"et tu, Brute!" = Surftech Rusty @ ASR show

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oops started something then bailed
sorry guys.
well i did write a small essay on it but it got deleted and i don t want to write it again
but heres a story
one day out shopping in tokyo i was in a ski shop
i was wearing an old german army surplus jacket .it was really grungy and had holes .
i paid about 40 bucks aussie about 15 years ago and wore it alot .
it was basically stuffed .
anyway the shop assistant had to have it under any circunstances cause it was underground or something cool .so i swapped it for a brand new burton snowboarding jacket which would have cost me at least 300 bucks back in NZ
so SWEET. really scored on that deal ..
sophisticated market yes or kinda crazy and unpredictable.

.anyway the amount of tossers on the ski fields makes me wonder about the future of surfing as a sport .it was always pretty grass roots where i came from .Id hate to see a surfbreak full of gear freak yuppies with attitudes to match.Thats the fear of a big name surf company selling out to the popouts, whatever the tech.yuppies buying the latest model every year and filling up the carparks with SUV,s, while im getting pulled up by the cops again in my bommy old mazda.
a guy riding a bic mal the other day asked me if my superlight balsa composite mal was one of those "OLD DUNGERS"so i jumped off it into deep water held it up with one hand and waved it about a bit and said "UHUH they dont make em like they used to.."

on a side note .environmental issue could be a big driving force in the jpanese market.altough the the beaches are pretty dirty ,i doubt that the surfers are the contributers ..

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MarkSpindler's picture
Joined: 03/21/2004

Having slept on it, now I think my problem was that I was trying to maintain grassroots underground level. Maybe I just wantd to think I could live the contradiction. maybe I was just living a lie.

Maintaining that level of underground grassroots cool
and supplying the market demand is contradictory because
of the level of hands on reqired to make and package an underground product. Once it goes into machine production, it's no longer underground. That is where I think the difference is between underground and mainstream. Still just a guess though. Who knows where the real line is. Maybe it is differeent in every case or for every new product. Also missed the advertising boat. I made some mistakes.

The contradiction exists on so many levels. But mainly it was in my own head. I wanted success, but I didnt want to get big. I wanted big orders and was getting them, but putting them together was very monotonous boring tedious work. I need challenging work. I knew I needed to advertise, but feeding the mags made me want to hurl. Thre ewere other numerous peoblems I had no control over and also flat out accidents possibley the result of the pressure from all directions.

They say anyone can survive failure, but it is truly hard to survive success.

Anywho, anyone who has succeeded only to fail at surviving success and growth will understand. Maybe I'm still a little sensitive, but I thank everyone for allowing me to think out loud and my best regards to anyone who took a chance at giving the feedback. Parts of my mind re still an active hornets nest. Looking back I guess I should given advance warning in writing to my fellow Swaylockinas and even then then get a warning tatooed on my forehead. Hopefully the damage is not permanent enough to warrant that.

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wildy's picture
Joined: 03/19/2004

I don't think the majority of surfbreaks will ever be full of sophisticated and discerning surfers. Sure, people of many races will buy endorsed equipment, and clothes, and shoes, and hats, and you will see many in the carparks.

Real surfing is still about getting in the water and catching waves, an activity which still scares a lot of people, even though they love the scene and the lifestyle.

Sadly they don't know what they're missing.

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Pinhead's picture
Joined: 03/19/2004

I lived in Japan for the first half of the nineties. Based on my experience I'd endorse what Slim is saying about the Japanese market.

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Nels's picture
Joined: 05/21/2004

Quote:


Because I don't think there was anything unsophisticated about how I described their surfboard market (taken from my years living and surfing there and interactions with the surf shops and magazines there).




Based on a what a cousin told me from his seven years in Japan, that country indeed has very sophisticated consumers.

I'm not sure, however, but that "sophisticated consumer" genreally applied might be an oxymoron...it seems to me that the more one lives to shop the more vulnerable to fashion one might be. The absolute cutting edge consumer (Jeepers, another oxymoron?) might key off the hard core enthusiast, but that almost always dilutes by the time it hits the mainstream even in subcultures, frequently helped along by the hard core looking to make hay while the sun shines.

Here's a concept for Japan: Chinese-made acid-splash bellyboards! Cheaper than surfboards, pretty, and they travel on busses and trains much easier. Also don't take up much room in the apartment.
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Pinhead's picture
Joined: 03/19/2004

Quiksilver now own Ski/Snowboard maker Rossignol. A lot of composite R&D in skis. Quiksilver also make surfboards (in Australia anyway). If they decide there's a market for new tech surfboards and they need to squeeze more value out of Rossignol, you might see Quiksilver entering the market with new technology. That said, ski makers don't have a great track record, Salomon weren't hugly successful with the S-core.

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balsa's picture
Joined: 06/11/2004

Quote:

et tu, Brute!: And you also, Brutus. (Usually given as the last words of Julius Caesar, when he saw Brutus among his murderers.)



I was told: "Tu quoque, mi filii!"

And I would never have believed that I would use that someday in a surfboard oriented discussion... Swaylockians not only plane on a higher level, they chat on a higher level, too...
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hiroprotagonist's picture
Joined: 08/30/2005

aHH i I don't like surftech . . . it's very stiff . . . and for a longboard (which mine was) it just wasn't right. When I got a used Harbour, it was just more enjoyable (plus my skills were progressing incrementally). Plus when riding a wave, and the chop, surftech just bounces around. Sometimes that's cool, but you can get tired of it.

You have to remember that the top American shapers are running a business. I think it's weird, they are going the "microsoft" route . . . (taking a long time to bring quality improvements, using propaganda, knowing they will always have a place to stay did you know XP still uses same software architecture as windows 95?). Rather than seeking new ways to do things better, they just rehash old stuff to new.

