCoy kept shaping, and though may have been wiser he still couldn’t retreat from a stoush while always dodging pots of gold.

“It’s the Irish side of my family, I guess,” McCoy said to author Andrew Crockett in 2010. “I am just crazy. I mean, I have run away from money all my life. But I don't regret it at all.”

In the late-eighties, pro surfing well in his rear-vision mirror, McCoy entered another purple patch, designing boards aimed squarely at the intermediate-to-advanced surfer. Well before the era of mid-lengths or ‘fun boards’, McCoy was offering honest alternatives to the pro designs being foisted on punters. With surfers withering through the concave/rocker era, McCoy made thick, full-figured boards such as the Nugget - an updated version of his original double-ender - and the Astron Zot, plus continual reworkings of the Lazer Zap.

In what might be seen as typically contrarian, as concaves became the standard bottom curve, McCoy created the Loaded Dome, a round bottom that spills both laterally across the board and down it too.

Through the nineties and into the new century, McCoy maintained a coterie of disciples - a figure of his influence always would - while shaping selectively from his Byron Bay premises.

On the 22nd April, 2024, one month into a well-earned retirement, Geoff McCoy passed away from heart complications. He suffered a heart attack last week with doctors advising triple-bypass surgery, though he decided against it.

Geoff's legacy is best captured in a McCoy-esque phrase: His Earthly body departed, his ideas alive forever.

//STU NETTLE

Comments

frog's picture
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frog Tuesday, 23 Apr 2024 at 2:57pm

End of an era. My only personal connection are surfboards. Had two McCoys. A zippy rounded pin single fin in the middle of the late 70s twin fin era. Went great in good waves but was replaced and bettered by my first thruster (A SA I think?).

I still have a McCoy 6'6" loaded dome thruster that surfs fast and loose from 4 foot up and flies in bigger surf that is a keeper.

I always found his articles and interviews interesting.

I suspect the satisfaction of designing, shaping and being in the thick of the industry was as rewarding as retirement could ever have been for Geoff.

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mredhill Tuesday, 23 Apr 2024 at 3:05pm

Bondi through the 70s had a 'who's who' of crazy hot surfers, the Ford brothers, Steve Jones, Col Sutherland, Buster Farlow, etc...the list goes on. The one constant was the McCoys they surfed and, as a grom, we all wanted one. I'll never forget walking into the factory in Brooky, ordering mine off Geoff himself and the sleepless nights leading up to pickup day. That board was a thing of beauty, I'd give anything to have it now but there you go. RIP Geoff, one of THE best.

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Robosaurus Tuesday, 23 Apr 2024 at 3:58pm

Good friend and a good bloke first and foremost.
Saved from his fiery temper and at times rash decisions, Mieko was the love of his life. They became a part of our family’s lives as well, loving our kids and our home.
We’ll miss you Geoff.
Love, The Agnes Chapter of The Blacks.

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greg-n.williams Tuesday, 23 Apr 2024 at 4:08pm

I got a McCoy custom from the Avoca factory back in the early 80's. One of the worst customs I've ever had (so thick you basically couldn't bury the rail to turn the bloody thing) the board wasn't shaped by Geoff though so can't really blame him for the performance of the lemon. Geoff was obviously an innovator before his time RIP legend!

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Gra Murdoch Tuesday, 23 Apr 2024 at 4:53pm

Great reflection Stu. Surfing's so much richer for blokes like him.

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simba Tuesday, 23 Apr 2024 at 5:06pm

The only memory i have of Geoff is when he and Cheyne pulled up into the carpark at Lennox ,early 80s and wolf whistled my girl friend as she walked past ......well they had taste ........funny though ........never tried one of his boards the wide tail always threw me off them but guys who ride them swear by em.
RIP another legend down.

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freeride76 Tuesday, 23 Apr 2024 at 5:49pm

I first came into Geoff's orbit mid 90's in Byron.
Geoff was still rebuilding after the catastrophic collapse of the business in the 80's due to the partner malfeasance.
He'd come here after a realisation that he could still make a good surfboard and go surfing- which he made the bedrock of his daily existence.

It was a time of Designs to Free Your Mind- also a period just before he went into full nuggets where he was making a kind of hybrid nugget shortboard with a pointy nose- still some of the best surfboards I've ever ridden. He made me a 6'3" which worked in 2ft Broken Head and 8ft Gnaraloo.
For those coming off the anorexic shortboards of the Slater era 90's it was like being set free to have a surfboard that paddled and did not require constant pumping to stay moving.

