Dan Mann in the Hotseat.

33 posts |
Last post
Dan Mann's picture
Joined: 06/28/2015

My name is Dan Mann and I'm going to be in the Hotseat.

I hope answering questions will be easier than to figure out what to type here....

like
31
Huck's picture
Joined: 12/07/2009

Welcome!  And thanks for joining us, and sharing.  Looking forward to it!

like
3
GregTate's picture
Joined: 03/18/2004

Thanks for sitting in, Dan.

Everyone please vote some points to Dan so we can get over the little minimum points thing. 

All the best

like
3

Personally I'm always ready to learn, although I do not always like being taught. - Winston Churchill

sk8ment's picture
Joined: 08/22/2013

How do we give him some points?

I REALLY want to talk to this guy....

Dann im trying to make my own version of the cornice and im heaps pumped on it.

Wont be as cool as the firewire one but hey thats ok.

like
0

@reclaim_surf formerly Skatement

(Adam) Sunshine Coast Queensland Australia

GregTate's picture
Joined: 03/18/2004

at the bottom of his post towards the left is an up and a down triangle. click it.  I think he is up to 7 now.  yes this a pain.  no I can't fix it.  but I think by this evening enough of us will have given him points to allow him to reply.  and yes, this should be very interesting.

all the best

like
2

Personally I'm always ready to learn, although I do not always like being taught. - Winston Churchill

GregTate's picture
Joined: 03/18/2004

Dan, looks like I get the first question.  Please talk about what you are riding as your personal go-to board for your home San Diego beach breaks.  ( I will immediately get one, ha, shameless suck up)

And, what keeps it fresh for you as a surfer shaper designer?

all the best

like
2

Personally I'm always ready to learn, although I do not always like being taught. - Winston Churchill

Dan Mann's picture
Joined: 06/28/2015

GregTate wrote:

Dan, looks like I get the first question.  Please talk about what you are riding as your personal go-to board for your home San Diego beach breaks.  ( I will immediately get one, ha, shameless suck up)

And, what keeps it fresh for you as a surfer shaper designer?

all the best

Hi everyone.  Thanks for having me.  

I'm in kind of a weird spot with surfing these days, so to narrow my go to board down to one would be hard for me.  I can say I keep 3 boards in my car all the time.  One is a recent version of the Unibrow I made in Australia.  It has the same outline as the UB but pulled in a bit and significant more rocker in nose and tail.  Its also about 1 1/2" longer than what I'd ride in a UB.  I ride it in surf with punch from waist high to over head.  The second board is another pretty new version of a short wide grovelor in the Potato family.   I love this board and ride it in anything soft up to a little over head.  The third board in there is a new spin on what I just did for Firewire called the Cornice.  The range of surf this design is good for is pretty wide.... wider than most categories of boards.  I feel like the whole side cut concept has legs.  All three are vac bagged with different combinations of carbon lay ups.

What keeps it fresh for me is traveling and believe it or not, paddling (prone) downwind.  I can learn a lot by trying out boards and designs on the extreme ends of things.  Like if I can get a 17' race paddle board to fit and work the way I want it to in swells then I feel like I will be able to get some of its features to work in longboards or guns.  I have a good friend who rides a 3'10" I made him and watching him push it on heavy waves in that extreme end of things keeps it fresh too.

like
0
gordof's picture
Joined: 05/21/2012

stoked you're on here dan! from what i read (maybe posted by Greg?) you're the man behind the sweet potato design. i have a 5'8" and LOVE that thing. it's my go-to board, so thanks for doing something fat and floaty but responsive for us weekend warrior goons who want a shorter board.

my question. the sweet potato (and possibly other designs of yours?) has a concave deck like a skateboard. i personally think that helps w/ grip and turn/rail engagement, similar to how a skateboard works or how a "gas pedal" on a snowboard binding works. why don't we see many concave decks in surfing? doesn't a flat or even domed deck require more toe/heel movement (wasted energy and slower response) to tip the board onto rail? everyone knows bottom shapes alter how a board turns, but why do you think there is so little focus on deck shapes where your feet are actually planted?

thanks so much!

like
1
Dan Mann's picture
Joined: 06/28/2015

gordof wrote:

stoked you're on here dan! from what i read (maybe posted by Greg?) you're the man behind the sweet potato design. i have a 5'8" and LOVE that thing. it's my go-to board, so thanks for doing something fat and floaty but responsive for us weekend warrior goons who want a shorter board.

my question. the sweet potato (and possibly other designs of yours?) has a concave deck like a skateboard. i personally think that helps w/ grip and turn/rail engagement, similar to how a skateboard works or how a "gas pedal" on a snowboard binding works. why don't we see many concave decks in surfing? doesn't a flat or even domed deck require more toe/heel movement (wasted energy and slower response) to tip the board onto rail? everyone knows bottom shapes alter how a board turns, but why do you think there is so little focus on deck shapes where your feet are actually planted?

thanks so much!

