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the catalogue #64 

1979 Freeflight, Col Smith Channel           5ft 11'' #64

MANUFACTURER: Free Flight Surfboards 
SHAPER:  Phil Myers
DESIGN: Col Smith Channel Designs, Double Flyer Channel Bottom (Bee tail)
DESIGNER: Col Smith(Newcastle)/Jim Pollard

CONSTRUCTION:  Fiberglassed foam blank, 1/8'' redwood stringer, spray, Multifins fin box, r/h plug

Length :
 5 ft  11 inches L2:
Width :
 19 1/2
Wide Point :
 +ve 2 1/2
Nose :
 13 1/2
Tail :
 13 inches
Thickness :
 2 1/2 inches
Pod :
 0 inches
Nose Lift :
 4 1/2 inches
Tail Lift :
 2 1/2 inches
Weight :
Volume :
Flyers :
3 - 8 1/2 - 16


Nose: Semi pin 
Tail:  pin, three flyers/wings (Bee tail?)
Deck: flat 
Bottom:  flat with 3 channels parrallel to the stringer, starting behind wide point and exiting at flyers
Rails: Soft down, hard in nose and tail.
Rocker: Smooth,

 7 1/4''x 5'' 
Yellow laminated fibreglass, fitted to Multifins fin box.

1. 'Free Flight Surfboards' script/text  black, nose
2. 'Col Smith Channel' red text, below
3. Double F circle logo and 'Free Flight Surfboards, Ballina. Manufacturers of Col Smith Channel Designs' script/text, all black, rear sweet spot
4. 'Handshaped by Phil Myers' script, tail
1. 'Free Flight Surfboards' script/text  black, nose
2. 'Col Smith Channel' red text, below

Deck:  ' 5' 11''  ' pencil, tail

three symmetric sprayed colour panels (green, yellow, orange - at centre), repeating bottom design, but starts further up the board.
three symmetric sprayed colour panels (green, yellow, orange - at centre) high lighting channel

Purchased 11 December1998, Cash Converters, Miranda Sydney.
Severe Nose delaminaion/damage on deck and bottom.
Nose and tail repairs with Q-cells resulting in damage to major nose decals.

A later example of JimPollard/ColSmith (Newcastle)'s Channel bottom design.
Jim Pollard was originally inspired by an article, ''Groove Ridge Theory'' by Jim Richardson and Art Shafer (both USA), circa 1975 and possibly printed in Surfer or Surfing magazine.
It detailed experiments using flexible polyurethane rubber ridges stuck to the bottom, and concluded that it improved lift and increased directional stability arcoss a range of designs and lengths.

In 1976 -1977 at Noosa Queensland, Jim Pollard had developed a conventional pintail with six(some eight) channels nose to tail, running parrallel to the rails and exiting at matching flyers.
This model was test ridden by Peter Cornish, Steven Butterworth and Col Smith, all Newcastle surfers.

By 1979 the design was modified to straight channels (parrallel to stringer) in the rear 2/3rd, still exiting at the flyers.
This design had international exposure with  successful contest results by Col Smith (Newcastle), notably a win in the Pipeline Masters in 1979?
It was manufactuered in Australia by both Shane Surfboards, Brookvale (Jim Pollard Fluid Foils) and Free Flight Surfboards, Ballina (Col Smith Channel Designs).

From the 1978 Channels were common features on a variety of designs, for example the small flutes on some Mark Richards Twin fins -see #40, and Laurie/Phil Byrne's Clinker Botton Twin fin, circa 1981.
Present on many Single,Twin and Thruster  fin boards of the period, they also appeared on kneeboards (see #58) and sailboards.

The Channels became more subtle features through the 1980's, virtually disappearing from design by 1990. 
Note 1. Channels could be seen as a specific application of concave theory.
Note 2. Design precedent : Greg Noll Surfboards 'da Cat' model 1967, see Schiffer: Surfing (1998) page 67
Magazine Articles
1. Jim Richardson and Art Shafer : Groove Ridge Theory,
in Surfer/Surfing magazine circa 1975 ?
2. Jim Pollard :The Evolution of the Channel Hull, 
in Surfing World magazine Volume 26 #1 1977 pages 56 - 57
Ad : Free Flight/Kirra Surf Surfing World magazine Volume ? #? 


1976 Channel design by Phil Myers
Freeflight Surfboards,
Surfing World
1976 Volume 24 #4  pages 56 - 57 
Photograph by Bruce Channon.

Col Smith - Freeflight Surfboard - Hot Tuna Boardshorts
Surfing World
1981 Number 184

Image Right :
1977 Channel design by Jim Pollard,
Surfing World magazine 
1977 Volume 26 #1  pages 56 - 57 
Photograph by Bruce Channon.
Scanned from double page photograph.

Image Right :
1978 Channel design by Dick van Straleen,
 Surfing World magazine 
1978 Volume 26 #6 1978 pages 26 
Photograph by Bill Bennett.

home catalogue history references appendix

Geoff Cater (1999-2021) : #64 Freeflight Col Smith Channel Design, 1979.