This outsourcing stuff isn't new. But with CnC machines, the master (say Rusty and his top ghost shapers) come up with the design. The machine spits it out, and all it needs is the nose / tail block that the machine held the blank to be sanded off and someone to glass it. It's labor from that end. Unfortunately US labor isn't cheap, however it is high quality. But outsourcing to areas with similar quality . . . you can see it textiles, mass production lines ... stuff that requires doing the same thing over and over again . . . US labor in those areas are expensive (for the same output / quality etc) as compared to 3rd world. Plus outsourcing allows you to get past health / environment / standard biz practices rules, and basically make up your own . . .

Just like Information Technology. I think I must've lost 4 jobs because at $18/hr for computer techical support over the phone, most companies realize they go to India where people have good education and pay them at $5/hr, which rocks (for India standard of living) for them.

Rather than capitalizing on the strengths of the American worker and American workplace, they've decided to go cheap.

Look at Rusty's Ads. Foam Fiberglass Fabric Fun. They're going for the old PU is the way we've done it, so we'll do it the right way. Most of you know the stagnation surfboard industry is . . .

They (surf industry) didn't see surftech as a threat. Also several of their own were perpetrating in the mix.

But then came along China. World class at copying. Someone posted in another forum, that their surfboards were cheap. But then they have some knock offs of top shapers that look identical, right rocker, rails, tails , , , with excellent glassing.

Now they realize there is competition. There is a threat. But if you can't beat them, join THEM! Rusty's decided, we'll outsource. We'll use cheap labor they have, lessened restrictions on their soil, plus the Rusty name! Yeah, we'll get them!

Now everyones in a switch. See American surfboard shapers shouldn't focus on a weakness (cheap labor), and getting away from strict regulations and use that as leverage in the business place. They should focus on what makes America uber, use that as a leverage point. Like using new technology, the creative and intellectual skillz of Americans.

You don't fight the way the other guy fights best, like going toe to toe on cheap labor. You don't focuse on being able to flout environmental, government, societal etc rules, to build better and win. Dude, that's their strength. They will win. 3rd world n Cobra's strength is no rules and cheap labor.

You fight on a level you choose, using creativity, which they can't copy. You fight using well developed technology (computer, manufacturer, robotic, materials etc), which it'll take them 10-20 years to come around to, if that. You fight with the dedicated American worker, and loyalty to your cause . . . Nike starts paying 4 cents more and Cobra just lost its top car paint mixer. Does Cobra have access to people who surf and can give good feedback? But I hear America does have people who surf. YOu fight using creative and intellectual scope. Can cobra bust out chambered balsa? Or hollow boards al la Jensen. They wouldn't even know balsa if a block hit them in their face! Do they have nearly 100 years of surf background to draw upon?

I think in the long run this will hurt Rusty . . . And other American shapers that choose their business competition on the advantages that outsourcers posses

Lost is looking outside . . . it's good to do that . . . There's other posts in other forums how Aussie shapers get together and have pow-wow's and form shaping conglomerates and put $$ into R&D into surfboards etc . . . Maybe explains Bert's mad skillz? The reasoning is there are 'ghost' shapers that are well known in the ASP top 44, that are go to's for magic boards . . . Lost wants a piece of the action, since they don't want to improve technology wise or material wise, so they need new shapes to go along with it. Look at how they brought back the Mark Richards twin fin . ..

Anycase Lost realizes it can capitalize on this . . . using Aussie shapes . . . plus Lost doesn't have to spend much on R&D, they just wait for the Aussie shapers to do that, then allow them US market penetration and a chance to handle the shapes the top 44 so love.

But Lost is lost because they aren't really making themselves better. They've contained surfboard shaping in a box. Only hand shaping . . . and borrowing outside R&D, instead of their own . . .

I gotta give props to guys like Bert, Segway, Greg L etc for showing us other means of surfboard shaping . . . Like that long post on Flex . . . dang, that was good stuff. . .

Personally I think the surf industry can do better.

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johnmellor's picture
Joined: 03/17/2004

Does this... http://www.mfgratech.com/

Have anything to do with this?... http://www.avisosurf.com/

Or this?... http://www.bisect.com/

Note that Pope Bisect line up now includes shapes by Santa Cruz shaper Bob Miller. Also note that Aviso is featuring boards branded as "Lost", "Velzy", "Surf RX", etc...

IF, (big if) Gratech is manufacturing those boards, I would say they are as technologically advanced as anything out there. Hollow prepreg Carbon Fiber/Epoxy cured under heat, tuned flex patterns, etc.

The Aviso website claims to have workers experienced in composite "Radome" manufacturing. Gratech makes Radomes. I'm not sure if there is a connection. Obviously the hollow carbon fiber thing has been offered by Pope for at least three years now.

In any case, Gratech is USA and Lost, etc. are stepping up to the plate with high tech construction technology. Big question is will the surfing community embrace the new technology and open wallets?

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Nels's picture
Joined: 05/21/2004

Nice research selection, John. Writing as one who once was involved in the manufacture of small aluminum radomes using at the core basic Bronze Age forming technique, I can tell you the materials (composites) opened up the manufacturing methods and allowed the size of the potential product go from about a max of 8'-12' diameter to the advertised 180'! Huge!. Certainly design requirements dictated material usage in many cases, and material and manufacturing methods dictated cost/price, but it was a whole new world.

I would like to be kind and not mention the ominous ISO-9000 compliance note at the Gratech site, as I have issues with that whole concept when forcibly applied with a wide brush. However, for them to claim compliance or certification indicates a corporation which has serious resources and intentions. As customers require this now almost across the board, so to speak, it means the manufacturer maintains a core base competency the surf industry can only dream of. This is also part of the reason the governments buy $50 hammers and $65 toilet seats...the basic shop rates are high.

The Aviso and Bi-Sect websites are also great examples of how surf manufacturers should all be operating if they want to be more than mom-and-pop size. Their products are apparently among the most expensive in the surf world, but they show and explain why they are worth it. No Bro/Ho mojo advertising. No giving a starving dog a rubber bone. Also apparently no surfwear product line tie-in...

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shannonk's picture
Joined: 09/04/2004

with all respects---iso 9000?! give me a break, riding down the face of a wave, i could not care if the shop i got the board was iso 9000, iso 2000 , or whatever.if that was the case , in the future, surfboard companys would be few and far apart.