He drew a bunch of crew around him due to the singularity of his design theories, charisma, intensity and fierce purist notions, leavened with the rough country humour of the track.
Geoff had a background in racing and had that jockey toughness about him- he loved that part of his upbringing. He was loyal and funny and very generous - at heart he wanted to help people and despite the bitterness he carried after being deceived over his business dealings he was an incredibly trustworthy man.

I always saw him as our version of Dick Brewer. They both came from speed pursuits- Brewer from cars, McCoy from the track and had the exactitude of extended apprenticeships behind them.
Brewer with the tool and die, McCoy as a ticketed pattern maker.
Both men were large personalities and cultivated siege mentalities which were of tremendous utility to them in their primes.
Enemies, real or imagined kept the mind focussed.

Geoff made very tight connections in Hawaii, particularly with Barry Kanaiaupuni who he held in the highest regard. He told me once that he thought BK and David "Baddy" Treloar were the only real surfers he'd ever met.

He hated the way the clothing companies took over the sport with the rise in surfing Professionalism- he had a particular loathing for what he called "fringe dwellers and parasites", which I assumed were the money men, chancers and spivs who saw in surfings early professional charge a chance to make money or advance themselves in some other material way.

He did feel some guilt and responsibility for his role in all that but in the second stanza of his life advocated for a simpler existence based on producing a superior surfboard that was custom built for an individual surfer.
Even though humbled, he remained very much a larger than life character. Always up for a chat, which often turned into a heartfelt conversation.

In the end he went to Tasmania to seek some solace and space from what Byron had become and was sorely missed.
They did break the mould when they made Geoff- he was a one-off and we won't see the likes of him again. Those who knew him will feel grateful for that opportunity.

Condolences to those he leaves behind. His two adult chidren, three sisters and wife Mieko.

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AlfredWallace Tuesday, 23 Apr 2024 at 6:41pm

Freeride76

Well spoken mate, thoroughly enjoyed your perspective, helped us with ours. AW

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GuySmiley Tuesday, 23 Apr 2024 at 8:26pm

Lovely words Freeride. My memory of Geoff is of the early’90s when I went into his Byron shop for a quick look see only to emerge perhaps a couple of hours later having sat down to share lunch and discuss his thoughts on everything from board design to the nature of the universe. Such a gentle and generous person, a deep informed thinker. Sad news indeed. My best wishes to his family and friends.

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BarbB Tuesday, 23 Apr 2024 at 11:02pm

Top write up FR. Thank you

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Yippee Wednesday, 24 Apr 2024 at 2:07pm

+1

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velocityjohnno Tuesday, 23 Apr 2024 at 11:28pm

Thank you for this FR. Geoff was always kind, intelligent and polite in our interactions with him. The Lazor Zap is the most advanced and radical single fin I've ever ridden, in a surfing life that has been very heavy on single fins of all kinds. It's the most radical board I've ridden of any number of fins, to be honest. He's so right on the soft curves/lack of edge. The Zap can produce moments of absolute wtf how did it do that, lightning top turn snaps that will blow your mind, top to bottom carving and likes hollow waves. Look at it going well beyond vertical in the late 1970s and reflect that the WSL is paying turns that go almost vertical to 12 O'Clock in 2024. I don't think I've truly mastered it but there's more time to try!

Ordered one for my son's 18th and the delivery van driver decided that this run was the run to decide to chuck the job in. Where was the board? Where was the van? It had vanished! Delivery day approached. Geoff went into bat for us (I can imagine how...) and the disappeared van was found after a search. The board got there a little late, but is a favourite of my son who comes back to it repeatedly. I reckon he surfs the Zap better than I do.

The quality of the finished boards was extremelty high so tip of the hat to Geoff's team - strong glass that has lasted, beautiful polishes.

The biggest shift in surfing in recent years has been the widespread takeup of longboards - these are predominantly traditional single fins. Hundreds of thousands of young surfers taking up single fin surfing - complete with soft rails. The Zap still sits at the apex of this performance.

Geoff - thank you for being there, thank you for your kind words, your help and the wonderful boards. May your spirit soar.

