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GAVIN COLMAN shapers interview:





July 2009 // Issue *2


We caught up with the man who successfully defended his Open World title...



The man behind the boards of champions.

Pinch me... Pic: Steeno

contents: issue *2 E



Karl Ward smacks one around.


A kneelos view of the right point heaven that is Morocco...



ere we are at Issue 2 and a lot has happend in kneelo land since the first one! The big one of course is that Gav Colman successfuly defended his Mens Open World Title for the second year. Gav kindly took some time to answer a few questions we sent his way. To follow up on the Shapers interviews it seemed only right to talk to the man who’s boards Gav rode to victory and that have taken kneelos the World over to some extraordinary places. An in depth interview with the enigmatic Bruce Hart. To wrap things up we move on to two perspectives of the point break paradise that is Morocco. Karl Ward lucked in to an epic

Anchor Point session that a LOT of people witnessed and caused a buzz that lasted some time. Richard Hewitt was there not long after and made some great finds including some interesting under pants and some great pics. Lastly a huge thank you to everyone that has given us positive feedback on this little publication. It truly makes the hard (extra) work worthwhile and with the support and contributions of all those that have offered I have a good feeling we will certainly make it to issue 3 and beyond... Stay low, The Kneelo Mag Crew.

Huey, speed check in Morocco. Pic:

Graphic Design: Bryn Dampney Editorial: Duncan Jones, Bryn Dampney Contributing Photographers: Steeno Slats Carla Huey Dunc


Cover pic: Steeno Advertising Contact: Bryn Dampney Submissions and Contributions Contact: Bryn Dampney/Duncan Jones


The Cantabria Kneeboard Festival The Cantabria Kneeboard Festival will take place at the Playa de Somo just outside Sanatander in Northern Spain. The festival will be held over the weekend of 3rd and 4th October with a reception event on the Friday evening. This is the second year the event has run and last year was a great success and even had coverage on Spanish national television. The festival is a mixture of organised events and free surfs and includes an expression session, movie showings, raffles, social events and an informal contest. Kneeboarders travel to the event from all over Spain and this year there will be a few guys from the UK attending and there is a rumour that David Parkes might be there as well.

Email for more info: 05


We’re proud to present an insight in to the man who successfuly defended his World title in New Zealand this year. The humble charger that is...


avin o

q’s: Duncan Jones/Bryn Dampney



olman Gav ripping the top off in NZ. Pic: Steeno



Did you do any specific training for the New Zealand Worlds? I did some extra surfing.

Who do you rate out of the younger guys coming up behind the established crew? Troy Simpson, Matt Novakov, Albert Munoz, Mark Slater, Chayne Simpson, Chayne Whitehouse, Chris Linn, Hamish Christohers, Sam Coyne, Cameron Stanley, Kendall Lloyd, Tom Novakov and Sebastian Perez.

What do you enjoy most about contest surfing? Trying to get through heats and win the contest. Also I enjoy watching the other kneeboarders ripping it up.

Do you think the performance levels will continue to rise? The performance levels have to rise. I think there is a lot of passion and potential out there now and its something a lot of us want to see.

Do you think contests are important to keep things progressing? Sure I think contests make everyone a better surfer, everybody is there watching each other surf and trying to out surf each other so therefore pushing each other to better their surfing.

Which kneelos do you like to watch and who do you most enjoy surfing with? Jonny Foster, Kyle Bryant, Giggs Celliers, Albert Munoz, Troy Atkeson, Baden Smith, Chayne Simpson, Simon Farrer, Marcus Hage, Troy Simpson, Barry Baker, Damien Gaynon, Dave Parkes, Dean Bould, Tom Backer, Robbie Salfen, Andrew Heaton, Pommie Anderson, Matt

ow does it feel to be two times World champion? Rewarding.

Finals concentration in NZ. Pic: Steeno


Up and over. Pic: Steeno

Gallagher, Karl Ward and Jamie Muckyou, just to name a few.

giving it his best and earning respect if he or she wants it.

Which kneelos influence or have influenced your riding? Simon Farrer, Pete Maclure, Dale Ponsford, Stewy Irwin, Mickael Novakov and Dean Bullavine.