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johnmellor's picture
Joined: 03/17/2004

"In 2001 Cobra received ISO 9002 certification by Bureau Veritas Quality International (BVQI), and claims to be the only manufacturer of windsurf and surf boards to have this quality systems validation." (Cobra website)

Cobra International (parent corp of Surftech and the entire Global Surf line) has claimed ISO 9002 certification since 2001... as Nels points out, it can be taken with a grain of salt but does indicate some sort of commitment to maintaining quality control. Certainly Gratech, whether they make surfboards or not, adheres to strict quality control standards.

In the future, surfboards companies may indeed be few and far apart...

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Nels's picture
Joined: 05/21/2004

Quote:


with all respects---iso 9000?! give me a break, riding down the face of a wave, i could not care if the shop i got the board was iso 9000, iso 2000 , or whatever.if that was the case , in the future, surfboard companys would be few and far apart.




I'm with you - but in this era of consolidation and mass manufacturing it is an improtant conceptual thing to be aware of. First off, this is about manufacturing products, not retailing them. As such it pretty much will never apply to shaping, but certainly could have applications to glassing shops (really these are factories or job shops). There are a lot of beneficial things to the ISO world, but they require a lot of time and money to maintain and thus are relegated to bigger businesses. Thre is also a certain dehumanizing, lunatic thought process inherent in parts of it. For just one example, to be certified you have to pay thousands of dollars to outside auditors to examine you periodically. One of the things which you must be compliant in has to do with job instructions. The concept insists that you have detailed job instructions for every position, right down to instructing the secretary as to the proper procedure for turning on the computer. It insists that the job instructions allow anyone who is physically capable to simply pick up a manual, read it, and be able to perform the job duty...pretty much on the spot, if the auditor is a buggering wanker.

Again, this obviously isn't going to take over the surfboard shaping world, but there is significant potential for this to somehow get legislated into the glassing or alternate construction methods. City or county bylaws which might require ISO compliance or certification for glass shops to get permits...that kind of thing.$$$$. It forces the cost of quality/environmental complance/inspection onto the business.

Anyway, the new technology John's websites were about comes out of that world, seeking new sources of income. The technology itself is benign in a social sense, but the business concerns and background isn't Velzy Hip-pocket 101.
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shannonk's picture
Joined: 09/04/2004

nels , btw- i love your product, and im just the type of person to pay for a higher quality, higher PERFORMANCE, and higher durability product.why buy the same thing 4 times over? i and others have no problem plunking down ,lets say $1000 for a GOOD poly longboard, tints, polish , and all that, or other shape. but heres the problem, "or solution"the surfboard industry is starting to resemble the computer business of 10 years ago, or auto business 75 years ago, in that smaller firms got bought out, or run out by more savy outfits , with lower operating costs with better marketing etc.. do you remember the thousands of computer companies that would make you a pentium 100 , with a 1 gig hardrive for $3000 usd?, where are they today?. now it seams like there is just dell. hell you can go and pick up a kick ass system for $500 at wall-mart right now. next time your in wal mart check out how cheap they can make, ship, and make a profit off a mountan bike from china $75!!!! if they can do that with a fabricated steel product think of what they could do to the surfboard business ,yeah its low quality but they sell millions of them. surf -techs, nsp, china boards ,ron jons, blue, realm, and other imports are every where in the lineups , its scarry, in my area "florida" id say almost a 50% market share now,one would have to be totaly clueless to not figure out whats about to take place-------the writing is on the wall. ten years from now the ranks could be alot thinner

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lawless's picture
Joined: 05/21/2004

As for the Rusty Surftech, the only thing I'm surprised about is that he waited this long to sign on. Rusty at this point is just a "brand". The more things he can put his "brand" on the more money he can make. That's the bottom line.

shannonk, this comment seems off to me
Quote:

its scarry, in my area "florida" id say almost a 50% market shar

I'm in Central Florida and all this talk of pop-outs and Chinese boards taking over the market has seemed weird to me since I rarely see any Surftechs or many of the other imports you mentioned. I only know two people personally that have bought Surftechs, and they've both sold them after a few months of riding them. Quite the contrary, I know about a dozen guys who ride custom handshaped eps/epoxy boards around here. These are guys I personally surf with. I've been seeing ALOT more locally made epoxy boards lately as well from a variety of local shapers. Not that I think Chinese boards aren't here, it's just I don't see the numbers of people riding them that would warrant any concern. Maybe the proximity to the RR factory and the multiple shops in this area that solely turn out epoxy boards has isolated this area a bit.
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shannonk's picture
Joined: 09/04/2004

its all marketing, if the higher volume surfshops in my area, or someone elses push southcoast,bic,nsp, on all thier newbies, then thats what will start to slowly "pop" up in the local breaks.it all comes down to supply demand marketing. alot of the people into surf lessons etc..dont even know what they want untill they show up in the shop.in some other markets they could be pushing local or shop brands"good for them=)"they obviously have more class.it still kills me that some one can pull up to a surf shop to a $40,000 suv and then give the sales person a hard time over a $500 merrick or whatever brand. surfers can be so damn cheap

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gregloehr's picture
Joined: 03/22/2004

I've been seeing ALOT more locally made epoxy boards lately as well from a variety of local shapers. Not that I think Chinese boards aren't here, it's just I don't see the numbers of people riding them that would warrant any concern. Maybe the proximity to the RR factory and the multiple shops in this area that solely turn out epoxy boards has isolated this area a bit.

I have tried to make the point many times that given a reaonable choice, serious surfers will continue to spend their money on better domestically built custom equipment. Tech is the way to continue to survive and there is no other way at this time. Epoxy builders outside the "power centers" are expanding their businesses while the poly guys are struggling. Thanks Lawless for making my point.

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hiroprotagonist's picture
Joined: 08/30/2005

Hmm, one thing about this forum, is I've learned more about the surf industry and surfboard manufacturing than 6 months of reading other forums, surfing magazines . . . and some factors that go into it (such as flex, spring etc).