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blitz Wednesday, 24 Apr 2024 at 10:02am

Hey freeride - Did anyone ever find out what ever happened to the prick who did the dirty on Geoff those years ago? Or if he ever got any justice with that bloke in the end?

freeride76's picture
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freeride76 Wednesday, 24 Apr 2024 at 10:16am

Not to my knowledge.

udo's picture
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udo Wednesday, 24 Apr 2024 at 10:27am

Done Him ... The Cnut
He employed a business manager, who systematically accrued debt for McCoy. Geoff was eventually alerted to this when a long time business associate approached him asking when he was going to pay something on his outstanding account. Geoff telephoned his business manager from Sydney to ask what was happening and several hours later when he returned to the Avoca factory he found the manager gone and all of the accounts system erased from the computer. There were only two options; bankruptcy or receivership. The former was inconceivable to Geoff, as he had been raised to be a man of honour and integrity. He put the business, which was still flourishing, into the hands of the receivers and sold off all of his assets to pay his debtors. He then retreated to Byron Bay, his faith in humanity deeply dented. At that time it seemed to him that many people were happy to see this great man fall; maybe they could gain a foothold now that he was down.
https://mccoysurfboards.com/geoff-mccoy-history/

57's picture
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57 Wednesday, 24 Apr 2024 at 3:12pm

good read brother seems you knew him well.. thank you for sharing

Island Bay's picture
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Island Bay Tuesday, 23 Apr 2024 at 5:54pm

Very nice words, FR.

Any photos of that magic 6'3?

freeride76's picture
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freeride76 Tuesday, 23 Apr 2024 at 6:07pm

Possibly.
The board itself ended up in 2 pieces after someone borrowed it- I think I have a photo somewhere.

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Lanky Dean Wednesday, 24 Apr 2024 at 4:07am

Thanks mate !

stunet's picture
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stunet Wednesday, 24 Apr 2024 at 8:04am

You're wanted in the trivia thread.

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Paul Rooney Tuesday, 23 Apr 2024 at 6:14pm

Foam distribution, rail shape and hard edge - concepts that are chronically overlooked by many - RIP McCoy

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joeyjojo Tuesday, 23 Apr 2024 at 6:24pm

After riding his boards for years, I once had the "audacity" to ask Geoff to put FCS Plugs in my next board so i could experiment with some new Fin templates i was making. After 3 months of not hearing anything i rang up Mieko to touch base on the progress. The response; "Geoff doesn't want to make the board or any of your boards from now on". Made my own boards (Concave with an edge) from then on in and was quite surprised that i could actually do a cutty and hold a rail in the pocket!!!!!!!. Never Looked back.
He still churned out a nice board though.

I sometimes secretly wish i was a cranky old bastard that lived buy a single belief of being right all the time ;)

croca's picture
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croca Tuesday, 23 Apr 2024 at 6:36pm

Geez mate ,
Going by that comment I reckon you got your wish . Show a bit of compassion when others are hurting . Maybe have a good hard look at yourself as well.

joeyjojo's picture
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joeyjojo Tuesday, 23 Apr 2024 at 7:39pm

Why should i take a look at myself! Compassion and respect is all that is all that was given to him! It was a personal antidote from someone that spent a lot of time with him. And people that spent time with him will know what i'm talking about.
If you want something along the lines of, "he donated all his money to charity" or "spent time at the dog adoption centre caring for puppys" that wasn't him!
He was a good bloke and lots of people loved him (including me), but he was a cranky old bastard! take that at face value.

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canetoad Friday, 26 Apr 2024 at 4:35pm

I get what you mean. Knowing Geoff really well. We could all point each others faults out and no disputing Geoff had his, which were pretty funny at times ! I guess time and place. When everyone and family are grieving. Thats it.

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Alana_a Tuesday, 23 Apr 2024 at 10:13pm

I loved his story. Thanks for sharing

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Andrew P Tuesday, 23 Apr 2024 at 7:01pm

Riding my single gull fin McCoy taught me the difference between speed and momentum; fluid and flow. I’ve never felt so comfortable in barrels as I have on it. No sharp rail to dig or concave to suck you up the face. Just a passive outline, stable platform with a wide tail to accelerate off the foamball and out onto the face. Me and my brothers ordered a few boards 8 years ago cos we heard he was hanging up the tools from one of his disciples (Chris F.). Shame he didn’t get time to enjoy a long retirement but you could tell he loved putting boards under surfers’ feet and smiles on their faces. RIP Geoff

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zenagain Tuesday, 23 Apr 2024 at 7:33pm

Beautifully written Stu and nice words above Free.