What’s the sickest wave you’ve ever surfed? Mexican Pipe.

What in your view is good kneeboarding? Somebody that can read a wave well, keep there speed up and make it through some difficult sections. What direction would you like to see the future of kneeboarding take?? I’d like to see kneeboard surfers be able to keep a level up there with the top stand up surfers. I don’t think we will be able to do aerials like they do but I don’t think that is important. I think the kneeboarder will always have a chance of really

What’s your favourite wave in Australia / in the world? Aussie Pipe and Lakey Peak. You have a reputation as a bit of a charger, what’s the heaviest place you’ve surfed and how do you psyche yourself to push over the ledge? Probably Pipeline in Hawaii. When I see someone going for it I say to myself, well if he can do it, so can I. Also I know I enjoy riding bigger waves. I think to catch a big wave it takes 10% talent and 90% courage. To ride it then is another story.


Portrait: Steeno


avin olman

Do you have much input in to your board design or do you follow the route of letting a shaper design your boards based on what they see in your riding? Mainly I let the shaper do what he thinks is best for me. I don’t know a lot about boards. Do you have an all time favourite board? I’ve had a 6 foot Flashpoint Kneeboard for over 6 years now, which I keep riding. How important is it to build a relationship with a shaper? I’m not sure how important it is but it’s nice to know that someone cares about your surfing. Are there any companies/people who help support your kneeboarding? Ripcurl and Ocean & Earth use to support me many years ago. Flashpoint Surfing has supported me for many many years now. I’ve


also had positive support from Neil Luke and Buddy McCray.

Do you think getting more of the larger surf companies support for kneeboarding would be a help or a hindrance? I think it can only help. It can help the surf company promote their product and it can help the sport of kneeboarding. Do you think kneeboading is getting the recognition it deserves within the surfing community? If there are kneeboarders out there ripping it up, sure they’re getting recognised. If that’s what you mean. What is kneeboarding to you? Kneeboarding is something I was drawn to in my early teens. Kneeboarding is something that has taken me to many places and it has helped

“The performance levels have to rise. I think there’s alot of passion and potential out there now and it’s something a lot of us want to see.”


me to be a better surfer. Good kneeboarding is something I like to watch. Do you think it takes a certain type of person to be a kneelo? No. You vanished from the kneeboard scene for a while, why was that and what made you decide to come back? I did a bit of travelling, I also spent some

The Trophy. Pic: Steeno

time living in other states in Australia, when I returned to Sydney I got back into kneeboarding when I went back to a few comps. What are your aims for the future? To stay alive, to keep fit and healthy so I can surf to an older age. Congratulations Gavin and a huge thank you for taking the time to answer these questions!

On the way to Title number 1 at Steamer Lane. Pic: Skye


sequence >> pics/sequence: Steeno

We thought we would run Steeno’s sick sequence shot of Karl as a bit of a ‘how to’ this issue. I asked Karl to tell us how he pulled this one and his response was, ‘Ha, not sure I can remember’ which took me back to something I heard Rob Machado say once in an interview on a video. ‘I honestly don’t think the best surfers could tell you what they’re doing when they pull their best stuff. I just think they’re in a zone and their bodies just do it’ or something like that. If you want to pull moves like this study the pictures get out there, get your position on the board right, read the wave and cut loose.




Where the magic happens.


Q’s: Bryn Dampney Pics: Hart/Slats


lashpoint urfing

The second interview in our series dedicated to the creators of kneeboards turns the focus to Bruce Hart of Flashpoint Surfing.