That's a cool question.  I know a lot of guys have spent a lot of time with deck shape under the feet.  I think the main reason it isn't more common is because we (surfboard builders) still have many unanswered pieces to the puzzle of why a great board works so much better than another average performing board of a similar design.  So, it may be overlooked simply for the sake of not adding yet another variable. The Potato boards I've done have a subtle concave deck.  Here again, I learned from going to the extreme end of a design idea.  I made other shortboards and a few longboards with deep concaves.  In those cases the volume lost by taking out the dome made me put it in the rails or add length or width, to the point the essence of what the original design started out being was lost or changed too much.   Pro surfers solve all these problems by smashing in the decks of their boards under their feet that the board might as well have a concave deck but only right under their feet.

like
1
gordof's picture
Joined: 05/21/2012

rad! thanks for the answer. makes sense for sure.

like
0
oneula's picture
Joined: 06/10/2004

Aloha Dan and welcome

since you've definitely been an out of the box designer for some time, can you go over your background and influences as a boardmaker?

be interesting to see how you got your start and how you've been able to remain so open minded in such a competitive and generic mass market industry.

allot of guys take cr*p for doing something different and sticking to their guns like GG, Roy, or Jim Richardson at Surflight. 

Meanwhile others become underground heroes like pavel/lis/greenough, mccoy/cheyne, morey

be interested on your take on being free to make what you want versus being accepted by the industry.

mahalo

like
3

"ain't no big ting brudda"

Dan Mann's picture
Joined: 06/28/2015

oneula wrote:

Aloha Dan and welcome

since you've definitely been an out of the box designer for some time, can you go over your background and influences as a boardmaker?

be interesting to see how you got your start and how you've been able to remain so open minded in such a competitive and generic mass market industry.

allot of guys take cr*p for doing something different and sticking to their guns like GG, Roy, or Jim Richardson at Surflight. 

Meanwhile others become underground heroes like pavel/lis/greenough, mccoy/cheyne, morey

be interested on your take on being free to make what you want versus being accepted by the industry.

mahalo

Hey, Oneula, thanks for the welcoming.

I started shaping in 1996 by hacking a 12' board out of 2" x 4" redwood.  I shaped some foam boards right after that and really enjoyed the sculpting aspect of it.  Stu Kenson let me use his room at Diamond Glassing in SD.  I got started there and friends wanted boards even though the shapes didn't warrant them wanting them.  I had a few shaping rooms after that the best being one my brother in law and I made in an abandoned shed on a Navy base, right on the water.  Around late 2000 I wanted to make Mannkine into more of a business and at the same time I realized to really get to the next level I needed to do the glassing side of a board too.  My wife and I spent all our money on a glass shop in SD called Northwind Glassing.  That lasted for 5 years and I learned a ton about shaping, the board business and obviously glassing.  With the help of my other brother in law we were able to do contract glassing for Merrick and Rusty and a few other heavies.  I did some ghost shaping for about 3 years for Merrick and enjoyed doing work with someone on that level... he wouldn't say a whole lot but he still had a way to drill ideas into my head.  I sold my business to Firewire in early 2006 and started working for them first as the guy getting them set up for making their boards in the U.S.. then luckily that changed to doing mostly shaping and assembling the multi step blanks as well as helping a bit with glassing.  That was a wild time where I learned a lot more about business and boards on a crazy new level.  

During all of this I paddled prone boards.  Before I got into making my own I paddled Eaton boards.  That was unreal because I got to know him and learn from him.  He is a living legend who did some incredible things for surfboards and paddleboards without pounding his chest at all.  He ran an incredibly smart business and retired to the Big Island.  He influenced me big time.  I also am influenced by my crazy friend Michael who planted the seed about making boards fly (like the America's Cup boats now do on foils).  Even if I can take one small step towards this I'll be stoked because there won't ever be a crowd way way out there.  My friend Kish has pushed me into areas of creative design and I have benefited from him being around more than I could say.

