Xmas 2016 was a classic Australian East Coast summer with heat waves and nothing but week after week of dribbling Nor East wind swell.
I new things were looking bad when they started talking about setting the all time record for the Sydney to Hobart yacht race, meaning there would be no south swell and relentless winds from the north.
(All my best Xmas holiday surfing has coincided with terrible and treacherous conditions for the Hobart!)
I knew I'd need a new board to take on the micro conditions. But I didn't want to make a long board, I like the way they catch waves, I just don't like the way they surf.
So I started thinking about how to get what I wanted from a Mal, from a board that I'd enjoy being able to surf.
So I bought a mini mal blank and stretched my favourite template to 6'8" in length.
I looked at some rocker profiles of some long boards and aimed to replicate those cruisey bottom curves.
Mainly I tried to keep as much foam under the chest as possible.
I put some pretty deep and pronounced double concave through the fins to give it a bit of squirt and a bit of single concave through the middle to keep it up on the surface like a hovercraft.
Then I watched a bunch of youtube videos of crazy old Geoff McCoy and adopted his thinking about soft rolled 'domed' nose.
Then, with the tropical conditions in mind, I started painting.
I took her up the north coast where the conditions were the same as Sydney. She went great on the one footers, catching the little swells like a cruise liner but turning and cutting back like a twin fin.
I believe I read a post by Neal Purchase JR where he said 'he didn't make a good board until until he had made 20'. I don't know if thats true but I can say for sure board number 21 is my best effort yet.
I've have essentially made 20 versions of the same board, inspired loosely by a 1978 Bob Mctavish SKY tin fin. Each time trying to learn a little bit more about the craft of surfboard making and a little bit more about surfboard design through trial and error.
Specific differences, learning and improvements to this board include, a lighter glass job - learning how to pull me resin out of the glass to end up with less weight. From an improved surfing / performance perspective, I've gone with a rounded pin tail. Perhaps the slight addition to the lift in the tail helps, but the smooth transition in the turns can most definitely be felt.
Jake and I had already worked out what art we wanted to do!
After surfing the Greg Melieush rounded pin tail twin fin I was blown away by the smooth transitions out of turns delivered by the rounded pin tail.
So I thought it was time to try it out for myself.
In simon Anderson's book 'Thrust' he credits a number of people as being the father of the twin fin.
One off those put a small half circle rear fin on a twin fin to smooth out the twitchy nature of the twin. Simon's mind immediately jumped to the idea of the thruster, 3 fins of equal size.
But I think he may have jumped too soon. Twin fins are fun - but they can possibly be improved with the little
Resin tint quad.
Cut lap, with resin tint.
Tried it as a twin fin. I could really feel the difference in the fin placement. In a bad way!
I was working from a different template on this one so I had to decide where to place the fins. I dug into the 'design library' and pulled out my best 3 performing boards. A 1978 Bob Mc Tavish shaped Sky twin fin, a 1980 Mark Richards (designed) twin fin and a 1982 Bob Hurley shaped twin fin. I measured up the fin placements and marked them out on the new board. Interesting to see the difference and the slight change in toe angle.
I took the best of all and went the average.
They say practice makes perfect and when your on to a good thing stick to it. So Jake and I did our third version of the 'Jake-robot-skeleton-twin-fin".
The aim with this model was to make the deck and tail a little flatter, the rails a little more rolled, the single to double concave a little more pronounced and the glass job a little lighter.
Artist at work
Series 1, 2 and 3. Done as twin, tri fin and quad version.
I'm sure you've heard about the swell that hit sydney recently. It was pretty bloody good everywhere.
This on has already had a run in South OZ.
5' 8" x 20 1/2" x 2 1/2".
My favourite board at the moment. What a little rocket!!
I pulled in the nose outline in a little, narrowed the tail with some flyers and cut a deeper tail swallow so it might hold on in some hollower waves.
Thick and fast!
Pigment foam stain and pigment resin on every layer including the filler coat.