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E L P M SA E L C I T AR slidemagazine.com

#19

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ANcIENt PRESENt

WhItE oWL + EqUAtoR NIcARAGUA + JAck LyNch + WEStERN SAhARA KeNyU TAKAhAShI + SPeNceR ReyNolDS + loNg BeAch ISlAND


The

Ancient Present Collective Thoughts on the Post-Modern La-La Interviews by Shawn Tracht


The rebirth of finless surfing in the past few of years, particularly via alaia-inspired wooden planks, hurled a wicked curve at the established notions of what 21st Century waveriding was to be. And while alaia pilots going “la-la” all over breaks worldwide is nothing new, an international crew of shapers and surfers at the forefront of post-modern finless (and near-finless) designs are beyond state-of-the-art. Studying classic Hawaiian surfboard theory to push a new generation of futuristic surfcraft, this cadre – including Derek Hynd, the brothers Wegener, Josh Farberow, Scott Anderson, Roger Hall, Sage Joske, Ray Finlay, Jacob Stuth, David Rastovich, Jesse Faen, and Chadd Konig – shared some of what they know about this, the ancient present. 1

1. Chadd Konig’s very modern slash on a very ancient design. [o] Seth de Roulet.

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How are ancient alaia design theories making their way into modern designs? Derek Hynd: Dale Egan has always had a certain amount of talent and the will to cut different trails, so it wasn’t a surprise when he chopped his fins in the early 1990s and surfed his own secret spot – mostly in seclusion – for a decade. What he did out of invention was revisit the sideslipper era, but with Thrusters. Dale was no mug. Back in the day, as a 15-16-year-old, he was the template for Tom Carroll; a couple of years older than Tom, but light years ahead of anyone riding the barrel. He rode his Nah Fins up at Noosa for a few years before the fins came right off my boards, well before any wood was around. Back then I was riding a 5’4” Bushrat Fish and first connected with Dane Peterson – who was blazing on his own fish, no leash, in front of the Tea Tree rocks. Anyway, a ton of credit has to go Dale’s way for drawing such different lines

up there and getting people to think. Jacob Stuth was the first guy we saw riding an alaia with performance technique. That was around early 2007. At that stage Dale and I were hooked into our separate zones of free-friction, and it was freaky to see another human with the same base theme. So here we had the three seeds at play – quarter fins, no fins on foam and glass, and no fins on wood. If Dale is a forgotten man in the process, then Jacob is likewise. Perhaps with the esteemed Tom Wegener’s penchant to disseminate his designs en masse, Jacob was lost in the wash. He was first to lay down wild speed lines and direction changes on alaias. The trivial lip service given to him in The Present was a slap in the face of the history of modern alaia surfing. For the past five years, Dale has torn the bags out of Tea Tree’s bottom section in size. He’s been a prime inspiration to just go hard without much hold. It’s got to be said that for all the bluster of who’s done what, Dale started the ball rolling

He’s been a prime inspiration to just go hard without much hold. –Derek Hynd

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1. Josh Farberow, adrift amidst a serious frontside 360 whip. [o] de Roulet. 2. Scott Anderson experiments with another “Slide and Glide” prototype. [o] Mike Gomez. 3. The 6’2” finless brainchild of Roger Hall. [o] Logan Murray. 4. Tom Wegener and son showcase the differing “Seaglass” and “Tuna” designs. [o] Al Ashworth.

with friction free, and he hasn’t stopped. Jon Wegener: The alaias are ground zero – they give a “natural feeling” that feels really good. It’s almost like it’s a done deal on an alaia. So the goal with the designs coming off the alaia toward modern construction is to be able to keep that same satisfaction, but on boards that are more accessibly ridden by more people. To share that “natural feeling” of sliding, or the la-la, with more people, by making finless or near-finless boards of present-day materials like foam and fiberglass, to create boards that paddle better and are easier to catch waves on. Scott Anderson: Alaias are like swimming into a wave, whereas foam and fiberglass allow you to paddle into a wave like a surfboard, except without fins. You don’t have drag, so you get a very similar feeling of the alaia’s controlled slide feeling.