Gav Colman has just successfully retained his World title on a ‘Flashy’ as they’re affectionately known and most kneelos will have heard about a certain Simon Farrer and where he has taken them. Bruce kindly offered up some answers to a few questions we threw at him, read on to take a peak in to the mind of a master... HOW IS IT TO HAVE ANOTHER OPEN WORLD TITLE FOR FLASHPOINT SURFING? It feels enormously gratifying that your work can be rewarded in such a way. While absolute kudos belongs (and always will belong) to the individual surfer, playing such a vital role in the process gives such vindication to the design elements and shaping techniques that we use and develop. And more than anything I guess, it gives us the confidence to stay on the track we have created and allow its natural progression and evolution to continue.   WHEN WAS YOUR EARLIEST INVOLVEMENT IN THE WORLDS AND WHAT WERE THE EARLY SUCCESSES? Our first event was competed in 1990 and first Open Mens Final made in 1993. Mark Slater won our first Cadet Title in 1996 (Wollongong) and Trudy Barnes (nee Saunders) took the Open Womens in 1999 (New Zealand). Kyle Bryant won his first (of two) Open Mens Titles early 2002 (Sunshine Coast and later that year, South Africa).

HOW DID IT FEEL TO WIN THAT FIRST OPEN MENS TITLE? Kyle and I had worked specifically for the 2002 event from early 1998. To have a shaping relationship and contestoriented strategy with such a talented surfer over that period of time (without either losing focus) was a great personal and professional achievement.   IS IT STILL A BUZZ TO SEE YOUR BOARDS ON THE PODIUM? Given the variety of surfers, both men and women that I have seen there, then yes, it is still a great buzz!   HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN MAKING BOARDS FOR GAVIN COLMAN? Since 1992.   DO YOU DO ANYTHING DIFFERENT FOR GAVIN’S BOARDS? Gavin is such an explosive surfer that at times, he can be very unpredicable. He can really create a dynamic manoeuvre from a situation where you thought none could exist. So I


believe he demands extremely responsive rockers, immediate tail release off or near the lip (spiral vees and curve) and a degree of tail-width (ie pod) through his swallowtails that allows positive rail engagement (particularly from the deckline) anywhere through the bottom one-third of the wave. As soon as Gavin engages any particular element of his board..that element must react.   WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT GAVIN’S APPROACH TO SURFING? The absolute power and the unpredicablility. Quite a unique style, really.   HOW WAS THE 7’ 6” YOU SHAPED HIM FOR PUERTO AND DID IT BRING ANY DESIGN CONCLUSIONS ABOUT LENGTH? Given the location and the surfer, it showed me that length is not a hindrance to modern kneeboarding, providing you have the right balance of conditions, rider and imagination

Competition (Iron Man events etc). The polystyrene foam was extemly ugly to shape. Its voidous nature was impossible to cleanly finish and there was a distinct absence of sharpness to any edge or rail-line you were trying to create. Everything you attempted to generate came out soft with no real level of refinement.   In the building process, the epoxy resins were very uncomfortable for me to work with. Skin rashes and lingering fumes soon had me walk away from all things epoxy by late ‘87.   So while I have attempted to work with these materails in the past, I have no desire to do so in the future.   WHERE DO YOU THINK THE NEXT DESIGN BREAKTHROUGH WILL COME FROM?

“I approach design from the initial aspect of release because release equals curve and curve equals freedom. That’s why we surf.”   YOU’VE BEEN BUILDING A FEW 4 FINS OVER THE PAST FEW YEARS..WHAT BROUGHT YOU AROUND TO GIVING THEM A TRY? Santa Cruz in 2007 (and particularly Steamer Lane) proved to me why there is such an ingrained 4 fin culture in California. Quadfins really suited waves like the Lane where there was a vast amount of water in the bottom third of the wave and very little in the unbroken lip. And seeing locals like Jon Manns effortlessly glide from turn to turn as he surfed, showed me a value in quadfins that I hadn’t quite seen anywhere else. Having said that, the majority of quads we have built have been for the US market and have gone to established quadfin surfers. Locally we build a few but no existing thruster surfers are jumping over the fence to ride them.   HAVE YOU TRIED EPOXY/ EPS OR ANY OTHER MATERIALS APART FROM PU/ PE? I have been involved in the board-building industry for some time (and not always shaping kneeboards) and as part of my work with Barry Bennett in the mid 1980’s, I shaped, glassed and sanded 10’ 6” Epoxy Racing Malibus used in Surf Carnival


Its difficult to define breakthrough should any such new design resemble (or take influence) from the, do I think anything is about to come out of the blue and surprise us all? No. Do I think something may happen that draws distinctly from history? Yes.   Personally, I have been exposed to trifins since the late 70’s (preceeding Anderson’s thruster) and was never tempted by the twin or quadfin style of surfing. I personally believe powerhouse surfing requires the centrally positioned, longitudinally alligned centre fin that single fins, trifins and thrusters all commonly possess.   I would like to see (and am actively pursuing) a Crawford trifin arrangement that is morphed into Anderson’s Thruster. Centre fins would be deeper than they are now allowing them to be positioned further forward. Greater flex than we have currently can be introduced into something like a Greenough high-aspect single fin.  