I was wrong about some points regarding Lost, I didn't know they were looking into carbon fiber stuffs . . . maybe they are looking into new tech, and alternate construction methods? Maybe they are thinking ahead and realizing how to leverage American strengths for competitiveness.

I have a question . . . how does these new composite boards use the flex, spring, torsion, shape, surfer's weight and type of waves . . . that Bert / Greg were talking about?

Only here have I heard about that. When I used to snowboard, other snowboarders spoke about flex and spring were spoken, as well as shape to different types of snow. . .

Also I noticed how they don't get 100% away from black boards.

One experience with a dark purple surfboard (even with blue label wax) and warm LJ waters . . . is enough.

Also I've noticed French's Surftech model is being used with Adviso's foray into the surfboard market . . . given their market share, it's a good biz model to follow . . .

But word of mouth is what gets people. Most of the products I'm loyal to are because someone swore up and down it was the bomb, and I tried it, and agreed with them (AMD, toyota, honda etc, Al Merricks . . . Harbour, sex wax) . . .

But $1500 for a shortboard? Even if it is new tech . . . I'd only plunk that kinda billz if I could demo it and I loved it . . .

Nels, I agree with you . . . surfboards are personal in that nature . .. I think why surftech is gotten a bad rap is because they aren't customizable . .. If shapers could get new technology that allowed customization that current pu or wood does ... It'd be easier to swallow.

What went across my mind when I came to the aviso site was hmmm I like the dims of that board, but like the fin system of that other model, and I like the shape of that one . . . I know I can get a Merrick my way, (but not right away) . . .

As for the ISO 9XXX stuff, I think it's good. Standards help define things, so everyone involved knows it. NASA had some FUBARs because of calculations that were borked due to Metric conversions ... You know the composites you're getting from ISO will have a certain level of quality, cost etc . . .

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speedneedle's picture
Joined: 09/18/2004

Looking at that Aviso site,

I'm struck by the radically different viewpoint it presents on flex and bottom contour.

They're saying that the deck is independent of the bottom, because the board is hollow,

...and that this is an advantage because the shapers intended rocker line does'nt change!

So does that mean your foot pressure never changes the bottom line?

Thats about as different from the sandwich composite flex theories as...

The Avisos are'nt "Composite" right? They have no core. There's no change in densities anywhere.

Hope nobody who does'nt like them does'nt have a cordless power drill...

Very interesting to ride, I'm sure, but as with surftech, the intention is to make more durable faithful replicas of "proven" shapes, by famous guys...

Who have only ever shaped in PU...

Whats the point of making a "Faithful replica" in materials which have entirely different characteristics?

Speedneedle

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wildy's picture
Joined: 03/19/2004

Just a comment on iso ratings for people who are interested and know little about it. The comments from other above are true.

It's easy to find out these things, but the numbers relate to different applications, development, production, manufacturing, different industries, etc.

The company I worked for received it's iso rating while I was there, and I had to develop our original workshop procedure. This procedure must include everything, from how and who you aquire materials, how you accept and undertake work, storage and use of materials, quality control, etc, etc, etc, etc.

All very good for a financially secure company who want to be recognised internationally.

After an exhausting auditing process, which I'm sure is also covered by some iso rating somewhere, I found out something interesting from the auditors, each of who were specialists in their own field.

Even though the company being audited complies fully with all the requirements, the iso rating does not guarantee that the product the company produces will work.

It will cover how it's made, who it's made by, when it was made, what it was made from, how it was inspected, who inspected it, how it was released, where the materials came from, etc, etc, etc, but does not guarantee it will work.

That was made very clear to me by seperate auditors, who I guess were doing iso rated jobs themselves.

Just something to keep in mind.

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Nels's picture
Joined: 05/21/2004

Quote:


As for the ISO 9XXX stuff, I think it's good. Standards help define things, so everyone involved knows it. NASA had some FUBARs because of calculations that were borked due to Metric conversions ... You know the composites you're getting from ISO will have a certain level of quality, cost etc . . .

I need to tidy up a couple of things on a quick hit here...don't have the time I used to anymore...

ISO ratings: Hiro comment above is absolutely right and illustrates probably the peak of ISO benefit...materials, components. Standardizes process when manufacturing long run products, eventually reduces cost (in theory this allows the business to reduce prices to icnrease their sales...this is the reason this is being mandated by Boeing and the aerospace people). If you buy materials from an ISO rated company, especially one which takes it seriously, you will have just about as much likelihood of good product/good business experience as you can hope for. Even the paperwork is audited: customer returns, complaints, resolutions.

Where the ISO stuff gets really hinky is when it is forced on manufacturing operations which really are more of a craft than a machine cranked assembly line. Handshaping a surfboard is a craft, one-off items. Scrubbing a machined blank is not so much. The Surftech thing is not a craft at all; the plugs all had to originate from a hand shape, which in general business would be called a prototype, but after that its all in the machines. Glassing businesses, on the other hand, are just the type of thing which could benefit from ISO operational procedures. The problem there is the cost of it- totally prohibitive. My earlier mention of this had to do with the ominous thought that local governmental entities might take it upon themselves to make that some sort of requirement in hopes of forcing all costs of inspection and compliance onto the business with obvious catastrophic results to the business. This gives the agencies plausible deniability - after all, they didn't force the glass shop to close...the shop owners just didn't want to spend the money to be certified ISO compliant ...everybody may surf these days or own surfboards at least but all the NIMBYs don't want to be near industrial work sites.

When you see any company with ISO certification you know you are dealing with a manufacturer on a level so far above 90% of all surf businesses that the "Bro's" can't even comprehend it, and they have the economic and technical resources to make an impact. That might be a good thing too, since all the material innovations in surfing since wood seem to have come from other industries first.