As far as being able to remain free to create as well as make a living, I owe a lot of that to the relationship I have with Firewire.  They saw a place for my designs and trusted me at a time when other companies would not have.  Its easy for me to say now, but I believe if you stick to your guns and grind hard and listen to the guys who surf your boards then you can pick and choose the road you'd like.  Staying creative however you can is the key.  Getting out of debt and separating myself from being a consumer (as much as possible) has changed my life because I don't have to make as much money to support that stuff. I got my life back and I can stay creative.

I hope that answers your question.

 
like
3
drzoidberg's picture
Joined: 06/22/2012

Edit: better question

What're your thoughts on eco or green related construction methods? Better, comparable to traditional or currently inferior? Are or were you involved with the timbertek thing with firewire? I saw a potato model at the shop in timbertek and it looked really nice. 

As a side note, the baked potato looks awesome and the double agent is very interesting looking too. I like the foil on the double agent.

like
4

Boards shaped: 8

Dan Mann's picture
Joined: 06/28/2015

drzoidberg wrote:

Edit: better question

What're your thoughts on eco or green related construction methods? Better, comparable to traditional or currently inferior? Are or were you involved with the timbertek thing with firewire? I saw a potato model at the shop in timbertek and it looked really nice. 

As a side note, the baked potato looks awesome and the double agent is very interesting looking too. I like the foil on the double agent.

I think 'eco' boards are critical for us to truly start digging into.  The word 'eco' gets diluted by misuse both in and out of the surfboard world.  Right now we all have materials and processes to make boards last significantly longer (with better performance characteristics) than the lifespan of our current boards.  That would be an obvious place to start with the ultimate goal of a board made from what would otherwise become trash.  It seems very possible.  With more and more minds thinking about this now there's hope.

I didn't have much of anything to do with TimberTech.  To be honest, I wasn't into using more wood on surfboards and I thought it wouldn't work until I rode one.  Now when I ride Firewires I very much prefer the TT because of the performance.  

Thanks, drzoidberg

like
0
Huck's picture
Joined: 12/07/2009

What are your thoughts on concave bottoms? Single or double? Which type of boards benefit most from concaves?

like
1
mattwho's picture
Joined: 05/12/2014

Huck wrote:

What are your thoughts on concave bottoms? Single or double? Which type of boards benefit most from concaves?

Sir Dan,

Huck speaks for a number of Swaylocker's.

Would like to add that

in doing repairs I have fondled a number of Firewires.

can't fault any, just a study in what the big boys are doing.

No disrespect!

Please address Hucks query.

And through in any thoughts about 

single to double and vice versa.

Thanking you forward.

Best

like
0

I would rather be someone's shot of whiskey, than everyone's cup of tea.

www.mattysurfboards.com

Dan Mann's picture
Joined: 06/28/2015

Huck wrote:

What are your thoughts on concave bottoms? Single or double? Which type of boards benefit most from concaves?

Concaves are the easiest, most obvious way to make boards go faster by increasing the flow of water through the fins.  I think the wider the board the more benefit a double barrel (from around the mid point) adds to this flow of water.  I think with the really wide grovel boards the really deep double barrel and quad combo almost acts to divide the board in half lengthwise and gives those boards the feeling that they are more narrow than they are.  I also think it's best to leave the double barrel concave in the concave.  In other words, I think it slows the board down when you split the double barrel with 'v'.  

like
0
johnmellor's picture
Joined: 03/17/2004

Hi Dan - 

On a recent family trip to North Carolina I visited a shop in/near Wilmington (name?) that carried Firewires.  I checked out a few and what caught my eye was the rather extreme tail width on a few models with idiotic 'potato' names.  (WTF - they gotta have an idiotic model name these days, right?)

1.  Who the hell dreamt up those names and what was the marketing strategy behind them?

2.  Also... assuming the my eyeballing was even close, I'd guesstimate the tail widths to be somewhere between 17"-19" one foot up.  Is that more or less a standard with those designs or were those East Coast specific?

THANKS!

like
4
Dan Mann's picture
Joined: 06/28/2015

johnmellor wrote:

Hi Dan - 

On a recent family trip to North Carolina I visited a shop in/near Wilmington (name?) that carried Firewires.  I checked out a few and what caught my eye was the rather extreme tail width on a few models with idiotic 'potato' names.  (WTF - they gotta have an idiotic model name these days, right?)