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David Rastovich: Aren’t us humans great at trivializing and complicating things? People will feud for years on need about an idea in their head regarding these bent pieces of wood or plastic that we ride waves on. I like to keep it simple. Surfboards are just a bunch of curves that surround each other. Of course, every combination of curves resembles other combinations, so every surfboard is related very closely to each other. Ray Finlay: Two years ago, when Ryan Burch and Eric Snortum from San Diego arrived in Raglan, was the first time I’d seen alaias being ridden for real. They blew my mind, and everyone else’s who witnessed that. They were surfing so fast and carving, too. Two weeks later, Sage Joske and Brett Baller from Australia turned up with about eight alaias of differing lengths. Those guys were making a film. It was very interesting. We had to have a

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go and make some ourselves. However, the lack of flotation was a real drawback. Later, Sage and Brett came back, but with foam and glass versions of an alaia. It was getting better. I have since seen the clip of Derek Hynd [surfing double overhead J-Bay on a finless board, getting completely shacked and ripping 50-foot power slides across the faces of those green walls], and I’ve seen Burch riding that square slab of Styrofoam in Stoked & Broke. As a shaper, it’s made me really reevaluate everything I thought I knew about curves and fins and volume, and everything, actually. Sage Joske: My interest and experience has been more in riding replicas of the ancient Hawaiian boards. I made a board called the “Vector,” which is an alaia/fish hybrid, a melding of these two boards from separate time periods. It is unique in that it has an alaia outline (with the

addition of a slight bump wing approximately six inches from the tail), and an alaia double-edged square rail. The fish elements are the rocker, a deep swallowtail, and tiny 8” [long] by 1½” [high] keel fins. Chadd Konig: I’ve heard a lot of people talk about rails on alaias and transferring those rail thoughts over to regular finned boards, because on an alaia, your rail is your fin. You get to experience the rail to its utmost. Jacob Stuth: The surfing community has welcomed the ancient design theories of the alaia boards. Reconnecting with old photos and boards from the Bishop Museum, we have noted subtle design elements that were created by hundreds of years of trailing designs and whittling away, splinter by splinter, until the perfect shape was realized. Today we do the same: shape, ride, shape, ride, until we think

we have learned all there is to know about shaping a surfboard. Then some dude rides by on his alaia, drawing lines that the socalled modern surfboard could not achieve. What is modern? Isn’t this ancient board modern? Often in the lineup at Noosa, I will feel like the alaia is the best board for a certain swell, yet crew will ask: Where are the hinges? Is that a dunny door? Is that an ironing board? What is that? After a successful ride it is clear that this board is not a dunny door. It is a contemporary surfboard that rides high on the face with speed. Josh Farberow: Looking back in time, the idea was to slide across water, get into a wave, and hold a line. Now we’re doing the same thing, but with more ease of catching more waves [on a foam and fiberglass version of a finless], which means having more fun. Tom Wegener: The heavier, flat, finless wood boards are


the fastest surfboards on the water. This fact has sparked the imagination of modern shapers who have little experience with the ancient craft. Speed is fun. Jesse Faen: All designs remain relevant since every change borrows from what we already know. Roger Hall: When you look at ancient surfboards, the first thing you notice is there were many types. Not just one general design. Not just different lengths and sizes, but also different styles. It would appear that ancient Hawaiian surfing was quite sophisticated in its culture and application. It also appears to have been totally finless. Those surfers developed a mastery of curves and contours. These curves and contours have been part of the evolution of surfboards to the present day, although some of their application and potentness may soon be fully

realized. I think the finless revival will be responsible for this. Going forward, this could represent a significant change in the way surfboards are designed and could lead to a more complex or multifaceted approach to shapes. Why shape finless or near-finless boards?

It’s made me really reevaluate everything I thought I knew.

