Do you match rocker to the wave or the rider?

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DougSchuch's picture
Joined: 03/22/2004

Pinhead, I think you've asked some questions that have as many answers as there are surfers to verbalize them.

Here's my take: Surfboards are made using a combination of mechanics, science, and pure subjective "feel". The end product is a piece of functional sculpture. In my opinion a surfboard is a pure form: There is nothing there in the form that is not needed. It's all functional.

When you talk about what board is right for some individual guys in certain conditions, then just open up the box labeled, "All Variables, Combinations, and Possibilities". Each guy will feel the board under his feet differently and will have different abilities, sense-of-balance, and freedom of expression than the next guy.

Bottom line: Each person has to try some boards and decide for him or herself what makes it fun. After all, I think surfing is a bit like dancing, and we all hear our own music. Doug

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DaleSolomonson's picture
Joined: 03/18/2004

pinhead,

Doug and Jim said it well.

Unchanging, solid, fixed dimension surfboards cannot be made to correspond exactly to waves.

In contrast, the nature of waves is continual fluid change in size, power, shape and texture.

It`s all about the alchemy of design compromise, subjective preference and surfing skill.

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HerbSpitzer's picture
Joined: 03/18/2004

Rocker formula:

ht.&wt.+ability/experience+boardsize/board design+wave performance = rocker/foil

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LeeDD's picture
Joined: 03/18/2004

Good advice from guys in the know above
My only addition is that a rider's preferences, when you ask him what he likes in a surfboard, what he likes to DO on a wave, what his worries and concerns are, what he wants solved by having YOU shape him a board.
I've made plenty of "bad" boards for plenty of surfers, but almost every one of those guys went on to order another one, because their specific "needs" when talking to me where addressed and solved by my board.
Sometimes guys want more speed, so you flatten the rocker and increase the hardness on the rails.
Sometimes guys want more paddle ease...you know what to do.
Sometimes guys want more big wave performance...add the above, some more rocker, make it bigger and narrower
That's the nature of custom boards...you gotta talk to the surfer and ask for specific needs and changes from his last board, then LOOK at his last board, and go on from there with your experience and know how.
Just my take, everyone is different.

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SOUP's picture
Joined: 03/18/2004

how about: use the same blank for each with differences measuring about 1/8", make the little kid's board thicker, flat bottomed and with extra flip in the nose and tail, make the teen's board with slight double concave and narrower rails, and make the old guy board with less nose flip, wider nose and tricked-out rails.

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LeeDD's picture
Joined: 03/18/2004

what'sa tricked out rail?
why wider nose? A wider TAIL catches waves easier
Shouldn't the grom get a thinner board?
I assume when you say "narrower rails" you really meant thinner.

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SOUP's picture
Joined: 03/18/2004

i was thinking the little kid might be a weakling and extra volume might help him catch waves but up-and-riding he didn't need extra planing area so give him more rocker, the teenager likely doesn't mind wiping out and so the thinner rails might be fun, and the old goat might need paddle power so reduce the rocker and as part of the package make the nose a tad wider to reduce pearling. i am not sure what tricked out rails are... maybe a continuous blend from soft to hard, or real hard in the back 36" but softened with just one pass of the sureform, or something. please advise.

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LeeDD's picture
Joined: 03/18/2004

Gotta love the idea of designing and making surfboards!
There is no wrong, no right, and certainly more than a couple of hundred ways to make good riding surfcraft.
I've always liked to talk to people about their surfboards, their likes, dislikes, gray areas, and also, don't cares.
Such a unique and personal world we are involved in, I hope it never changes!

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HerbSpitzer's picture
Joined: 03/18/2004

..................Everything GOOD is bad........................Everything BAD is good.


..........Herb

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Pinhead's picture
Joined: 03/19/2004

Thanks everyone - I shall meditate on these paradoxes

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Fairmont's picture
Joined: 03/20/2004

This is about the only area of surfboard design in which I feel I have some credibility, if only by personal experience.

I think rocker is abused, even to this day.

Most people will agree that the nineties saw too much rocker in the shortboards (and even the longboards), but nobody is really making that big of an improvement on that mistake. They are just taking out that once-popular nose flip.

I am of the opinion that less rocker can be beneficial in steep waves, as well as mushy surf. Why? Because you get in earlier. I have an 8,2 that Jim Phillips shaped for me that was made from and 8,3E blank. I had them take off two inches of nose rocker, from center, leaving the nose rocker at 3.5 inches. That's pretty low, and I had doubts. My doubts were confirmed by a couple other shapers I asked who said, "ooh, too much taken off." In fact, that blank had never had that much rocker taken off (according to Clark's sheets) and so I figured I blew it.