1.  Who the hell dreamt up those names and what was the marketing strategy behind them?

2.  Also... assuming the my eyeballing was even close, I'd guesstimate the tail widths to be somewhere between 17"-19" one foot up.  Is that more or less a standard with those designs or were those East Coast specific?

THANKS!

Classic!  What's in a name?  I don't worry too much about the names but I fully understand anyone who has a problem with board model names, especially these days it seems to have gotten out of control.  Even back in the day they tended to be gimmicky and goofy.  Firewire guys (the management crew there) come up with the names for the most part.  The naming of models whether you like it or not, is a part of the game in that part of the surfboard world and seems here to stay for quick and simple reference and identification both inside the company and the marketplace.  The 'system' depends on it, really.  I always struggle when I make boards for myself and people ask me if its this or that model.  It is almost never REALLY this or that so I don't know how to answer.  The series of Potatos got started with the first of them, the Sweet Potato, simply because of its outline being what it is.

Your eye is right on.  For example, the 5'5" Baked Potato has a 18 1/2" wide tail @ 12".  That is the standard for the model, it doesn't change for East or West Coast or even Australia.  The tale width became manageable for a wide range of surf and surfers when the rocker and bottom got dialed but really what set the concept free was going to a quad fin set up vs. a 2 fin.

like
1
tej's picture
tej
Joined: 06/29/2004
Hi Dan What's your thoughts on the future of materials, and construction? Your personal quiver sounds the kind of achievable tech that backyarders are tinkering with.
like
1
Dan Mann's picture
Joined: 06/28/2015

tej wrote:
Hi Dan What's your thoughts on the future of materials, and construction? Your personal quiver sounds the kind of achievable tech that backyarders are tinkering with.

Like I said on an earlier post the future has to include (very soon) first, a board that lasts WAY longer, especially for the pros who blast through 100+ boards a year.  Then for the sake of board builders they have to be made out of less toxic material.  This in turn will be better for the life of the board for the world it comes into contact with once made.  The best way to achieve this is to include a change in process especially for the mass produced boards.  With a much more refined process (like vac bagging) builders are able to use much stronger materials, more efficiently and that are less toxic and yield a better performing, lighter and longer lasting board.  The hand lay up process wastes a lot of material and limits the range of usable material (fabrics and resins) to those that work well for the laminator (which is a super hard skill to do even with the 'easiest' material to use).

My boards and vac bagging is very doable.  The trick is for mass production* to be able to know how to do it in a cost effective way with minimal waste.  There are many tricks for this if there's a will to dig into it.

*The reason I keep bringing up the mass produced board and pro boards is simply because of the sheer number of boards out there that come from this part of the industry.  Back yard guys or small production crews are inherently more efficient.

like
0
sk8ment's picture
Joined: 08/22/2013

love your work on the cornice....

like
0

@reclaim_surf formerly Skatement

(Adam) Sunshine Coast Queensland Australia

BarrySnyder's picture
Joined: 02/21/2009

Dan,

Always respected your outside the box approach to surfboard construction.

What do you think the future of surfboard construction is?

Materials and design elements.

like
0

Barry Snyder

Surfboards made by hand. Not machine.

http://barrysnyderdesigns.com

Instagram @barrysnyderdesigns

Dan Mann's picture
Joined: 06/28/2015

BarrySnyder wrote:

Dan,

Always respected your outside the box approach to surfboard construction.

What do you think the future of surfboard construction is?

Materials and design elements.

Thank you.

So, besides new processes like vac bagging and others more advanced,  I think carbon, Kevlar, other fabrics both synthetic and plant based will be in boards.  I love the idea of wood but the process needed to produce a high performing board (which is what most people want) is extensive and costly.  The Timber Tech Firewire does is really insane and what made it achievable for them is that it fit into the process they already had in place.  I hope someone comes along with something super outside the box and unique that checks all the boxes.  What may be the best answer probably lies outside the industry and if that can be joined with the right person or group within the industry then it could be made to work.  The two need to go together, otherwise something like shapes or function in some other way will inevitably be compromised.

Not sure if you mean to ask what the future of design is but we are limited only by what we already think.  If we can get outside of our habitual thoughts we'll come up with an infinite number of new designs.... there's really no end to it.

like
1
stoneburner's picture
Joined: 12/30/2007

Dan Mann wrote:

If we can get outside of our habitual thoughts we'll come up with an infinite number of new designs.... there's really no end to it.