–Ray Finlay

Tom Wegener: The question is: Why put a fin on a really great surf craft? Jon Wegener: There is never a lack of speed on a finless because there is no drag. These are the fastest boards in the water, period. Going fast is what it is all about! Anderson: It’s something to do that is a new challenge. People are getting stagnant with boards these days. Farberow: The “Slide and Glide” board was in my mind for such a long time. While surfing I was always wishing I was on the

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1. Sage Joske and his “Vector” model. [o] Tom Woods. 2 & 3. Top and bottom views of Ray Finlay’s take on fins-free. [o] Ashworth. 4. Jordie Brown pushes a demo Tuna through a drop-knee-turn test. [o] Scott Wintle.

other board – a longboard or a shortboard. This board does both. It has the trim and paddle of a longboard, but it also fits into the small pocket of waves. With the “Slide and Glide” you can come off the bottom with 1/10th of the bottom turn of a finned board, and the bottom turn is just perfect. Hall: My job as a shaper is to explore and experiment with surfboard shapes and come up with meaningful design options and solutions to enhance my customers’ surfing pleasure. I am naturally open-minded and curious about all things related to surfboard shapes. By exploring finless boards, we can learn a lot more about surfboard shapes and hydrodynamics, which we can then feed back into finned surfboard shapes. It is a win-win situation. Finlay: I’ve had stuff going through my head for so long:

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imagining boards, rails, edges, and basically mind-surfing designs while I’ve been shaping other stuff. Hynd: Probably for a different feeling. I had a 10-year-old finless board that I eventually tried in April 2006. A 7’0” shaped by Mike Psillakis, glassed by Baddy Treloar in his garage. It had been simply finished that way as a gift that never reached its final destination. That board looked at me the way boards tend to sometimes. A day or so after riding an old “GT Firestone” racing stripe Coolite from my 1969 grom days, I tried it, along with a 5’10” Dahlberg. I felt an amount of line, a touch of possibility, a funny thrill, like learning to surf all over again. Then it got serious when Jack McCoy and I were researching A Deeper Shade of Blue. Jack remembers me musing how surfing would have progressed so differently had [Tom] Blake’s fin not taken popular hold. I figured that the way Buttons and Liddell

surfed would have been the norm. I loved what they used to do. I guess I made a commitment right then to see where it could lead in the modern sense. I’d been into different surfing most of my life and, having witnessed the art form turn to conformist sport then industry, stepping way back to possibly go way forward seemed the most logical thing to do, in the punk sense. Why ride these boards? Hynd: As above, I’d been bummed for a few years by the degradation of the pure fish. From the moment I’d seen one of the Malloys front up at J-Bay on a Pavel fish with four fins dumped on it, I wanted to run a mile from the way surfing was going. Pure form was on the way down the gurgler with the way of the industry if the fish was being ruined this way. Fewer and fewer surfers seemed concerned with purity. To start getting into free-friction surfing was like getting as far away from

There’s nothing serious about it. It’s just pure enjoyment. –Jesse Faen 2

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1. Dane Reynolds has a finless freesurf during an off-day at Jeffrey’s Bay. [o] Grant Ellis. 2. Beachbreak barrel chase. Interviewer Shawn Tracht searches for the finless’ limits. [o] Jeff Pfost. 3. Konig, low road alaia run at Rincon. [o] de Roulet. 4. Derek Hynd goes friction-free at Noosa. [o] Wintle. 5. Farberow, controlled sideslip set up toward a cove speed drive. [o] Branden Aroyan.

the maddening crowd as a surfer could get. Haven’t touched a finned board since, and I haven’t wanted to. Rasta: Why do we eat differing foods every day of our lives? Diversity is a central element of enjoyment in life and is a central element of every healthy organism. Walk into a monoculture pine forest and see how less vibrant it feels compared to a native forest filled with varying plants, birds, insects, sounds, and aromas. Faen: For the fun of it. There are no rules about how you have to surf or what you have to ride, so the more you experiment, the better the chances of finding something special. All board shapes and fin setups give you a different feel to riding a wave. Finless boards are humbling, and you gain a new appreciation of the glide effect. These boards really do make you read a wave more to utilize all the sections to

