Sunday, November 28, 2010
"What in the hell is that thing?"
It would be easy to instantly dismiss these funny looking surfboards as design gimmiks, just another theory being thrown at the wall to see what sticks in an ever expanding world of surfboard design and manufacture.
Until you find out that this design has come straight out of the fertile creative mind of Californian surfer Thomas Meyerhoffer, who used to be a designer at Apple. Now it's worth a double take no? This guy was on the team that crafted the original iMac, so despite it's wierd looks you know that there are reasons behind its shape that go beyond interesting aesthetics.
In the words of Justin Cote from Transworld Surf:
“I didn’t even want to paddle it out, but when I did and finally caught a wave, the thing actually ripped. I wanted it to suck so bad, but it turned right off the bottom, sped down the line, carved right into a cutback, and basically did everything I commanded—I was shocked. This board was not supposed to work. So why does it?”
Transworld Surf, October 2010.
These boards seem to be the most comprehensive marriage of short and longboard designs yet, with a shortboard shape incorporated into the tail of the board bringing the widepoint further back to enable sharper turns. All of the unnecessary volume and weight of foam is removed from the front rail line (because lets face it all that rail just drags and slows you down) leaving a standard longboard nose area to walk up and perch on. It's a similar theory to slalom skis, and I imagine that it can't have a negative effect on the flex characteristics of the board through turns either.
Digging a little deeper reveals a whole host of design elements aimed at producing faster, smoother longboards that behave more like shortboards: features such as a convex bottom through the mid section to enable smoother rail to rail transitions flowing through to spiral vee double concaves through the fins, and a drawn out tail to balance the nose and hold in through turns.
Regardless of all of these technical details though, there's living proof below that they work, as demonstrated by Matt Martin at Bells, Australia (photo by Steve Ryan) showing a Meyerhoffer longboard coming nicely off the bottom and even getting jammed nicely in a tube.
Who knows, perhaps Thomas is on to something and we'll see more trimmed down and refined longboards coming through, looking to the future rather than taking inspiration from the past as is so often the case with longboard design. It's nice to balance it all out, and it's even nicer when a design so left of field works out and really breaks the mould. It reminds me of a favourite quote of mine by Sir Ken Robinson, who said "If you're not prepared to fail then you'll never come up with anything truly original".
These boards are something truly original.
Check the website here, or read an interview here.
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Bhodisatva, South West Sri Lanka.
Each of the Worlds Oceans are so great that there is a massive amount of diversity to be found around the edges, diversity of climates, cultures, religions, ethnicity, wealth and environment to name a few. Whilst I've splashed around in and traversed each of these Oceans, the Indian Ocean is that which I have probably spent the most time circumnavigating and exploring, and there're still a ton of places around the edge and islands in the middle that I'm desperate to check out, and a few that I still can't (Somalia, Yemen and Burma). There's still time yet though.
Sunday, November 7, 2010
First up, at the end of October the tectonic plates that meet along the Indonesian archipeligo rumbled into life again and an undersea earthquake triggered a three metre tsunami that swept across the Mentawaii island chain off Sumatra. Over 300 souls were lost in the area, long held as the surf worlds garden of Eden but vulnerable to these acts of a grumbling planet. Surf Aid International are on the ground delivering aid, you can donate here.
Then this Wednesday, the 3rd of November the news broke that former 3x world champion Andy Irons had been discovered dead in a hotel room in Dallas, Texas, reportedly succumbing to dengue fever on his way home to recover in Hawai'i. Irons was a man who polarised surfers opinion; an incredible talented surfer he was the only competitor who's ever really taken the fight to Kelly Slaters dominance and wrestled several world titles from him, however he was also extremely competitive and appeared to have the arrogance to accompany this. Therefore as you'd expect when an athelete in his prime succumbs to illness, detractors have turned on the rumour mill. Whatever your opinion though, there's no denying that one of the most naturally talented surfers on planet Earth has checked out early, and the real tradegy is that his wife is expecting their first child in a months time. Friend and photographer Dustin Humphrey wrote a really nice eulogy here, and if you want to see the man in his prime go watch the final section of One Track Mind - it'll blow your mind.
And then yesterday, Kelly Slater hit number 10 in '10. Phenomenal. The man who has dominated competitive surfing for a generation just took out his tenth world title in Puerto Rico at thirty eight years old, eighteen years after he won his first - here's the breakdown:
1992, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2010.
The guy has a pact with Neptune, I'm certain of it.
Both images via the photographic genius of Dustin Humphrey.