I can honestly say I've never had much to do with Geoff McCoy boards other than to know he stamped a place in Australian surfing history. I do remember as a young school kid, face pressed against the glass, wondering what alien mother ship sent these strangely beautiful pods down to earth.

RIP Condolences to family, friends and loved ones.

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gggiiibbbo Tuesday, 23 Apr 2024 at 9:20pm

One day in 1986, my Junction flatmate Jonno - chef & killer trumpeter - & I went surfing down at Blacksmiths. He took his near-new Zap. I was riding a sleek Sheeley thruster & was openly scathing of the fat-arsed McCoy. Until I rode it. I couldn’t believe how smooth it turned and how quick it was. Humble pie was consumed. Superb board from a legend of our sport. RIP.

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radiationrules Tuesday, 23 Apr 2024 at 9:30pm

RIP GM..and such an erudite and broad brushed piece of journalism on his artistic works. A true innovator. Thanks Stu.

udo's picture
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udo Tuesday, 23 Apr 2024 at 9:48pm
bbbird's picture
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bbbird Tuesday, 23 Apr 2024 at 10:16pm

The artist, designer, craftsmen, benefactor, Geoff McCoy, RIP .
The fastest jet plane was / is a delta wing triangle, designed from 1956.
The fastest aerodynamic shape is the teardrop due to friction / gravitation.

So the stiff turning down the line 1970s singlefin board, became the egg for tighter turning, that evolved into the tear drop in 1980's for pivoting from the fins and slowly morphed (yrs later) into the modern board shape many ride now around the world... amazing efforts.

A "fundamental component of the original Thruster model was the pointed nose adapted from Australian shaper Geoff McCoy’s “no-nose/needle-nose” model, which reduced the Thruster’s surface area on the foremost section of the board while increasing the curve of the planshape, counterbalancing the stiffness of a fin-laden tail."
https://surfsimply.com/magazine/the-history-of-surfboard-design-simon-an...

Meanwhile, working from a foam filled factory sponsored kids still in school, whom then became Australian & world surfing champions like; Mark Warren, Mark Richards, Larry Blair, Pam Burridge, Cheyne Horan and Damien Hardman.

Many couldnt ride the "loaded dome" surfboards because they were so fast and so loose...


Cheyne Horan "One cloudy, windy afternoon Pipe was 10-12 foot and barreling with only a few guys out. I knew the take off spot and I got in relatively easy, dropping in vertically on edge and making it. After a few it felt like a beachbreak so I started to try and hit the lip. One wave I went up inside the corner of a tube and rode on the roof almost upside down and turned and flew onto the face - it was insane. Gerry Lopez was paddling out and saw it happen, he later said it was "the most radical turn he'd ever seen out here."

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BarbB Tuesday, 23 Apr 2024 at 10:59pm

The surfing in this video, particularly the opening waves, looks like 1980 and is so freaking advanced. The tube stalls and stuff are so radical & out of this world. I think most people want to praise surfers that surf the same as them (drawing the same lines) yet in a much more advanced way. But because most people cannot even imagine surfing the lines of Cheyne, they are blinded into a denial of his supernova greatness. The speed on the wave at 30 seconds into the video is incredible. 1980 although the board is not a zap due to its narrow tail (unlike the needle nose at the start of the video). The rocker on the board generating so much speed yet turning on a pin is amazing. Geoff McCoy shaped this amazing board.

frog's picture
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frog Tuesday, 23 Apr 2024 at 11:34pm

Cheyne was such an athlete. Speed, control and reaction times in that video are amazing. On the downside the cutbacks on the Zap never seemed to be deep on edge rail turns.

Over the years I have read some accounts in forums of Cheyne doing some super futuristic stuff in those days (one story at big Terrigal?) and have hunted for video of that period but mostly just found what you have linked above. Given his talent I believe the stories. It would be great if people could dig some new stuff up.

