WHO IS SHAPING YOUR BOARD?
Richard handcrafts every surfboard so his extensive surfing experience and shaping knowledge ensures your board will satisfy even the most discerning surfer, which ever style you choose.
Years of accumulated knowledge and experience of surfboard design.
Extensive experience from surfing waves of all sizes around the world.
Personal attention to handcrafting custom surfboards since 1967.
Meticulous attention to quality construction and on time delivery.
Shaping thousands of boards for surfers of all abilities.
Competition success at the highest levels.
photo by Bruce Channon – www.surfinfo.com.au
QUALITY HANDCRAFTED SURFING EQUIPMENT
When deciding on which board to ride there are many factors to be considered. Generally surfboards have an effective wave range of 4′ or a little over 1 metre. Of course even the shortest board can be ridden in the largest of waves and designs can be modified to surf a broader range of waves, but all this is to the softening of peak performance and control.
An honest assessment of the following points will greatly assist the shaper in achieving the best board for you.
What is your performance level?
Starting with an honest look at your ability will result in a better suiting surfboard. One that will give strength to your surfing weaknesses and freedom to your surfing strengths. Check out the guide below to asses your level.
1. Paddle, select wave, take-off, stand, angle across face. (light blue)
2. Bottom turn (aqua)
3. Trim, climb up face (green)
4. Top turn ((yellow)
5. Climb and drop (gold)
6. Slight cut back (orange)
7. Deep cut back (red)
8. Extended cutback (mauve)
9. Roundhouse cutback (purple)
10. Speed, control, consistency (blue)
WHERE ARE YOU GOING TO SURF?
The waves of such places as Samoa, Tahiti and Hawaii in the Pacific; or The Mentawi Islands and Maldives in the Indian Ocean; or France, England and The Bahamas in The Atlantic, all have very different characteristics. Decide on the main places you are going to surf and the size of the waves you are going to ride. Wave shapes and power vary dramatically even around the coast of Australia. Reef waves, beach breaks or long point waves all have an impact on the final surfboard design. This is where an experienced surfer/shaper can assist with your decision.
What are your physical dimensions?
Next your physical dimensions and weight. Extra height can mean a wider distance between steps and therefore the way the board responds. Extra weight and fitness level are part of the equation.
s is the regularity of your surf session.
What style of board do you want to ride?
The style of board is a personal choice, but some styles like a fish will work better in smaller waves. It will be lots of fun in the beachbreaks and small point waves, but maybe not as suitable in bigger reef waves. Board length determines the arc that the turn covers and assists in paddling. Width and thickness determine stability, buoyancy, paddling and wave catching ability. The combination is a delicate balance with many variables. Features such as channels, concaves, vees all have a specific characteristic including their plus and minus value. The plan shape and tail design as well as rail design determine the general style of the board. Fins also have a major influence on the boards performance. They stabilize the board, create directional thrust and allow rail to rail transitions without sliding sideways. The smallest change in the boards shape will cause a dramatic effect when the board is placed under pressure. To give you an example, place a piece of string across the bottom of your board and lightly turn on a hose so the water trickles down the board and over the string. The water bubbles over the string slightly and then after several inches smoothes out again and runs off the board. Now turn the hose pressure up and notice as the water hits the string it shoots off high into the air. Imagine what would happen to the water flow when you push a turn on a six foot wave with a body weight of 75 kgs. Small variations to a shaped design will have a dramatic effect to the water flow and the performance of the board. You don’t have to make big changes in design to improve performance.
Of course these are only a few of the shapers skills in determining the right board for you. There are so many combinations and with the help of an experienced shaper you will be able to choose the correct design and dimensions, improve your surfing equipment, lift the level of your surfing ability and increase your enjoyment.
THREE KEYS TO GREAT SURFING
SPEED + CONTROL = POWER
The purpose of gathering and focusing all this information is to help achieve a better understanding and therefore higher performance in your surfing. The formula for speed + control = power can be understood better by breaking the components down to their single identities.
Firstly speed. Speed of the wave is the initial generator of surfboard speed. The swell speed coming out of deep ocean, such as Hawaii, is much faster than swell that comes in over a continental shelf. Without delving too deeply into swell characteristics this direct to the beach speed of a wave is only a portion of speed generated by the surfer. Extra board speed is generated by angling across the face of the wave, the sharper the angle the greater the speed. There are two types of speed that can be generated, these are buoyant speed and compression speed.
BOUYANT SPEED is where a thicker surfboard sits up on top of the water and speed is created by the elimination of drag and water resistance through the board sitting higher in the water. Buoyant speed has several characteristics which can either be an advantage or disadvantage depending on your requirements. Buoyancy generates speed via thickness which helps with paddling and catching waves and creating speed where the surfer is unable to generated it through maneuvers or when riding flat waves with no push in them. Buoyant speed is reasonably constant and therefore doesn’t have great acceleration
COMPRESSION SPEED is where the surfboard is thinner and as the rider turns the board onto it’s rail, it sinks into the water builds up water pressure against the bottom which in turn squirts the surfboard forward. The deeper the board sinks into the water the greater the pressure and therefore the more speed is generated. Speed generated by compression is not as constant and must be continually created by turning the board or keeping it in a position on the wave where water flow is at it’s most intense (near the breaking curl line). Where buoyant speed is constant, compression speed can vary dramatically, reaching far higher and dropping much lower. The surfer needs to have the ability to keep the board in rail to rail motion to benefit fully.
CONTROL is essential to good surfing. A surfboard built to strengthen the surfers weaknesses and give freedom to their strengths is the beginning of control. Stability, length, shape and features to suit the surfer and the wave gives not only confidence in the equipment but allows the surfer to think about where they want to go rather than where they are while riding a wave. Thinking ahead gives the mind a clearer picture and more time to adjust to the forming shape of a wave. A surfboard that spontaneously follow the surfers every movement as if it is a part of them eliminates a whole section of thought that the mind has to deal with. From my experience the mind is working so hard while riding a wave that quite often we don’t even hear the sound of the wave. Senses are so focused on riding the wave that a lot of the peripheral things are blocked out. Feeling the momentum and analysing the shape of the wave seem to be the most important focus of the mind. Having confidence in your equipment give you control over how you want to ride.
Finding a happy medium between buoyant and compression speed while in full control is the key to power. This is why an honest appraisal of the surfer strengths and weaknesses is critical. A great surfboard will give freedom to a surfers strengths yet at the same time give strength to the surfers weaknesses. Years of surfing and shaping have built a storehouse of knowledge to achieve these goals for every custom surfboard that we build.