Simon Farrer pushing his Flashpoint as only he can. pic: Slats

Tail outlines can be widened to give trifins the versatilty in small waves that quadfins enjoy (because they maintain fin engagement despite their width..whereas thrusters generally have tucked tail shapes, the vast majority of which being pintails)   Given the bottom contours we have explored over the past decade, a morphed version of thruster/ trifin would also embrace bonzer-style water release through the tail. The enlarged (and repositioned) centre fin would provide constant pivot and drive and perhaps eliminate the ‘two-stage’ cutback some multi-finned boards generate   All food for thought, I guess (smiling)   DO YOU USE SOFTWARE TO DESIGN OR IS EVERYTHING TEMPLATED AND SHAPED BY HAND? I do not use software to design and can’t see a point in the near future when I will. Without exception, all my shapes are hand-drawn from my current outline templates and cut and foiled and finished by hand.   I do see advantages however in computer cutting machines in certain aspects of shaping where you can use an extremely


sophisticated machine to replace certain hand-tools of the past (ie the hand-planer). At times we have used software to scan and measure eye-designed, hand-shaped plugs allowing us to use the computer-cutting process to eliminate the planer..and the time and the noise associated with it.   HOW HAS THE TRANSITION BEEN HAVING ROSS DILLON NOW WORKING UNDER THE FLASHPOINT LABEL? To have the opportunity to work with and share technical knowledge with someone who appears as dedicated and committed to kneeboarding as I am, is a refreshing thing.. and to do it with someone 20 years my junior, gives me some (albeit immediate) hope for kneeboarding in general, in the not-to-distant future. I have been mentored in the past and perhaps its now my time, to repay the karma.   WHAT HAS BEEN THE BIGGEST DESIGN CHANGE YOU’VE SEEN OVER THE PAST 10 YEARS? Design is a state of mind and over the past few years now, particularly with interactive internet sites such as KSUSA and KSUK I am seeing certain sections of the market refuting the ‘givens’ of the past and considering the ‘what-ifs’ of the present and of the future. I see this allowing design elements such as length, outline curve, rail-line refinement and bottom

contouring now being openly considered by kneeboarders.. where the majority of the kneeboarding market wasn’t thinking of such things a decade ago   I approach design from the initial aspect of release because release equals curve and curve equals freedom. That’s why we surf   While release should never come at the expense of speed, I see pure design as commencing with curve and installing speed (water entry) within it..whereas its obvious that a lot of other interpretations of design begin with straight lines (we are seeing some rockers today that resemble the 70’s) that are

then overtly loosened up somehow (with radical outline breaks for example) to get the boards to turn.   WHICH POINT OF KNEEBOARDING HISTORY DO YOU FEEL WAS THE MOST IMPORTANT FROM A BOARD DESIGN POINT OF VIEW? Internationally it would have to be George Greenough and both the Velo and Edge Board series of spoons. From an Australian perspective, it would have to be Peter Crawford and the Sydney Slab. While I am really hesitant to omit Steve Lis and the Fish here, I must note an important qualification. Greenough designed and developed the Spoon where none existed previously.

Fresh Flashpoint gloss coat...