Marketing: I enjoy slamming the marketing aspect of surfing, mostly because it has been so richly deserving of almost every kick in the groin it gets. In general, with occasional exceptions, the marketing to surfers is an insult to basic human intelligence. It is the proverbial rubber bone being given to enthusiastic starving surf dogs. The surf media, in particular, has failed pretty much since the inception of modern pro surfing post Mark Richards, certainly since 1990. It isn't real journalism, at best is advocacy journalism, and really doesn't reflect "Surfing" as the huge majority experience it. I won't go into the economics of the thing, ties with advertisers etc. The websites John posted earlier were good examples of how a couple of new-tech surf equipment builders can use media/marketing to educate consumers about the value of their products.

Edit/add: The differentiating between "craft" of a hand shape and the blank scrubbing or Surftech aspects of board manufacture isn't meant to be judgemental on my part...this just illustrates a difference of process

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oneula's picture
Joined: 06/10/2004

Yea John
When I talked to Jeff Johnston he said they start at $1500 for a 6'2" AVISO so you gotta be committed.
But like he explained when the serious guys are looking at breaking 10-15 boards a year those numbers don't look bad at all..

But the new tech is expensive..
Kolstoff and Bisects are just as expensive as are the Hydroepics

As far as ISO9000 for those who don't understand
it means alot to the big money people if you're looking for investors..
How do you think Cobra can support such a big operation in such a finicky market such as sports lifestyle..
You want me to drop 10-20 million on your idea? well you better not be a BS fly by night operator like most surf shop operations look like to wallstreet check writers..

How many shops actually run on a well developed business plan and can bring a major profit week to week, month to month, quarter to quarter and year to year.. When you're using someones else's money to finance your lifestyle you better deliver or you're history just like all the other failed great ideas..

If you are an artist off course none of this matters, but then you don't care about the rest of the world anyway..

I like what Lost did with MR and Cheal.. getting those guy more exposure as well as their venture with Aviso but the question is why isn't he promoting Bert's stuff.
So you ask yourself there some type of ostrich head in the sand problem going on here or is there no validaty to the promise of the new tech.. Only Matt knows his motives as does everyone else not serving as distributor for "Surfburgers". When are they gonna show up on a rack some where you can touch feel and buy..

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"ain't no big ting brudda"

airframe's picture
Joined: 01/11/2005

John...

Nice job on your homework!

In my "day job" I work with communications systems along with microwave, fiber optics, digital transmissions and so forth. I only mention this because I have worked with many radomes of various sizes and shapes.

Having said that, I simply wanted to interject the notion that concludes one type of surfboard construction was better than another. I think one can see advantages in all types of construction, some are more complex than others, but the end result is still a surfboard! The end goal for me is to utilize materials and technologies applied in a different way to build a high quality well crafted product. I take a lot of pride, as I'm sure everyone does, when building a hand crafted surfboard or any hands-on product.

I think building a hollow surfboard out of carbon fiber and aluminum honeycomb is a challenge. Not only in building the board itself, but designing the shape, to building the necessary tooling and understanding the materials and lament structure. As with conventional board building, I am constantly changing and modifying the lament structure to better emulate the best flex patterns. Feedback from those that ride the board is imperative! All boards and technologies will continue to evolve if advancements are to be made. Mistakes and failures are just as important as the successes. The question I have is, who will be doing the development of the new technologies? R & D is very expensive and time consuming, so will the major players be willing to develop new technologies, or simply license shapes to others in order to make short term gains. Looks like a history lesson in the making!

The whole process has its challenges, but also has its rewards. Watching someone surf on something you built with your hands is a very gratifying feeling, regardless of what materials were used to make it.

I have rambled on a bit here, but only wanted to mention the fact that the Aviso, Pope, Hydro Epic and KOLSTOF boards are just different. The cost of production and materials is much higher and the skills are different, but in the end, there still just surfboards!

Ken

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gregloehr's picture
Joined: 03/22/2004

The question I have is, who will be doing the development of the new technologies? R & D is very expensive and time consuming, so will the major players be willing to develop new technologies, or simply license shapes to others in order to make short term gains. Looks like a history lesson in the making!
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Good question Ken...... It appears Nev, for one, will be sponsoring the R&D. Seems others should ...... why don't they?

Read an interesting article by Gordon Clark recently that stated one of the advantages the imports have is that they all have engineers on staff while the typical surfboard business in the US and Aus doesn't. Understanding simple composite engineering is an important aspect to advancing the sport. Some here have this basic understanding. In the upper echelon of board builders (the "leaders") these basics are unknown, the reason why they don't move forward. In some cases there are certain egocentricity's that don't allow these guys to hire someone who knows something they don't. In other cases the ignorence of these basic's does not allow them to see the value of this knowledge. In either case the sport suffers.

Then along comes a maverick who sees that moving forward might require more than one input. Watch Nev ........

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silly's picture
solosurfer (not verified)

Unless they outlaw poly or what it's made of, Epoxy nor any other high tech item will replace poly boards. New design is what has made the most changed in recent memory. The last major material change was from Balsa to foam. If epoxy or the new age stuff which has been around for awhile was going to replace it, poly it seems like it already would have.

Chinese and popouts will not replace handshapes for the same reason.


Instead, they have simply been woven into ever chaging and fadish fabric called the surf industry.

The latest major change has been back to older designs, not onward to modern tech.

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gregloehr's picture
Joined: 03/22/2004

And why would we all of a sudden be making older style boards? Because there is nothing new. Hasn't been in almost 15 years. Is creativity gone? Only until we have materials that allow for a future.

Talk about fads, how about retro fishes. Poorly designed versions of boards that rode like crap 30 years ago. We did a reasonably good job in the 80's at making twin fins work. Will Jobson then improved on those in the early 90's. So along comes the latest twinnie fad and they go back to a design that SUCKED! With none of the design improvments that actually made them work!!!!!!

It seems that epoxy would have overtaken polyester if it were indeed good enough? To bad almost NONE of today's leading polyester board builders have taken an even reasonably close second look after so many of the earier problems have been solved. But how can they when they don't own a glass shop??? Well that is accept in places where people obviously don't know whats going on. Places like FL and TX and West OZ where epoxy is part of everyones daily routine. What could those kooks know?