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generate speed or to simply fool around more. There’s nothing serious about it. It’s just pure enjoyment. Stuth: I ride the finless for the sheer speed and close connectivity to the natural wave energy. Finless boards are radical, unpredictable at times, and a pure thrill to ride in head-high surf. How is riding a finless or nearfinless board different from boards with fins? Stuth: More emphasis is placed on riding a particular part of the wave. The lack of rocker means the rider must always be aware of the dynamic pocket of the wave and ensure placing the board to avoid a nosedive. Otherwise it’s all about the la-la, the ancient sideslipping style that, until recently, was lost from surfing. When your slipping sideways and moving down the line, you’re tapping into this unusual diagonal ride that is

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pure stoke. The la-la is a totally radical, almost out-of-control maneuver, and it is a joy to watch. Rasta: These boards have less drag, and more sensitivity is required. It sure lightens the mood in most crowded lineups. And I enjoy using my rail a lot and the flex of the whole board, too. Joske: Well, obviously, there is less drag with no fin, so the finless boards feel faster in a straight line. Fins are very efficient control structures, so when you ride finless you are relying on your rail and bottom contours for control. With a finned board, I think it’s easier to apply power through a turn, whereas on a finless, you’re not applying as much force. Instead, it feels like you’re directing forces and trying to maintain control. There’s a delicacy and subtlety involved with the force applied – you can’t just jam a turn relying on your fins. You have to be aware of your center of gravity, and there are times you have to remain low.

Farberow: It’s a combo of the glide and paddle of a longboard, the rail-to-rail acceleration of a twin-fin, and the ability to do these insane 50-foot power slides like if you were on a skateboard bombing a big hill. The only difference is that you can push these boards as hard as you want, because if you fall on one of those turns, you’re only falling on water. Whereas if you fell on a skateboard, you’d have this huge raspberry on your leg where you hit the concrete. Also, it’s bridged a gap in my surfing life at a perfect time. The finless thing is the first time in my life that I haven’t been trying to emulate something else. Riding one of these boards carries components of riding many different boards, but the best thing is that I’m not trying to conform to any particular way I am supposed to be riding this board because it’s new and we’re pioneering it. Faen: Finless boards eliminate the concept of having to do a

certain type of turn in a certain part of a wave. They create a great excuse to do nothing, or just spin around in 360s, or just let the wave decide how your ride will be. You can learn to control them and ultimately turn and ride with more control, but the lack of control is what makes them a challenge and more fun than a standard board you are used to. What type of constructions have you been involved in? Tom Wegener: On March 5, 2005, my mind was blown when I saw Jacob Stuth ride across a small wave with more speed than I could imagine from a finned board. He was on a 10’4” alaia. If he could go much faster across a little wall on a finless board than we can on a finned board, we are very confused. Since then, I have made many boards pursuing the concept of ancient Hawaiian surfing. The alaia surfing was called la-la, and this is a little scrap left over


from many hundreds of years of surfing. I have pursued the la-la through solid wood, hollow wood, surfboard foam, and EPS foam. It seems that the thin, solid paulownia alaia is the best when on the wave, but in many circumstances the EPS “Tuna” is better when the surf is not perfect for the wood. Farberow: The “Slide and Glide” is a board that I have refined with Scott Anderson. I basically made about four boards and then took them to Scott. I started with a 9’2” and took a foot-and-a-half off of each end and left the rocker that you have from a longboard, and added a board with new bottom contours. What I got each time was a board that had a lot of paddle, similar to a longboard, but, most importantly, the trim line that you get that carries you through a wave. Anderson: Working with Farberow, we’ve experimented with all kinds of different constructions: from

polyester to epoxy to Styrofoamcore boards with a wood veneer, and vacuum-bagged. So far, the polyester boards seem to work the best for our design. As for what’s next, maybe carbon fiber. Who knows? The challenge is what keeps it exciting and new. Hynd: I’ve gone through around 10 generations of modifications, from failures early on to the flip side of it for the past five years. Every board has been different – from deep parabolics to standard outlines. The parabolic worked super well, but I lost it for three years. I found it in the back of my shed last month. In the wash up, it’s more about rail edge than anything else. I particularly found that to be a key when modifying a board that Belinda Baggs brought down from Noosa for Musica Surfica, a jazz fusion event of classical music and ancient surfing. Dane Peterson had chopped the tail off a long finless, which made a failed experiment suddenly viable, then