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BarbB Tuesday, 23 Apr 2024 at 10:26pm

Sorry to read about Geoff's passing. The article seems to take some chronological leaps. Christmas 1979 I acquired a McCoy, with small swallow tail, one fluted flyer with V towards the fin, like having channels. This was the best board I ever owned in terms of time & place. It was a magical board. When I got it going, i could do consecutive 12 oclock backhand reos at will (and I wasn't a particularly great surfer). The best surf i ever had in my life was on this board at Sandon Point. I don't have a clue what happened that day but i was in the zone and doing these high speed high arc cutboards back into the lip. My most memorable surfing sessions were on this McCoy. These boards were state of the art. Anyone could ride one, particularly many hot surfers. The Lazor Zaps in the photo here look to be from 1983. The McCoy boom started eariler and was not based on these Lazor Zaps. In 1999, when I returned from a secret mission, a mate took me for my first surf in years. I happened to ride a McCoy Loaded Dome high performance thruster. The surf was quite solid and super offshore and I recall my final wave where I somehow made this drop falling out of an offshore lip and this McCoy loaded dome truster with the thick rail simply slotted perfectly into the bottom turn and then before i blinked I came flying out of this wild tube with my eyes bulging and i didn't have a clue what was going on. This other surfer saw me and was laughing so hard. It was like a kook somehow made it into a wild barrel and came flying out. Geoff McCoy could certainly shape a surfboard, which is why he was/is a legend.

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frog Tuesday, 23 Apr 2024 at 11:23pm

My late 70s McCoy single fin (6' 2") had that same one fluted flyer. It was a brief period when a bit of a swing back to singles from twins happened prior to the thruster. Used to do what I called in my head "spitfire cutbacks" on it on walled up waves - fast and flashy - maybe they were? Felt so.

One clear memory from about 1980! is being out at Crescent Head on a glassy sunny afternoon by myself! with a weird swell where it was totally flat for 10 minutes then two groundswell 4 footers would come through from some far distant low. Surfed it for an hour and a half or so with no-one twigging to it being other than flat. Casual checkers just saw this guy sitting in a flat ocean. Being alone I could take off on the perfect spot unhindered by the crowd, fly out on the shoulder and slash that McCoy as hard as I could back into the pocket. Finally 3 guys paddled out and just as they did I flew out of the peak slashed and then redirected in an instant and the tube threw out over me and they watched me staring at them out of the barrel. A fitting end to the session. A dime a dozen move for tens of thousands of hotties in 2024. Not so in 1980.

The video in my head can replay much of that session 44 years later. Thanks Geoff.

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velocityjohnno Tuesday, 23 Apr 2024 at 11:22pm

BarbB, we have a survivor with two flyers, one of them the fluted flyer. It looks very similar to the board Larry Blair was surfing in the North Steyne shootout with Wayne Lynch. That design is a good one!

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BarbB Tuesday, 23 Apr 2024 at 10:45pm

The PT-Cheyne 1979 story is PT's wildly known version and not Cheyne's version. Cheyne's version (also held by Rabbit and Derek Hynd) is there was still 90 seconds left on the clock, Cheyne paddled into the winning wave (which Rabbit said Cheyne did amazing things Rabbit never saw before) but Mark Richard's sponsor (who Jerry Lopez accused of things at Bolt) blew the horn and Cheyne' world title winning wave was disallowed. I guess the video below is the wave because the video it is from shows both PT and Cheyne surfing at the same time. How radical & heavy is 19yo Cheyne in this video? To think we were praising Jack Robbo for cutting back into a big barrel a few days ago when Cheyne was doing it in 1979. 19yo Cheyne in full MP mode.

?si=Y8ZL7k7rCcNgvL9c

Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean Wednesday, 24 Apr 2024 at 5:19am

Well I felt a few other sites, skimmed this topic,
So glad you guys went after it and did McCoy's story justice.
This is one of the most influential people in surfing.
Big thanks
VALE McCOY.

Terminal's picture
Terminal's picture
Terminal Wednesday, 24 Apr 2024 at 11:58am

There are other sites?

RIP Geoff. Condolences to all who knew and loved him.

Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean Wednesday, 24 Apr 2024 at 1:12pm

Nice one !

Clam's picture
Clam's picture
Clam Wednesday, 24 Apr 2024 at 6:22am

Amazing stories , RIP McCoy thanks Stunet, Steve and the other contributors

backyard's picture
backyard's picture
backyard Wednesday, 24 Apr 2024 at 8:26am

Great obituary. As Cheyne Horan said, that DNA is in everything being ridden now.

