Tuesday, October 16, 2012

the Gutter Wonder

Could it be that riding waves is one of the luckiest things we get to experience? Learning to surf is one of the most beautiful memories and riding ones first green water open face ride is a priceless experience. Be honest, it's kept most us coming back over and over again as we develop these coastal lifestyles in order to fit in time with the sea.
I looked long and hard at the progression of my quiver. The boards I was riding even a year back, the kinds of designs I was spending time on refining and promoting. All of which were noble and usually at the highest level of progressive development to performing better on a wave. What did strike me was no matter what I was busy with at any given season or whatever I was witnessing or being influenced by. It is those best memories and library of snap shots, so to speak, of the waves or moments along its ride that were the culmination of imagination and execution delivered on the fleeting opportunity as it moved upwards and shoreward never again to offer a chance of glide. Waves the very fragility of everyone is rather amazing when you think about it and really quite a precarious concept of focused intention aiming in on a never to be repeated fluid movement yards away from its closing expression after having been generated thousands of miles away and gathering life and order through days and nights of its path.
This is the thing. The opportunity to slip along the surface of a wave and use its form to connect a line of rise and fall as it progresses to its end is a very special privilege.
Surfing is an incredibly progressive sport and art of which I'm the best advocate for, however the very thing that got one stoked in the first place could so easily be overlooked in its most simple of shows. What if the very feeling of slipping across the wave face and finding green water canvases to freely skate over and when inline engage a gutter on the wave side rail as the adjacent counterpart is void of its hold when the water flows over its top side and into the compressing concave, only to be forced into the directional hook of the gutter and race toward the tail and release. This providing a directional drive and now an ability to connect to another point of green water sliding like a bakers knife finishing stokes of smoothness on a cake with frosting.
The gutter wonder came from a series of experiments building fin-less and minimally finned surfboards, stemmed from the initial feeling of the rides gathered on Terry Martin's shapes for Jeff Quam. The added benefits of the asymmetry for specific stance allow one so much opportunity for good rides in small small surf and windy conditions or gutless tides. As the wave size and speed improve so the concepts are felt and remain with ease of ride improved and available lines extended.
The concepts of this board are simple. What could give the feeling of freedom along a wave like a fin-less ride put together in the small form of such a short board that was manageable and loose, fitting in more places than a bigger one on a wave and yet have the tracking ability needed on demand to jet from one point to another to advance with the waves coarse hunting more green faced canvases for that come what may fancy like feeling or a premeditated execution of the most imaginative line.
The board is shaped out of 2.2lb eps core, has no stringer and is glassed with 6oz and  epoxy. It is a regular footed model and the added advantages of minimized real estate on the heel side tail and nose add more curve to the back side rail as one leans into the turns with less ability to recover in and out of a leaning pose than the toe's side which thus is longer and straighter with more emphasis on the rocker for curve to fit in the wave using the ability to push and pull ones self to and from the wave face with the toes as your feet pivot from the ankle point.
This pivotal reference is a huge difference in laying up the board as the board flops over from one rail to another and the changes in contours are created for waters flow. The single concave that runs thought the entire bottom of the shape is deeper on the toes side and its medley into rail is formed with a soft chine over the break point into vee rolled tuck under rails which lead into the specific shape and volume heel or toe side specific. Fuller rails on the heel side due to balance weight of the backside and transferred though the planted heel, and a tighter more accurate toe rail for feathering trim of forehand flow.
The board weighs 9.2 lbs and 5'5 1/4" x 18 1/2" x 23 3/4" x 21 1/4" very buoyant and incredibly fun to ride. The deck contours help bring a forgiveness to the rail's line and heighten sensitivity of the boards feel by lowing ones central gravity. These principals really prevent the whole craft feeling too corky.
This is what after all had come and gone and will continue to do, for me a collection of thoughts towards the concept of the FREEDOM TO DREAM LINES.

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