It’s all about the la-la, the ancient sideslipping style that, until recently, was lost from surfing. –Jacob Stuth 2

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1. Joske templates his next near-finless amalgamation. [o] Woods. 2. Jesse Faen, tube time R&D in Los Angeles proper. [o] Gomez. 3. Chad Marshall hucks a spin-slide at his local beachie. [o] Gomez. 4. Futuristic surf spacecraft from Felix Dickson. [o] Ashworth.

I got into the thing with edge work, which was revealing. What was of most interest was the feeling of the free-friction fence, which was of a different genre to the wood marvels of Sage Joske and Tom Wegener. Three foamand-fiberglass boards, two of mine, and the one from Dane and Belinda – each of them radically differing designs – were more than valid. From there, things started to leap. A trip immediately afterwards with Sage and eminent mat rider Warren Pfeiffer further evolved things. I’d cut into a 23”-wide Farrelly sailboard and also built a super spear – 8’4”, under 18” wide by 5” thick, with a concave deck and concord nose. The former had nothing but a basic edge. The latter had 25,000 channels. They both flew. It meant that there were multiple functional variations with freefriction boards. Hall: I have made some redwood boards as historic examples. They got me wanting to feel the ride, so

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I used a damaged polyurethane blank to make a 10’ experimental hot curl-style noserider. The last 12” or so of the tail is solid timber. I have also made a polyurethane 6’2” modern take on the hot curl. Take us through your shaping progressions. Hall: I chose to start with the 1930-period hot curl design because that was the state of the art before Tom Blake came up with the fin. That seemed to me to be a good place to start rather than coming in with a totally modern take on it. I used the 10’ board to teach me how to ride the 6’2”. From riding the 6’2” I have designed another 6’2” with some changes aimed at widening the rideable bandwidth in terms of reducing slide and giving more thrust. I also plan on shaping a midlength option to further explore the finless realm. Tom Wegener: This is painful.

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It is too long and reminds me of how much money I have lost on the way. I recently got back the 98th alaia I shaped. It was the first alaia with the bottom contours that work really good. I made it for Rasta when he was going to Hawaii. It was the board featured in many magazines and the only board that worked at Sunset in the movie The Present. I look at my wall in my shaping bay where I write every custom order down. I nearly made 100 alaias at no profit. From number 98, the show began. Jon Wegener: We’re moving from the alaia because they are hard to paddle and catch waves on. On steep waves, the boards are so flat it’s too hard to take off late. The boards are evolving to deal with those aspects. You want to paddle out and have float, paddle power, and be able to surf more critical waves by putting in a little rocker. Tom became friends with Bill Wallace. He’s like an

Australian [Hap] Jacobs or [Dale] Velzy, and he makes “Kookpicks” from wood, hollow airplane-wing constructions. Ten to sixteen feet and fun to ride. Heavy, though. This was the first version of a hollow, finless board. First pace of a bigger, hollow, finless board that was easier to paddle. We started making hollow wood boards, but those are major undertakings. So I tried to make them with foam between 6’ and 7’, near-finless, with inch high rudders, PU, wrapped wood around the sides, like with what Firewire is doing. Imagine the whole rail with wood around it. I really enjoy the flex of wood. I love the way wood bends; it creates speed, etc. Small rudder fins. California waves are mushy, so little tiny fins help you catch through the whitewash, and enough so that when you crest a whitewash section, it won’t spin you out. Farberow: Jon Wegener’s influence has been very relevant. I have

two really good friends – Brad Barneson and Mike Beckwith (the ultimate glass-shop guy who had connections with Jon). These guys were hanging out with me, riding these alaias, and after awhile I thought, Okay, give me that thing, let me ride it. And that alaia was okay, but it’s what I began to think about – combining that feeling with the feeling that I got from my longboard. Basically, it’s all just sharing information. There’s clearly a connection between all of these boards and what Jon Wegener is doing. Mike hung out with Jon when he was making these boards; he was actually one of the guys who helped me with the glasswork. We made about eight boards one summer and got some that started working. That was my transfer from wood to foam. That’s when people started asking me if I knew what Derek Hynd was doing. I didn’t. I was so happy with where I was going with my designs that I didn’t even want to be influenced by it. It has