Aruba's picture
Aruba's picture
Aruba Wednesday, 24 Apr 2024 at 1:13pm

Got my first McCoy shaped board from Keyo in 1969. A 5'3" single fin double ender. I am 6'4" and at the time wondered if such a short board could work for me. In the year or so I rode it I had some amazing waves on it. Of all the boards I have owned since the mid 60's (over a 100), that board is one of the few that is burnt into my memory banks. Thanks Geoff for bringing joy to so many people and refusing to bend to the status quo. RIP mate.

drodders's picture
drodders's picture
drodders Wednesday, 24 Apr 2024 at 4:18pm

Sad to see him go, nuggets and a McCoy custom shaped mini gun are all I ride these days, fast, forgiving and fun in the barrel. Consistently the best boards I have ever ridden- the only ones where I forgot about the board (unless the waves are fat) thanks Geoff

drodders's picture
drodders's picture
drodders Wednesday, 24 Apr 2024 at 4:31pm

I tried a single fin with the boomerang shape, it only worked in very solid waves - thrusters all the way

saltman's picture
saltman's picture
saltman Wednesday, 24 Apr 2024 at 5:16pm

5 years ago I dropped into a friendly glassing factory that let me use their shaping bays, to check in on the progress of my last board
Couldn't believe my eyes - Sitting on a box next to the fridge covered in dust, tucking into his lunchbox of home made salad sambos. was Geoff McCoy,
I Smiled and said hello, he looked up and nodded.

Went home grinning on the inside to myself - I used the same bay as a legend.

saltman's picture
saltman's picture
saltman Wednesday, 24 Apr 2024 at 6:57pm

I saw a man with a spirit of knowledge and strength and very alive and committed in his twilight

julius.huszarek's picture
julius.huszarek's picture
julius.huszarek Wednesday, 24 Apr 2024 at 11:22pm

I've known Geogy since the Avoca days coming in and our of his life as recently talks on the phone when he bought a camper for him and Meiko. Then the recent move to tasmania ( sent me a pic of the place).
He was winding down and happy for it. I still have the nugget he made for me 3 years ago and personally signed it.
I'm so sad but so happy that I was a friend and will always remember those special but infrequent times we shared.
RIP Geoff and love to Meiko

canetoad's picture
canetoad's picture
canetoad Friday, 26 Apr 2024 at 4:28pm

Stu.
A good read. But as we know, a country mile short of this guys story. Geoff McCoy was a walking talking encyclopedia of surfing history. The stories he told me, of course, some which cant be repeated !
Passionate about what he did, he fought some battles in his time, maybe they took a toll !
People couldnt copy his shapes ! For whatever reason. They just couldnt do it !
The best boards i ever rode ! So glad i got to know you Geoff.
I feel privileged to say the least, to have known him.

NDC's picture
NDC's picture
NDC Friday, 26 Apr 2024 at 6:04pm

A sad passing for sure

Oftentimes innovation seems to come from Salty characters with a one eyed determination about the merit of their own innovations and Geoff seemed to be of that mould. One thing for sure - you can’t say Geoff and others like him take the easy way through life

I tried a loaded dome in the nineties after seeing an old friend rip on them. For me it didn’t work at all. I think this is also often the case with designs that push beyond conventional boundaries - they can deliver polarising outcomes under the feet of different surfers

Best regards to Geoff’s family, friends and customers

NDC's picture
NDC's picture
NDC Friday, 26 Apr 2024 at 6:06pm

Oh n thanks v much for the great write up Stu and FR for his post as well + lotsa other good inputs - thanks swellnet crew

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo Saturday, 27 Apr 2024 at 11:06am
Seaweed's picture
Seaweed's picture
Seaweed Sunday, 28 Apr 2024 at 1:31pm

The rocker and thickness of that board he’s holding look perfect.

Terminal's picture
Terminal's picture
Terminal Sunday, 28 Apr 2024 at 10:15pm

Yeah it looked pretty tidy.

Robwilliams's picture
Robwilliams's picture
Robwilliams Tuesday, 7 May 2024 at 8:42pm

tracks mag

?si=CrwxJ4RI3oHC9MBV

flow's picture
flow's picture
flow Saturday, 11 May 2024 at 9:09pm

Great thread. Thanks to all for the great stories. So how did Shane go at Waimea on the 5 8?

flow's picture
flow's picture
flow Saturday, 11 May 2024 at 9:21pm

*Cheyne

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo Monday, 13 May 2024 at 6:08pm

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udo's picture
udo's picture
udo Monday, 13 May 2024 at 6:19pm

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