As you progress through your surfing journey you will without doubt try many combinations of plan shapes and rail and bottom combos. Finally you may settle on something that suits your style and wave choice…

In 1978 the Australian surfriding association introduced kneeboarders into the National team, the late Peter Crawford and myself were selected due to our first and second placing in the National titles at Margaret river in Western Australia, however PC was tied up in work commitments as a pro surf photographer and couldn’t compete this opened the door to a young blond haired skinny bloke from Maroubra in NSW by the name of David Parkes. And it was Hawaii here we come!! And also an enduring friendship began.


We had both come from surfing heavy reef breaks and our combinations for Hawaii were very similar, I had shaped for myself a pulled in pintail and an area pintail. One was 5ft7 and the other 6ft, both single fins and rolled vee thru the bottom, so the bottom of the board was easy to tip onto a rail and drive thru turns. I was looking for a combo that was free flowing and solid in testing conditions. So for a combo of bottom contour, rail and planshape to all fit your groove, really its keep trying different combos. You will eventually settle on one that feels just right for you.


Perhaps what goes good in Indo, Hawaii and the outer islands might not be right for ur local break, so you will have to find the right fit. Generally speaking though you probably have a Gun and a Hotdogger. A board that feels safe and solid in late drop heavy long sectioning surf is a good one to hang on to, one that you can paddle easy over a long distance is a bonus.  Take into consideration if u like concaves. I have shaped the whole bottom from nose to tail a full ½” concave doesn’t sound much but its quite pronounced, it worked a treat and the customer still gets the same one every year. I like the single to double concave to spiral vee, and vary it in depth depending on the outline and waves its shaped for. The hull type concept combo is classic for kneeboard riding.


Takes time to shape, glass and sand, but very worthwhile. In 1981 I shaped a single flyer swallowtail twinfin with chine rails, 6 curved channels in the bottom that followed the planshape a heavy concave vee thru the tail it had an even rocker and was 5ft9 it was a great combo, I came 2nd in the 1980 DBAH comp on it and then in 1981 i won it on the same board, I literally surfed it into the ground, and try as i may i never could replicate that combo. It just had the chemistry, the other kbs after it all were fantastic in there own right but it was a character, I am sure you have all had a combo-chemistry model u just loved. But its all been progress and what u learn from combos is that there is one just right for you, don’t under estimate it, as look what guys like TOMO are shaping now , when I see some of his shapes I swear he must’ve had vision on an old supa 8 of some early Dbah contests, its like going back in time. Come to think of it our kb combos are still going. Enjoy yours. And to have at your disposal so much info and I am more than happy to share what I have with you on the subject. Remember we rode flat bottomed boards with a slight swelling around the fin area and they were for the time a great combo, its gone forward so much now, but its still about the right one  for you. What do you want to do on a wave? What are your expectations of a board? It could be and I am sure its about just getting the right combo. And lets face it its a lot of fun in the process, going surfing and trying them out. Gotta be fun. You bet.!!


4 thoughts on “Combinations

    1. Yes they went great I love them too. My glasser wasn’t to happy with them and I sand all my own boards so that was no problem but I eventually replaced them with a bevel, hull type bottom with a double concave. I still do them on request though.

  1. As a person who quietly makes one’s own boards & fins & have my own quiet ideas it is a good read to see other people’s ideas & I appreciate people putting forward their ideas for people to see. This is a great read, thanks for putting it out there! Cheers Bob Kench!!

    1. That’s great Bob and a lot of us are still doing just what u love , quietly going about making our own and others kbs and also sharing what we have learned with others. Gracias NL

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