definitely been really rewarding to shape because I get to have the creative freedom that years of surfing and experience prepared me for. Putting my own hands to work on a bunch of these boards before sharing them out allowed me to get as close as possible to the feeling of the ride I was looking for. Scott Anderson has been great to me and has further helped the design really take hold. I can’t say enough about him and Jon. Anderson: I never built alaias. I wasn’t into them, and Jon was already doing it. I said to myself, though, There must be something better than this. I just couldn’t believe that with today’s technology we were going to go back to riding a flat piece of wood. I was more into looking forward, to designing these boards with modern technology. How do these boards fit into your quiver?

Hynd: These finless boards are not just another board in the quiver. Since 2006 it’s been a case of “…and now for something completely different.” Taking off on a wave and letting the board run free. The moment I rode without fins was a turning point in the how and why of my wanting to surf. I’ve had more fun surfing the past five years than in the 30 years before. Rasta: I love riding my alaias on the pointbreaks where I live when they are four feet and bigger, no wind, no bumps. My 16’ Olo comes out only when a deepwater bombie off the cape here starts to break bigger than six feet. Stuth: When I feel like a challenge and when there are smaller peelers. Faen: I love having a semi-finless “Slide and Glide” board shaped by Scott Anderson in my quiver. They’re ideal for fast righthand

They want to come off the bottom and open up over a long section.

–Josh Farberow

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1. Marshall picks up a freshie at the Anderson factory. [o] Gomez. 2. Jeff Beck’s newfangled EPS/poplar finless sled for Nine Light Surfboards. [o] Surf-Shot.com. 3. Near-finless shortie noseride. Taylor Jensen in Oz. [o] Ashworth. 4. Trevor Gordon goes backside la-la at a quiet Gaviota nook. [o] Michael Kew.

pointbreaks on my forehand. I ride them just to appreciate different parts of the wave, total speed glides, and the fun of sliding around whenever desired. Farberow: They are made for Malibus and Rincons and downthe-line waves; they want to come off the bottom and open up over a long section. I’m still riding everything. It’s definitely a nice board to put in the car for when there’s not a lot of surf and I don’t want the longboard sticking out of the car. In the past, I would take a shortboard and a longboard when I was going to be out running errands and the waves were small, but with swell possibly on the way. That was always annoying because I had the longboard sticking out of the back of the truck all day. Especially when you have the dog back there, you don’t really want the back of your truck open if you have a shell. So, lately, having a finless board has been really nice

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because, between a 6’3” thruster and a 6’ “Slide and Glide,” it’s a good, compact quiver. Will these boards go mainstream? Hall: People who have a genuine love for surfing and riding waves will be attracted to riding finless. I don’t really care if it catches on in a mainstream way or not. I don’t think that is what surfing is all about. If it appeals to you, give it a try. If not, then don’t knock it. Konig: It’s great if people try finless boards. If it makes them happy, that’s nice. One of the main reasons Tom started making those “Seaglass” boards was so people could catch waves easily but still feel that weightless, simple glide once they’re on the wave. It’s really fun to find that new feeling of surfing, like learning how to surf all over again. There are no rules, and that’s what surfing was originally all about. Surfers were outcasts, on the fringe of society, and finless

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boards kind of bring that element back. Hynd: No matter what the level of surfing, fun is the beginning and the end – or it should be. The only challenge is in giving way to pure fun and deconstructing a structured program. It just doesn’t matter how anyone surfs. Fun is the simple key. I’ve had four magic boards the past four years that have meant more collective fun to me than in all the decades before. Free-friction just seems to throw a totally new thrill into the art of waveriding. As for the “mainstream,” with respect, though, with Tom Wegener’s action in mass production out of Asia, the creature has already bolted mainstream. There’s no going back when Bambi gets nailed in the headlights this way. I just hope everything can stay fun. Tom Wegener: I hope the finless thing catches on. Even in the foam it connects people with surfing’s ancient Hawaiian roots.

