bob mctavish : malibu repertoire, 1967
Here is a rundown of manoeuvres that are partially or fully adopted by the vanguard of Australia's progressive surfing push.
The direction is involvement.
Getting into tight spots and getting back out of them.
This is of course a supplement direction to the all powerful "make the wave" motive.
The way to get involved,
is place yourself in a hairy position, under, in over,
curl, quite often in contact with it.
You can place your self in the actIon in two basic methods, turning and stalling.
That's simple enough.
But the actual variety of turn or stall is the diary part.
Working firstly on turns:
|(a) DEEP BOTTOM TURN is
a stall, as you are holding back from travelling across
the wall till the
hook is hovering overhead.
When you actually lean into the turn there is a redirection of momentum gained by taking the drop, so it's also an obscure manner of acceleration.
| (b) CURL
ACCELERATION TURN is
virtually a bottom turn minus stall.
There is no wait while the hook catches up.
This turn then, must be executed deeper, sometimes following a fade into the hook.
The basic acceleration of the bottom turn is still there.
|(c) TOP RAIL PIVOT TURN, used to get hammering across the already hot wall, is hardly a turn at all, just a slight bank performed on the inside rail, on the widest point of the board.
|(d) CUT BACK followed by
one of the
above turns is a pretty obvious way to jam back into the
|(a) THE TAIL STALL is the
By jamming all your weight on the back half, or less, of your board, means you bury the in- side half and fin pretty deep, creating a mean drag.
The big hang-up with this stall is the acceleration that fol- lows, as it's a damn long way to the fast points from on the back.
Very handy of course to allow you to get to the tip, and hold the stall from there for a while.
|Which leads us to ...
(b) THE NOSE STALL.
To perform this, simply bury the inside rail while on the tip. Most noserides are performed this way, but the stall effect can be heightened by putting most weight on the inside, which establishes heavy drag down the entire rail.
Acceleration from here is a snap. A quick backpedal or sideslip to throw the board back into instant trim.
|(c) DRAG BODY STALL is
Just create a resistance by getting yourself smashed by the curl.
|(d) BOUNCE OR CHOP STALL
can be performed
in any uneven conditions.
Any bounce or chop upsets both trim and break-away effect from rail by establishing turbulence, hence drag.
|(e) INSIDE RAIL ON FAST
two-thirds towards the tip is a safe bet for speed on most boards.
It's a simple matter to establish a trim here, also simple to upset the trim by burying the inside rail and creating the usual drag.
|(f) FIN DROP-OUT STALL is
by far the
most efficient, most difficult.
If performed correctly, it can eliminate a cutback.
Everyone has experienced a fin drop-out and its main effect - loss of forward motion.
When emerging from a hot hollow section it's possible to remove the fin from the wave intentionally, and establish a sideways drift towards the beach.
To get out of the hot parts
Acceleration, speed, knowledge of handling trouble spots.
A few handy acceleration techniques.
|(a) WALKING OFF A
Most surfers "safe it:' and turn, allow the board to climb, and then run forward. If you walk to faster regions of your board while you are finishing off your turn, still banked, you relieve the back of the board of your weight which allows it to climb faster.
Also your weight keeps the front lower, creating a driving attitude much sooner.
Very little loss of momentum.
|(b) SIDE SLIPS can be
on the front half of the board.
They throw the board out of an inside rail stall, and set up a highly efficient trim for half a second while the board is banked outwards.
This half second or so allows the board to leap forward.
The acceleration is noticed as soon as the sideslip is checked, and the momentum gained from the small drop is redirected.
|(c) BACK PEDAL OFF TIP onto fast point is an obvious accelerator.
|(d) JUMPING INSIDE RAIL
OUT of the
wave face and dropping a couple of feet places the nose
lower than the
tail, again in a drive attitude.
Push an inside rail stall to the limit, where the board is horizontal, way out of trim, right at the top of the wave.
The only part of the board still in the wave will be the inside rail and a little piece of fin.
A quick flicking action onto the outside rail and the board is virtually airborne.
As the rail re-enters, jam your weight onto the inside, once again there is a redirection of momentum from a drop.
|(e) UTILIZING DROPPING
OR CURL employs the same principle as (d), but
instead of flicking the rail out, employ falling water to propel the drop.
This method can also be used while in trim on a hot wall.