Crawford designed and developed the Slab where no-one had done so before. Both these designs therefore have that distinct uniqueness of absolute individuality..of being a oneoff, first-off innovation. The Lis Fish albeit unique, was a clever interpretation and amalgamation of pre-existing design elements. HOW IMPORTANT WAS THE CHRIS CROZIERPETER CRAWFORD COMBINATION FOR MODERN KNEEBOARDING? Crozier was my teacher and Crawford was my mentor and neither of course, are with us today (Crozier died 1985 and Crawford 1999). The technique and know-how of my work still comes from Chris to this day and the desire, passion and imagination still beams down from PC. How important IS their combination today? Well I would have to say that CC + PC just won another World Title (smiling again).   WHO DO YOU RATE AS YOUR ALL-TIME FAVOURITE KNEEBOARD SHAPER AND WHY? Given the above it has to be Crozier for his skill, talent and foresight to engage someone like Crawford in the first place!   In a contemporary sense, the kneeboards that catch my eye are being shaped by Chris Diplock. I find it amazing that despite the tyranny of distance between OZ and the UK (meaning direct visual influence is extremely limited) the UK is producing some very talented surfers which are mirroring the Australian forward-drive approach to kneeboarding.   Karl Ward is an excellent example of this and has the skill to compete on an International level. I believe its no doubt that the high degree of refinement in Diplock’s shaping and a modern approach to curve and contour are strong contributing factors to the high level of UK surfing.   DO YOU THINK IT IS IMPORTANT THAT THE KNEEBOARD SURFER/ SHAPER TRADITION CONTINUE? You have mentioned software shaping earlier and this is no doubt allowing non-kneeboard shaper/ surfers whatever, to now shape for the kneeboard market with a degree of confidence that they have never had before. While I am loath to consider it and if our sport is still alive in 20 or 30 yearstime, then perhaps that may be the only way kneeboards will be shaped..but while kneeboarding today still has dedicated kneeboarders producing their equipment, I would hope to think that they are the shapers the market continues to go to


Beautiful (as)symmetry.

for their equipment. WHAT STICKS IN YOUR MIND AS THE MOST OFF-THEWALL BOARD YOU HAVE SHAPED? I find it interesting that surfboard manufacture is the only externally finished fibreglass product on the planet. All other fibreglass objects have an internal finish (because they are layed up outside in from mould etc). A few years ago I was approached by a Sydney Architect who wanted a ‘sculptural centrepiece’ for the reception desk/ area of the offices of The Australian Film Commission in Darlinghurst. He wanted something totally unique and the externally finished fibreglass techniques used in the surfboard industry was the only way he could achieve it. He also specifically wanted the look of freshly shaped polyurethane foam, glassed, sanded and polished to a high gloss finish.   So we shaped and built this incredible looking object resembling a contorted double-ended elephant tusk over a metre and a half long which was suspended (invisibly) 10cm above the granite desktop. Looked insane when the entire office refurbishment was completed and the project won an RAIA award the following year.   WE CAN’T INTERVIEW YOU AND NOT BRING THE NAME OF SIMON FARRER INTO THE MIX..HOW DID THE CONNECTION BETWEEN SIMON AND YOU ORIGINALLY COME ABOUT? Simon is a good friend and unbelievable surfer. We first met early/ mid 1980’s through his cadet/ junior involvement in contests and then further professionally, when he worked with Bennett Surfboards 1988. We started working together as shaper/surfers from 1998 and have done so exclusively since.   HOW MUCH HAS SIMON’S FEEDBACK HELPED YOU FORWARD OVER THE YEARS? Its an age old adage that actions speak much louder than words and it is Simon’s actions that scream loudest to me. The absolutely impossible locations in which he places his boards (please note the term freedom above) demands a lot from his equipment. Speed for example, must be instantaneous, yet relentless. Rails cannot give any hint of catch or grab. Bottom shape must provide water entry even under paddle speed, yet tails and outline must release the instant he instructs it.   What this tells me is that he must have absolute consistancy in all design elements from one board to the other (and we are talking 5’ 9” to 7” 2”). He must have clean, uncluttered lines