It brings the challenge and skill back. You will know what I am talking about when you try it.

that crowd to show up at the beach with a finless under their arm. However, good surfers have been wanting to try them. Now is definitely going to be the time, though, if ever, because minds are really open to the ride-anything movement.

Jon Wegener: It’s a hard one to say. I think it will in one way or another. I don’t think it will be as popular as a 6’2” thruster. They’re not going away. I think a majority of people will have one at one time or another. Alaias you put away in the wintertime because it’s too cold to sit in the water, and the waves are a little too steep and thick. So, in that regard, I think the more modern boards, foam and fiberglass, for example, suit the winter waves better. However, I have guys in Hawaii who are starting to bring these boards everywhere and are really charging on them.

Rasta: Fun! Uncategorized joy. Us all dropping the crap we put on each other, and just celebrating the joy of surfing and the incredible good fortune of being able to ride waves. There are a lot of people doing this, so I guess it’s already happening, but perhaps that will be portrayed a little more in the reflection that we look at in all our media mirrors.

Anderson: I don’t know. It’s hard to say if the 6’1” x 18 1/4” x 2 1/8” thruster shortboard mainstream guys will ride them. Those surfers generally ride what the media tells them to. It’s almost like it could be too much of a risk for

Hall: What is next for me is a lot more experimentation and finless water time. This is a very broad field to explore, and it is an exciting time to be a shaper. I am playing with wood-weighted tails; I think timber’s weight and

What’s next?


buoyancy have good application to finless riding. I think flex will play a bigger part in both finned and finless surfing. The ultimate finless board will be wooden.

as far as you can go with a finless board. That was amazing to see and it got me really inspired to try surfing a bunch of big waves around my home.

Jon Wegener: Just getting the finless stuff to be even more accessible to the average surfer and the number of days people will be surfing. I think people will be surfing Pipeline and spots like that soon on a finless or nearfinless board.

Stuth: The youth are the future. They are surfing better every year. With trailing tools like the finless boards, the grommets are sure to be ripping in the present moment. Now is the best time to be a surfer, drawing from all the experiences of surfers from the past, utilizing designs from the ancient culture to enhance the modern stoke. Grab a piece of timber and shape your own, rub some beeswax and gum turpentine on it, and you have yourself a modern surfcraft.

Konig: Finless surfboards have been around longer than any other design, and today they don’t seem like they’re going away. Throughout this whole time that surfing’s been changing and getting faster and bigger, it’s been really fun to watch, but I’m sure there’s some guy on some island who’s still riding a piece of wood and doesn’t know any different, and it’s been the same for his whole life. But as far as what’s next, Rasta kind of did it on that big Waimea wave. I feel like that’s

Tom Wegener: I hope to erase the decades of surfing stagnation between 1980 to 2010. Before then, surfing was alive with changes every year. I think surfing will fragment into lots of subgroups. I personally love boards over 16’. I hope to share those waves that are good for

This is a very broad field to explore, and it is an exciting time to be a shaper.

–Roger Hall

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the big boards and are presently unridden with a new group of surfers. Farberow: You can get tubed on these things, drive and fly down the line, and really enjoy a new way of surfing through combos that you really haven’t seen or felt before. I really like where my contours are right now, and where I’ve come. With experimentation progression will happen, and these boards will just get better and better.

2 3

1. Andy Powers, head-dip status on his self-made balsa/redwood Simmonsalaia combo. [o] Surf-Shot.com. 2. Faen’s under-the-lip la-la in LA. [o] Gomez. 3. Hynd, making his finless charge on the legendary walls of Bell’s Beach. [o] Wintle.

THE ANCIENT PRESENT ¤ SLIDE ¤ 57

ISSUE 19 SAMPLE The Ancient Present  

The Ancient Present SLIDE investigates how the alaia design resurgence has fueled the present and future of finless and near-finless designs...

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