Amen

like
0

Swaylocks Surfboard Design Forum: thoughts & theories ... practical & theoretical

RAIL PROFILE http://bgboard.blogspot.com/2014/03/march-82014-afterr-seeing-recent.html

Dan Mann's picture
Joined: 06/28/2015

sk8ment wrote:

love your work on the cornice....

Thanks!  Its cool to have something look so different work so well.

like
0
sk8ment's picture
Joined: 08/22/2013

~~That video someone has shared below is what got me fired up to make a "version" of the cornice. One thing I have noted with the cornice is the way the tail has evolved. From the ones in that video to the production ones that guys are doing reviews one. The new production ones have a round almost circular tail. The carbon one you're riding has a different tail and I have based my version on it. I don't really know how to describe it. So I will attach a pic. I’m hoping that the less round tail will help with a more instant speed. Do you still ride the one from the video with the "not so rounded" tail? How would you compare them? Why do you ride the one you ride? I included the current pic of a firewire with the rounder tail.
Also you were saying earlier that a double concave is better through the tail, but when i use the freeze frame on the "shredshow" review of the cornice the last inch or so seems to be almost flat....
BTW I’m just waiting for a mate of mine to finish setting up his shape 3d compatible machine to get it cut from some block M grade foam.... I can’t wait, but he’s in hawaii for another two weeks ;( I know M grade is not ideal but it's all good for me to play with.
 

like
0

@reclaim_surf formerly Skatement

(Adam) Sunshine Coast Queensland Australia

Dan Mann's picture
Joined: 06/28/2015

sk8ment wrote:

Do you still ride the one from the video with the "not so rounded" tail?

How would you compare them? Why do you ride the one you ride?

Also you were saying earlier that a double concave is better through the tail, but when i use the freeze frame on the "shredshow" review of the cornice the last inch or so seems to be almost flat....

I'm actually onto a new version from the designs you speak of.  Its best if I keep going onto more new ideas as the come, whether they work or not.  After the ideas are refined (which takes a lot of time) then FW decides if they want to release them. The board in the video had a little more top end speed but a little bit less control than the one we released.  I made a lot of different versions during that trial period.  

The concave goes out the tail.  The only thing I can think of with what you saw there is lighting or maybe its just subtle enough that its not really showing up?

like
0
pirate_agenda's picture
Joined: 12/21/2010

Dann, 

Have been into your designs for a while, my first shape was a 5'1 inspired by the sweet potato when it first came out! 

Without ever having put a tape over your boards, your shorter boards fins seem to be set way back. How far back are they? granted they provide some hold for such wide tails, but do you ever find that they make the board feel too tracky then pivoty on the tail and not drive through turns? 

I have encountered this on a couple of boards i set the fins back on, do you have any tips to counter this pivoty/tracky feeling? 

Also I have notcied a lot of your boards with curvier outlines and fairly wide tails have a pin tail. is there any reason for the pin, and not a thumb style tail other that asthetics. Normally pin tails are associated with narrower, pulled in outlines for solid waves.

like
0
Huck's picture
Joined: 12/07/2009

here's a video I found on the cornice that I thought some might enjoy in the context of this thread

The Cornice from Firewire Surfboards on Vimeo.

like
0
artz's picture
Joined: 02/01/2007

After watching that Video it occurred to me that The soft wear used in designing those wind turbine blades would be good for doing design and analyz Fins and Fin systems. Dan Do you have any thoughts on This? ins  

like
0

According to Mikki Dora Malibu went to the Dogs in 1964. The Chumash Indians will tell you it was 1664.

GregTate's picture
Joined: 03/18/2004

Dan, I'm heading to the left hand points of Peru.  Which of your boards (your designs MannKine, or your FireWire designs) would suit for that type of wave. I am assuming speed will be needed.  I'm a goofy footer if that matters.  Many thanks

all the best

like
0

Personally I'm always ready to learn, although I do not always like being taught. - Winston Churchill

johnmellor's picture
Joined: 03/17/2004

Dan Mann wins Catalina Paddleboard Classic on self designed paddleboard...

http://www.easyreadernews.com/108647/mann-wins-bumpy-2015-catalina-classic-on-tiller-less-paddleboard/

 
like
0