I started on a Spoon in the beginning, then progressed to Pins and Rounded Pins. As many of you already know, in the early days I was super-influenced by watching Greenough and I wanted to surf like that…
However, sitting up to my neck in the freezing cold water of Bass Strait on a spoon wasn’t much fun, and I decided I needed more foam in my board. I leaned towards Lynch & Peterson-type planshapes in my kneeboards.
Riding some pretty heavy reef and ledge breaks was also instrumental in the development of a certain shape.
Meanwhile, PC, whose presence couldn’t be overlooked, was surfing too good to be true. A master of riding those ‘Slabs’ – he was just brilliant. I gleaned all I could from our long conversations where we discussed rocker, foil, thickness, length and width. He was an excellent source of help for the young shaper I was back then.
Next, the Ben Aipa Stinger era. I rode a kneeboard version for around 3 years.
Loved the pace of these, especially at Bells, Winki, Express… anything with juice and a long wall.
In the late 70s-early 80s, twin fins took off and the journey once again took me back to Rounded Pins, then to Single Flyer Swallow Tails. I loved them with channels; full noses; no noses… I tried them all. I experimented with different rockers. Everything contributed to where my boards are at today.
Sometime after ‘81 I did a Double Flyer Round Pin Tri-Fin. This had 4 clinker channels through the middle. A half-moon and clinker channel seemed to give it more versatility. It was a popular shape. Eventually, I dropped the channels and settled on a Double Concave into a vee.
Things stayed this way for some time; with refinements and fin adjustments.
The circle of the journey brought me back to the SwallowTail again. I had always ‘clicked’ with Swallows, so I decided to combine different rails; different bottom contours and test, test, test.
Fast forward the journey to today.
Still progressing, still having lots of fun with the… (drumroll, please)… FRESHFISH!! This is the Double Flyer SwallowTail ‘Freak’. Including the fuller-nose, no wings ‘FreshFish Freak’.
So, has the journey ended here?
Not a chance.
My ‘Freshfish’ has a deep hull type bottom and chine rails. I have been surfing it with the beautiful Hanalei split keel fins. It’s so fast! If you like to go fast, the single to double concave to vee, bevel, chine combo will give you just what you need… speed.
Maybe now that I am in my ‘60’s my thoughts occasionally turn to what board I could happily surf off into the sunset on. Or be pushed out to sea Viking-style on my favorite float. I believe that the ‘Fish’ type kneeboard is so user-friendly, so high on the performance scale that it could just be that board.
But, meanwhile, the journey continues, and the creativity never ends…