PitPilot article

Here’s an artice I recently wrote for PitPilot magazine May/June 09 issue in the UK

Pitpilot article

 

Here’s a readible version of the text –

Jez Browning -32, Surf instructor, and self confessed surf junky from tender age of 5. Gets his fix by researching, touching, holding, and finally riding (oh yes, he said riding) new boards and fins whilst wearing the latest most flexible rubbers (wetsuits)! It’s a craving usually fulfilled daily at work (www.surfexperience.com) in Portugal, or by uploading his thoughts and test results to his site www.kudossurf.wordpress.com

 

December 5, 2005, we as surfers should drink to that date. That was when Gordon “Grubby” Clark, of clark foam, shut his doors for good.End of Clark’s monopolistic grasp on surfboard evolution. Hurrah!! This started the “new better materials for surfboards” race. It’s been going for a few years now and already were reaping the benefits. Aviso’s, Bufo’s, Firewire’s, Surftech’s are all the positives from it so far. Here’s what I think we can expect soon; Sustainability – A fully recyclable board or one made from green materials. The Eden board is 50% there. This will get closer to 100%. Bufo’s are 100% downcyclable, meaning they can recycle the foam and use the rest for something else such as fire extinguishers. But nothing I know of is 100% recyclable. Already there are boardies made from plastic bottles. Lokbox/101 are making Bamboo fins which have only proved positive so far. Maybe a board from Bamboo will be perfected. Why can’t our boards be greener? The High performance market is going to be adding a new dimension on their boards. Flex. New materials such as carbon and exotic foams are already giving us boards with “pop”. The perimeter flex (parabolic stringer) boards such as Firewire, Quiver, JS Paraletics are giving boards with better drive and “loading up” properties . Al Merrick/Burton’s highly secretive “Skunk Works” department have only released the Double Helix technology so far which is surprising to me. With Burton’s expertise from the snowboard industry, I reckon something pretty significant will be coming out soon. I think flex characteristics will give us a more kinetic board.Bufo and their Hydroflex technology are pretty much there. As we load it up with body torque, the board will give back when needed leading to more drive, tighter, faster turns and higher freakier airs. This speed will allow waves deemed unrideable to be conquered too. Universal, efficient shapes – Curran started it, Slater is pushing it, who will finish it? Slater already sneeked a peek into future shapes with his god like performance at Pipe on a 5’11..er…thing! Rather than a quiver of specialist boards, we’ll just have one for knee high to double overhead. Maybe bigger. Shapers are realising whats needed and taken away the rest of the board. Jeff Alexander realised this 15+ years ago with his twin nosed Gemini Speed Freak. Other more well known shapers have cottoned on to this too with the Lost Rocket and Meyerhoffer longboards as prime examples. Maybe we’ll be riding switch soon, so double ended shapes could pop up again, possibly finless. Cole is experimenting with some crazy boards such as the BD3. Sadly any new technology that doesn’t get used on the WCT guys gets written off. They’re so finely tuned to their boards that any major change would make or break they’re career! What they’re riding anyways won’t work for you. So next time you see a 5’0 x 20″ x 3″ double ended, squash nose/tail, with parabolic, triple concave, 6 bamboo finned punt stick. Don’t laugh, ask for a go, it could well be that “magic” one.

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