Instead of back-pedalling and destroying trim to work around the section, just use the dropping section itself to accelerate you around it.
|(f) WALKING TO THE TIP OUT
OF THE CURL
releases your legs and body from the resistance of the
Also places the back of the board clear of white water inside the curl, which means more speed.
|(a) OBVIOUS FAST POINT two
|(b) FASTEST POINT is on
the tip on
the outside rail.
Very delicate. Very fast. So far it's only been used in small waves as an actual dive position.
As we get touchier we'll use it on bigger waes. It is a great sensation, jammed up front moving so fast it doesn't feel right.
Very simple thing to dig outside rai! and get a board in the head.
Fig. 16 Joey Cabell
|(a) WALKING TO TIP OUT OF
A PEARL transfers
more weight over a longer area of rail, hence drag,
which often will "suck"
the nose out of the pearl and place it up into the
| (b) USING HEAD DIPS
AS A THIRD
POINT OF STABILITY.
Punching low under a dropping section and the dropping curl is exploding on the deck of your board, upsetting stability.
By throwing your head, shoulders, arms, hands into the curl you have a "solid" point, at least a point of contact to maintain balance.
Work your head up against the curl, your feet pushing the opposite direction, down hard, onto the inside rail.
Helps avoid many bomb-outs.
|(c) USING THE HEAD DIP TO BLOCK THE CURL from crashing on the deck also means less downward resistance.
|(d) STRADDLING WHITE WATER
One foot on each rail.
Fig. 17 Kevin Brennan
|(e) POWERING TURNS AND
CURLS AND WHITE WATER means faster turns, higher
|(f) CUT BACK "OVER THE
After wave has closed out, or section has dropped, take the drop with curl. Means you don't get pummelled by initial curl.
Fig. 19 Nat Young
Within six months of this article, Bob McTavish (and others) would reduce board lengths from 9ft 6'' to 7ft 6'', rendering the Malibu board (and large sections of this article) obsolete for the next fifteen years.
Apart from the inclusion of state of the art manouvres (Fin Drop Out Stall and Cut Back Over the Falls), it is the re-defining of surfing direction that had a huge impact on Australian surfing....
Modern surfing could be said to be essentially defined by this Involvement Principle and the subsequent BREAK OUT FROM THE STAIGHT LINE. featured in "LADIES AND GENTLEMEN AND CHILDREN OF THE SUN...." SURF INTERNATIONAL Vol. 1. No. 2 1967-8? p 9.
The introductory wave (top - Wreck Bay?), portrait (bottom) and Figures 1 to 12 accompanied the original article and are probably by John Witzig.
Images 13 to 18 have been added to this page.
Where possible the images are of Bob McTavish or representative or the era.
Bob McTavish cutback, Long Reef circa 1967.
Photograph by Jeff Carter
Carter : Surfbeaches of Australia page 65
Bob McTavish fin drop out stall/side slip, Duke Kahanamoku Contest, Sunset Beach December 1967.
Photograph by Dave Darling
i. The accompanying image may or may not be a controlled Fin Drop Out Stall.
The performance of the wide tailed Vee bottoms of Nat Young and Bob McTavish were derided by many Hawaiian designers
ii. Explored by Bob McTavish and Nat Young in 1966, the Fin Drop Out Stall, was briefly revisted 1969-70 by Reno Abellira in Hawaii and Midget Farrelly in Australia with the development of the Side Slipper.
iii. The Fin Drop Out Stall returned to surfing in the late 1980's when it was combined with a Re-entry to produce a Floater.
Accompanied article by Derek Hynd about Bob McTavish and the Vee bottom, Decemer 1967...
Plastic Fantastic Machine1967
Surfer Magazine, April 2002 Vol 43 No 5 page 60
Joey Cabell maximum trim, Angourie, circa 1964.
Photograph possibly by Bob Evans
Farrelly : This Surfing Life page 38
Kevin Brennan, North Avalon, circa 1964.
Photograph possibly by Bob Evans
Also called "bicycling", technically the image is not STRADDLING WHITE WATER.
Margan and Finney : Pictorial History page 291
Bob McTavish cutback redirection, Noosa, circa 1966.
Photograph probably by John Witzig
Accompanied another Bob McTavish article
Alexandria Headlands 1953.
SURF INTERNATIONAL Vol. 3 No3 1970 page 41
Nat Young, Sydney, Australian championships, 1968.
Descibed here as Cut Back 'Over the Falls', this was to be subsequently become a standard manourve and named a Re-entry, Roller Coaster or Re-bound.
Margan and Finney : Pictorial History page 212