I guess since there has been nothing new successfully introduced since urethane foam, there never will be! Hundreds of years from now and everyone will still be riding retro fishes from 1970. Close those eyes real tight ..... there couldn't possibly be anything better than a good ole poly poopie. Except a Surftech?? Stick that head in the sand ....... Ride that Lawnboy ...........

Honestly, so much is out there for anyone willing to just look around. Hundreds of new materials, techniques and combinations all better than the status quo ............

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silly's picture
solosurfer (not verified)

Quote:


And why would we all of a sudden be making older style boards? Because there is nothing new. Hasn't been in almost 15 years. Is creativity gone? Only until we have materials that allow for a future.

Talk about fads, how about retro fishes. Poorly designed versions of boards that rode like crap 30 years ago. We did a reasonably good job in the 80's at making twin fins work. Will Jobson then improved on those in the early 90's. So along comes the latest twinnie fad and they go back to a design that SUCKED! With none of the design improvments that actually made them work!!!!!!

Beautiful....great post. I agree with you Greg. Retor Twinnies were crap when they were popular and still are. Same with Retro Singles. That crap did not work then and what makes it suck even worse today, is that we have designs that do work and can give you the same feeling and float as the retro junk.

My point is that the masses of surfers always think they know more than designers like yourself and others, because some magazine says so or one of their friends told them so, or even worse, one of the pros is riding one.

Here is a picture of the future:

Carbon Fiber vacume bagged surfboard by Steve Forstall. No the color is not painted on in any way. This thing is not only handshaped and available by custom order, it has all of the good qualities of being custom, all of the good qualities of Surf tech fake surfboard durability if glassed properly, and it can be painted any color you want without it being scraped off like a popout.

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Maraboutslim's picture
Joined: 05/08/2004

Quote:

Talk about fads, how about retro fishes. Poorly designed versions of boards that rode like crap 30 years ago. We did a reasonably good job in the 80's at making twin fins work. Will Jobson then improved on those in the early 90's. So along comes the latest twinnie fad and they go back to a design that SUCKED! With none of the design improvments that actually made them work!!!!!!

And yet these "sucky" boards are putting smiles on faces of surfers everywhere. Apparently, they do WORK, since the stoke is what it's all about isn't it? Or is it about some sort of measured performance on the wave, as measured by a top surfer who has conquered the ocean such that even pipeline is boring to him? that's certainly one way to measure things, and perhaps to score high on this scale one needs a board made of new materials.

But it seems to me that most surfers out there aren't really concerned with this sort of level of performance and are just out to catch waves, carve or trim down the line, and ride the nose or cutback or any of the things surfers have been doing for decades. They are interested in connecting to surfing's history by riding boards of various shapes from various eras shaped by the famous shapers and don't care if these shapers have any formal enginnering training or are just doing things how they always have done, the things that have brought stoke to thousands upon thousands of surfers over the years. If they could stoke guys in the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, and 2000s, there is no reason to doubt their boards won't do the same well into the 2010s and beyond. No?

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lokbox's picture
Joined: 04/10/2004

Good point slim, and your right. When i see real bad surfing on a fish it's almost always one of the super retro version made the same way they were back then. The more modern versions are way easier to ride even for a beginner. Correct me if i'm wrong but even good surfers had trouble with those boards back then. So are the kooks just getting better these days or is it the boards? Because i see all those smiles too almost everyday and i'm also pretty sure that's what its all about. How else do you explain all the shops doing so well with them at around $650? Part fad i'm sure, but enjoyment has a part in it as well. Today newport was double overhead barrels and it's building as we speak. Good thing I had my retro thruster design from 1981.

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Maraboutslim's picture
Joined: 05/08/2004

double overhead barrels in Newport? oh man, you're killing me! i thought i was lucky to get a few waist high waves yesterday up here. bring on those north swells, quick!

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lokbox's picture
Joined: 04/10/2004

"The latest major change has been back to older designs, not onward to modern tech."

Actually that was the second to last change. The latest change is going on right now.

Timmy Patterson just showed me his latest twin fin which is actually now his stock twin fin. Completely redesigned from the twin fin he was making 15 or 20 years ago. Modern shortboard type rails, modern bottom, computer cut, modern blank, redesigned fin template and 40z glassjob. The only thing old or retro about that board was the outline ( even that has been tweaked) and the fact that it has 2 fins(well actually he's added a tiny trailer fin so disregard that as well). He also showed me a fish that he wants to make into a quad that had all the same above mentioned modernizations done to it. Matt Biolas is turning some of his MRs into quads as well and tweaking the shapes around a bit. Pavels Keel fish and quad fish have been going through constant streamlining over the last couple years. Tomorrow i'm going to see Chris Christenson who has 10 quad fishies waiting for me and he is asking for modern fins so he can experiment with the boards. Doc at Surf precriptions does a fish with a bit more modern outline, single foiled fins with some cant and toed in 3/16ths. The CI fish may be pretty beefy when they get over 5'10", but they also use single foiled fins toed in a 1/4" with cant and concaved bottoms. Rusty is doing a keel Fish called the Mod (modern) fish. Racey outline, sanded finish, 40z fins that have quite a bit of flex that are toed and canted. I have a 5'10 Jim Phillips quad fish with beaded foam glassed with RR resin that weighs 4 1/2 pounds. Even the Hobie guys are trying to spruce up their fish and make it work a bit better. The most "retro" mass produced fish out there right now is probably the Kane Gardens which still have straight up and down, double foiled wood fins that don't flex and have very little toe in. Most others have moved on...

If you see a fish outline out there and just assume it's a throwback to the board you had difficulty riding way back when, you should just look a little closer and you'll see the changes. Calling them "old" designs isn't very accurate.