in every facet of the board (outline, deckline and bottomcurve) with the ability to jump from one board to the other in accordance with the size and type of waves being surfed where the only variable is the wave itself. It is my responsibilty to take the ‘equipment’ as such completely out of the equation. Remember, all surfers should only surf the wave.. never the board. If a surfer is surfing to suit their boards first and foremost..then the board’s shaper is the one in control and I don’t believe that’s the way it should be.   IS THERE ANY DESIGN ELEMENT IN PARTICULAR THAT SIMON HAS HAD A LARGE ROLE IN DEVELOPING/ PROGRESSING? With the constant quest to push Simon and indeed all our surfers further and quicker than where they were yesterday, then yes..I can say that Simon’s distinct influence over the immediate past 18 months has been to lower our decklines through the back one-third, (ie straightening tail flip) for instantaneuos speed and increasing forward rail-line curve for lift and climb off the bottom. He has also been instrumental in lengthening the planing area of our bottoms by allowing our single concaves to bleed into a double before the spiral vee through the tail commences.   WHERE WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE KNEEBOARDING GO OVER THE NEXT 10 YEARS? The internet has given us a form of media that never existed before. It has brought us closer together as a single unit and gives us the opportunity to broadcast ourselves as that single unit.   Despite our underground past and (with all respect) despite some sections of kneeboarding wanting it to stay that way, I would rather see us getting out of our backyards and making this sport as professional as we can. We have to stop preaching to the converted and offer a product that can stand shoulder to shoulder with any other form/ aspect of surfing and surfing life in general.

Because if we don’t get noticed by others, we will just keep talking to ourselves. Thanks to Bruce Hart at Flashpoint Surfing for taking time out from his beautiful creations to do this interview! Bruce can be contacted at




Morocco A few of my friends are doing a trip to Morocco. A couple of days before they leave the surf forecast is showing that it’s gonna be pretty good for the first 6 days or so. I have nothing going on so I decide to tag along‌ words: Karl Ward

pics: Carla/Karl/


It’s a short flight over and shorter drive from the airport to one of Morocco’s most popular surf destinations Anchor Point. We have an apartment overlooking the point and the surf is a stone’s throw away. The surf report wasn’t lying - Anchors is 8-10 ft with light offshores and not too many people in (which is a rarity apparently). It turns out that there is an incredible sandbar on the inside of the point which is producing near perfect long freight train barrels. Locals are saying its the best its been here for a while... it was firing, wave after wave spitting as it ran down the point!!


Karl Ward, committed tube time... sequence: Carla


For the first week of the trip the waves never drop below 6ft and the sand bar at low tide never fails to produce some amazing waves. The trip is shaping up to be one to remember. The beginning of the second week the swell starts to taper off as a result producing only 3-4 ft waves. I’m kind of grateful in a way as my body is urging me to rest. It then becomes apparent how popular Anchors is as a surfing destination. Due to dropping swell the crowds increase and one afternoon 26

I count over 100 people surfing the point. And with crowds there is always trouble following not too far behind, and sure enough bam!! Frustrated locals kick off. I can sympathise with them in some ways I guess... After a couple of days of average waves and a fair bit of hostility in the water, the surf forecast predicts another thumping swell to arrive with light off shore winds again...Could it be another repeat of the first week?? For the next five days 5-8 ft of some of the best quality waves I’ve seen in years hit the coastline of Morocco, the inside bank doing its thing continuously, the crowd thinning out from the previous smaller days and


is spread out even more by the relentless rip running down the point. Morocco is a country that I have never been drawn towards; the dry dusty dessert isn’t really my cup of tea. It was certainly an eye opener for me seeing the culture and how harsh it seems to live there. It turned out to be one of my funnest trips, I had so much fun, the waves were really amazing and to share them with my closest friends was really cool... To top the trip off, on my last day kneelo Richard Hewitt from the Badlands paddled out into the line up. I told him about the inside section (which I’m sure he saw from the beach). It was great to think while I was flying home that another kneelo was getting shacked too!




NEW ZEALAND All Pics: Steeno



Albert lip bashing. Pic: Steeno

Round 2 done and dusted. A huge thank you to all of those that contributed, I hope you all agree its made a difference!

Steeno Slats Carla

If you have anything you think would be of interest for the next issue do get in touch at either or

Thats all for this issue but there’s already a few things brewing for issue 3...

For more work from some of the contributing photographers check the links opposite...

Keep on kneelin’ The Kneelo Mag crew.

Kneelo Mag Issue 2  

Issue 2 of Kneelo mag featuring interviews with Gavin Colman, Bruce Hart of Flashpoint Surfing and more...