Phillips shaped it into the best board I ever owned. I don't ride it often, and it isn't my favorite board to ride (because I prefer shortboarding most of the time), but it is definitely my best board as far as shape is concerned. It gets in so early it's disgusting. It is only 8,2, remember, and not especially wide or thick, but it keeps up with the ten foot tankers at San Onofre. And the real kicker is that it keeps AHEAD of the shortboards at Blacks. The board gets into hollow waves so early. Everyone I meet asks about it, and I try to get as many people to ride it as possible. It is incredibly fast.

The funny thing is, that nobody trusts me when I tell them how little rocker is needed. They want to copy the board, and I tell them to get an 8,3E and take two inches off the nose rocker from center, but they never do. They just can't bring themselves to do it (usually because their shaper talked them out of it), and so they don't get the same board. Of course, it helps to go to the right shaper.

My favorite shortboard has very little rocker throughout, and to make up for it, the board has a very curvy outline. It turns just as easily as those skinny things with the flipped noses, but carries through the flat spots.

My favorite shortboard, although I am going to get heat for admitting this, is a Rusty Pirannah (6,10). Because of the design, it is as fast and loose as boards six inches shorter. I have never surfed as well on a shortboard in my life as that board. I bought it on a whim (first off the rack board in twenty years) and don't regret it.

I don't always agree with Rusty's thinking about the business end of things, but shaping? Got to give the guy his due. He rips.

Rocker? We can all do with less. Because less is more.

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ambrose's picture
Joined: 03/18/2004

match the rocker to the decade...too much rocker in 1963 pushed water and couldn't trim out on the nose,1973 too much rocker made the prawn go too straight back up at the pipe,then simon cut off the tails and stuck on multi's .1983 I stopped paying attention ...maybe... slalom boards...rockered boards got passed at the flats and got sent back to wave sailing,1993 the 10'4'' rawson wouldnt make the flat rock and it got sent back to rocky point where up is good...down the line or up an down...make a choice...gremmies like to turn a lot givem rocker tradesmen? like to make waves after they begin to surf faster waves...flatter can tighten up the grind in the turn...if the trade they in like to wabbo den geevem rocker...if they old and like to connect the boulavards then givem sunset blvd. rocker ,or the rocker dictated by the specific boulavard rocker manuel...hey Manuel.how much rocker for la avenida de las Pulgas? if the avenida went to the sea we would know perhaps with a wave cannon...that fantasy would have to be special effects or halucinagenics ...I always dreamed that glass could make some waves so happy my grandfather made me a rocker it was a horse named happy the rocker was a 2x6 with a big flat spot in the middle ,,, ahhh but I digress... ambrose...then we rocker the nose & or tail every 3 years..rocker cycles ... there is no end

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ambrose M. curry III

grasshopper's picture
Joined: 03/18/2004

No rocker is fast - if you like going straight. Not everyone wants to surf really fast down the line and some people are so good they do not need flat rocker to go really fast down the line anyways - a good example is Lance Burkheart. Chandler made him a board built for speed but he didn't want to just go fast - he wanted to get radical and do a lot of turning and hideous slashing in and around the pocket. He needed lots more rocker. Plus on Chandler's board, the nose was too thick. So the flat rocker is not everyones preference. But Rick Kane went off with the old man board built with a single fin mentality.

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ForestFisher's picture
Joined: 03/24/2004

>> Jim Phillips shaped for me that was made from and 8,3E blank. I had them take off two inches of nose rocker, from center, leaving the nose rocker at 3.5 inches.

Fairmont-- when you say, "take off two inches of nose rocker, from center" do you mean reduce the nose rocker by 2" starting from the center of the board?

Did you leave the tail rocker as is? (so it is 3.5n & 2.5t)

Did Jim Phillips adjust the rocker further when shaping?

I ask because, I am thinking about building an egg from that blank, and I want low entry for fast paddling and easy wave entry.

thanks
--4est

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jimthegenius's picture
Joined: 04/02/2004

You've made it a choice for buying a molded board. Every surfer is different, but all can adapt to the same board? But, individuality rules for MOST surfers. Front foot versus rear foot weighted riders, age, height, ability. Like the previous posts, the combinations are endless.

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