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lokbox's picture
Joined: 04/10/2004

BTW do any of those boards in epoxy and you knock off about 4 pounds of weight from what they were 30 years ago. That in itself is a major change IMHO. Also most of the boards i mentioned have way more modern rockers and bottoms (not dead flat) then they had back then which uh, cough cough...makes 'em work better!? Saying nobody is trying anything new is completely unfair to all those shapers mentioned. Sorry

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silly's picture
solosurfer (not verified)

I love alot of the more moder versions of retro and keep in mind. Every single thing ever made works to some degree. It depends on what your after in your surfing. Also some of the older ideas and outlines have never been improved on. The problem I see with taking some of those older designs and saying your putting modern rails and stuff on them by utilizing where todays thrusters designs are today, really does not improve the designs at all. What made most of them magic was the float, the glide and the drive. I agree lowering the weight on some of them is an improvement. I think the so called Neo Twin fin Lost is doing by M.R. does not improve on his orginial design at all. It's simply made to look more palatable to todays kids who think anything over 18.5'' is too wide.

I still agree with Greg on the old school fish thing. We got off those and old pluggy singles for a reason. Mccoy/ M.R., Hurely and a host of others made twinnies that actually worked all around back then and are still valid designs, The first phase of thrusters to me is still modern, when put with modern foam or epoxy, and wide tailed singles with softer edges work great for singlefins today. I don't see much point in riding a twinnie like an old school fish that was designed for a couple of moves, or a heavy longboard for beachbreaks, or a toothpick thruster for 180lbs intermediate surfer. Much of it is truly a fad.

I still love all the nice glasswork done on these old board copies though. It's really really hard not to appreciate the craftsmanship on these and maybe that simple time is why many want to go back to.

After all, it is all about the feeling anyway...isn't it?

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lokbox's picture
Joined: 04/10/2004

Sorry but i have to disagree a bit. Gotta love the net! I started surfing in Greggs neck of the woods in central florida around '77 on singles and then onto twins, and eventually tri fins. Unfortunately nowadays my local spot that has the best waves is swamis. First few years i surfed all thrusters out there and didn't get squat for waves. Nowadays i'll surf it up to ten foot faces on a 6'0" pavel quad fish, and just because of its float and glide my wave count has tripled out there. I also make almost any section out there and end up doing some crazy fast floater in the kiddy bowl or backdoor the tube where i usually had already been closed out on, on the thruster. I've also done some of the best cutbacks in my life there on that board (my cutty is my strong point) and gotten spit out of countless barrels and cracked many a lip especially backside on the left believe it or not. The board has modern pinched rails so it rides the tube, and a double to single concave off the tail which is real skatey. I also own a completely retro fish and i haven't ridden it in 2 years. You wouldn't catch me dead out in those waves on that board. On the quad fish...no prob.

Wave count number slightly buffered by drop in factor.

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MarkSpindler's picture
Joined: 03/21/2004

Recycling.

I always thought it was appropriate when ZZ Top realizing all their songs sounded similar to some degree and that they were recycling their standard chops, named their album Recycler. Hey why not? NO BS there:-)

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MarkSpindler's picture
Joined: 03/21/2004

Greg re-thought and redid the fish 5 years ago.Totally tweaked eighties outline 90's bottom and deck. MVGs on the tips of the tail. Favorite board ever. In EPS and RR epoxy. I still use it. There is supposedy a new one waiting for me in FL too:-) He can describe it better. I believe he did rather well with the model. Called it the TFS for Tuna Fin System. Everyone who tried it loved it. One guy, a former Pipe Master, blasted a 2'er on it.

Point is I look to Greg for leadership because chances are he did it five years ago. Five years is a long time. So long in fact that he's over it years before anyone else is trying it. Kinda makes it hard to get any recognition though. But you know all that.

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lokbox's picture
Joined: 04/10/2004

Lol, no question Gregg is the man! What he was doing way back when with Bill Hartley was ahead of everyone. Was just trying to defend all the board guys out here a bit because they really are trying to step up quite a bit and make better boards. While epoxy certainly has it's benefits, there can be more to making a "better" board than just construction methods.

Newport point this morning for your enjoyment


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MarkSpindler's picture
Joined: 03/21/2004

Wow! That's beautiful.
Now that I'm surfing again, I actually feel it.

I don't know how Greg stays ahead of himself???

I heard today his west coast operation is outpacing his original east coast location. Sounds like the board guys out your way are falling in line.

I have a feeling it's all going to snowball real soon.

To totally agree design comes first. It drives the need for better construction methods and materials. Leastways I'm of the opinion it should.

Sadly I thinks the old saw here is that over the last ten years design has stagnated, because the materials are the same.

But who cares. I'm going to look at that picture some more.
Was anyone going right?

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lokbox's picture
Joined: 04/10/2004

"Was anyone going right?"

I was


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lokbox's picture
Joined: 04/10/2004

So were some guys with less than adequate manners.


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MarkSpindler's picture
Joined: 03/21/2004

Now I'm psyched.
Can't wait for the next hurricane swell to hit here. Maybe this weekend?

Those guys weren't very nice to you. Doesn't even look crowded. I guess it depends on how many waves to the set and how long between sets...

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lokbox's picture
Joined: 04/10/2004

Lol that's not me in the photo. About 70 guys out up and down the beach when i got out. Foggy, cold (60 degree water) and big holes in the swell. No waves for 15 mintues then 10 wave flurry sets.

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Feraldave's picture
Joined: 03/18/2004

nothing to any one personally as im on both fences but it seems that the consequences of too much styrene is resistance to change and the consequences of epoxy contamination it a strong im completly right/others are totaly wrong syndrome..chill out guys..people buy what thier friends are having the most fun on...swaylocks is a board building site so its inherintly full of technicians and tinkers. they love playing with new things.. eg balsa berts methods, fin systems etc..the real world is full of uneducated customers who have a relative trust in shapers..they have been burnt by fads before and want to spend thier money on established proven product..

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lokbox's picture
Joined: 04/10/2004

Nicely put...

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silly's picture
solosurfer (not verified)

Feral,

Great point. I have been taking the long way around to make the same one myself. Your direct way says it better.

