Which category(ies) is(are) performing most within your range: entry-level, high-perf, midlengths & retro crafts, funboards, longboards?
The mid-length category has definitely exploded in popularity. It almost seems like every brand has at two egg/mid-length models these days. The Tomago, Egg in Japanese is a mid-length I produce that is a really easy to surf board. It allows for smooth rail to rail surfing. The outline is a full in all the right places you need for float while the rails are pulled down just enough to translate to precision feel. All of my boards are geared towards the surfer looking to have a more stylish, soulful experience on the wave. Again I’ve been making boards for quite a while so I guess you could say they have retro characteristics…but really what I am trying to do is take all the great things I’ve learned from the before me and my experiences then combine that with new ideas. I don’t think people want categories they just want to surf better and I wake up every morning and go to work in the shop trying to make that happen for them.
What used to be considered as alternative crafts (twins, midlengths) are the new normal and overtook the classic performance shortboard sales. Does this mean the fun factor is more important than the actual performance? If we were to quote Phil Edwards: “The best surfer out there is the one having the most fun.”
I think I read something Phil said one time about a surfer being, “made, not born.” We sure are lucky to have pioneers of the sport like Phil. I guess what I take away from this question is that surfing is always evolving. Looked at as an art, form of self expression, or performance it is hard not to see how “fun” clearly translates to good surfing. I mean when you watch a wave from the beach and you can tell somebody is having fun its pretty hard to say they weren’t performing at their highest level. As a shaper I feel it is my responsibility to keep evolving according to the surfers needs so they can keep having fun. Right now long drawn out turns in critical parts of the wave are king, but at the same time style is a must. Let’s not forget we are not all pr level surfers. What I am seeing that resonates with my customers are boards that make performance easier and allow a surfer to imbue style and flow into their wave riding. This usually means a little more volume here, a pulled down rail there and v on the bottom where others would go with a single concave.
A few years back, high-end techy EPS/carbon surfboards were the hype. But eventually the masses stick to an old-fashioned PU board. Isn’t the lack of innovation a threat for the development of the surfboard industry?
Hype and fads come and go. While they can be great for driving change at a rapid process and are easily identified by surf media or other orgs looking for labels they are not at the core of why we innovate. I think the surf world will always continue to innovate. Innovation is probably written into the DNA of most surfers and definitely is in most shapers. Carbon and EPS were very visible for a few years but its really the innovation you don’t see that piles up to make surfboards and surfing better and better. Its the new generation who are designing on a computer and the others who have mastered the planer as good as their mentors. It’s the laminator whose years of expertise result in lighter boards that are more durable. It’s the new bio friendly materials. It’s large scale manufacturing making processes previously unavailable to small businesses accessible. It’s tweaking, testing, and combining the knowledge from the past into new ideas for the future. I have a 1960’s style longboard that is very similar to what I learned to surf on, but is tweaked based on my decades of shaping experience, that we are building a lightweight and durable Tuflite construction. Working with a different process allows us to create a boards that has all the characteristics you look for in a 1960’s log without the cumbersome through your back out weight.
A one board quiver. The “Tomago” allows for both casual cruising and performance surfing. A “user-friendly” surfboard and wave magnet that handles a multitude of conditions making surfing fun again. Due to the fullness of the outline the Tomago catches waves easily getting you in early. The rounded pintail design gives the board holding power when you need it. The combination of the outline, rocker, bottom configuration, and overall balanced foil make this a versatile model working well in beach breaks and lined up point waves.
As the name implies, the Dream Fish is a Fish that performs beyond expectations. The curve of the outline allows you to get more vertical than the traditional Fish, while the width in the tail gets you through the flatter or slower sections. Expect fast, loose, carving possibilities that are only limited by your imagination, the “Dream Fish” is a perfect choice for versatility and overall performance surfing. Due to Roger’s unique fin box placements The Dream Fish can be ridden with the characteristics of a Fish, Twin Fin or Thruster it will take your surfing to a new level, while giving you versatility.
Experience the best of the past with the top design elements of the present, experience “the Renaissance.” “Renaissance” is a French word for “rebirth”, or a new interest in something that has not been popular for a long time. The Renaissance model revisits and revises the top longboard plan shape from the 1960’s; the height of the longboard era, and combines it with modern rocker, rail, and foil design elements to bring it into the present. The modern pulled down rail allows for smooth and easy rail to rail transitions. The advanced fine foil increases the speed and the glide which makes for fast clean surfing.