This is why I says surftechs and the like are not going to take over. Surfers whims, change like the tides. You can almost put money on it.

to most experienced surfers the bottom line in no real order is: Float, paddling ease, holding power and loosness.

I think the only reason most surfers over 25 ride todays thruster is to prove to everyone they can still hack it. I think those things for the most part are the biggest waste of money in surfing. For your everyday surfer. They never have cured their sticky ways.


I always liked four fins and wide tailed singles the best. Even when I was a kid.

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MarkSpindler's picture
Joined: 03/21/2004

Then what you are saying it's a marketing issue and not a design issue, right? I think I hear the same sentiment from Solosurfer, too.

Marketing goes hand in hand with merchandising, advertising, and promotion, right?

Since this is a website dedicated to surfboard design and construction with probably the top 2% of the surfers (intelligence wise) in attendance it may not be the place for this discussion.

However, and this may seem off the point a little and maybe not even the best analogy but when gold was discovered in California in 1849, everyone knew but not everyone went.

I can shout it from the mountaintops and Greg can give the statistical evidence, but no one can force anyone to make a move towards it. When I say it's great no one has to get defensive, because it's not aimed at anyone in particular.

If I found gold would someone say I didn't? And then follow that with paper money is better because that is what everyone else uses? That is what is sounds like to me.

If this dscussion is not design and construction specific it is markteting, promotion.

BTW Dave I found a link to your website on a Great Lakes website. You are everywhere. Very good promotion.

I personally enjoy these marketing discussions very much and learn much from both sides. Like I said there are very smart surfers here with eons of combined experience. I think it would be a shame to limit Swaylocks away from this kind of thing.

Great points guys.

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Nels's picture
Joined: 05/21/2004

Quote:


If this dscussion is not design and construction specific it is markteting, promotion.

personally enjoy these marketing discussions very much and learn much from both sides. Like I said there are very smart surfers here with eons of combined experience



Lunchtime fast pass and what Mark writes here catches my eye...these kind of discussions are invaluable to the surf world and the people who reside in Swaylock'sTown...recall or research Doc's surf shop financial primer if you question this notion...in the media dominated world society we live in marketing and promotion have vast influence on design and construction by virtue of the media validating authority and information distributing controls. What you see pretty much is what you get, right? Can a 67 year old guy catch the wave of the day at Jeffries Bay wearing a woolen sportcoat and riding a lightweight wood board of his own shaping? That notion goes against all established thought in surfing concerning fashion, function, and age...you will not see it on the cover of marketing and promotion obsessed shorty surf magazines as they can't make money off it.
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gregloehr's picture
Joined: 03/22/2004

I guess the point I was trying to make above was, why when something old comes back do we have to relive the whole sequence of events over again? When the retro fish came out, why didn't we start at the Jobson Twinser? Why on earth did we go all the way back to the Lis Fish? Locbox states that many guys are now advancing the twins into fine tuned pieces of equipment which is great news. But why do they have to relive evolution a second (or maybe a third) time. Gee, after 3-4 years of evolution we're just now getting to where Jobson was 12 years ago.

Slim .... Surfboards go through evolution. When shapers put designs through an evolutionary process they get better boards. I've ridden a Lis Fish and I've ridden a Twinser. After riding a Twinser I would not be smiling riding the Lis Fish. And why do you think these guys are smiling riding that old POS ...... because they don't know any better because they lack experience. Taking advantage of someones inexperience in other businesses is considered ripping people off. Now why on earth would ANYONE make a Lis Fish? Why would anyone make a board with two big ole wooden keels and a flat bottom when there is a more evolved version of the same thing? And don't tell me there's some "classic feel" I'm missing. If classic feel is tracking half way up a six foot face and going over the falls because the designer was too lazy to add a bit of vee, then NO THANKS!

The three fin is a more evolved version of the old 70's single fin. Again, why would anyone be riding an old single fin when there are more evolved versions of the same thing. Must come from some surfoid self loathing that you would be that cruel to yourself.

There are good boards and bad boards. Some boards that were popular in the past SUCKED!! The better designs or other designs that had some special feel have evolved because they were worthy of being worked on. Doesn't mean in any way that the originals were somehow better than the modern version. They weren't and aren't!

I know that speaking ill of the dead (ancient board designs) may not be a popular stand here. But I'm one of the guys who helped surfboards evolve through the last 30 years. We worked damn hard to make these things better. To see people talk as if there is some magic to something we evolved past long ago, in a way, negates all the work we did to get the things to where they are today. If we don't recognize that today's modern designs are the best ever built then we stand no chance of evolving to tomorrow. I don't personally think that re-evolving over and over is the best way to use our creativity.

And why, in this sport, are only future boards treated skeptically while an old 70's POS, that rides awful, revered?

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Maraboutslim's picture
Joined: 05/08/2004

Hi Greg, I guess the only thing it could be is that people enjoy viewing/feeling the evolution of design for themselves. It is more fun than just taking your word for it and jumping straight to the latest designs. We're not going to run out of waves so there is plenty of time to see what all the boards of the past actually surfed like. Some guys get to a point where they find one of those past boards that surfs how they like for their current surfing ability and since they have no desire to surf any differently, stick with the old design boards.

I'm old enough and man enough to admit that I wouldn't have any fun at all on the latest and greatest in thruster surf design appropriate for someone like Slater. I just don't surf well enough and am not fit enough and don't have good enough waves. I don't switch to a thruster until it's well overhead and then my board is 6'11 and I probably surf it a dozen times a year. Perhaps there are latest and greatest thruster designs for the guys like me who have surfed 20 years but don't surf like a pro and live at crappy beach breaks. I just don't know what these boards are. Everyone who is similar to me in ability, taste, and waves seems to talk about, and surf, twins and singles and boards like that instead.

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shannonk's picture
Joined: 09/04/2004

many surfers like me, ride those "retro" shapes also for the pure fun of it, thier not out to prove anything,over the years there has been refinements in rockers,etc that have been applied to single fins, longboards, etc. some of these shapes border on being practical for the conditions, sometimes riding a modern truster gets boring, to me. to each his own

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