mctavish : malibu revival, 1977
It's much more
fun than it looks ...
... and it looks like fun.by Bob McTavish
When we put the small board together, we had a principle in mind - to combine the speed area in the turning area.
This meant you could keep the power on through your turn, resulting in today's arcing power surfing.O.K.
That's fine when there's enough room to carve - size-wise, head high or over, surface smooth.
But what about the all-too-common small days, sloppy days, just plain junk days?
And those perfect peeling point mini-days?
Re-enter the big board.
With its many square feet of soft planing area, it glides over dead spots, connects the power pockets, and develops phenomenal speed from small, weak waves.
That's the starting point.
Is the big board faster?
It's a case of float or fly.
When you need the float, the big board is faster; when there's the power to fly, the small board is faster.
SURFER Magazine -"Wide boards
over) give more glide and stability.
Compare them to birds that soar; e.g, pelicans and eagles.
The pelican can coast on the slightest updraft from the smallest wave, while seagulls, who have narrow wings, can't glide until the surf is larger.
It's the same for wide vs, narrow boards.
Average surf ridden calls for wider boards." - Skip Frye,
Midget called it high-speed stall
low-speed stall, after hang-gliding a while.
Hang-gliding - hanging on the nose, and gliding under section after section.
A nice way to spend a windy afternoon,
Which brings us to the trimmings.
Apart from getting you going better in weak waves, you've got the arts of trimming and noseriding.
True trimming is almost a lost art - or was till the recent upsurge in big-board use.
Trimming is getting the maximum
from a situation; balancing the available variables to make
you're in, and the one after it, and hopefully after that.
It's a very satisfying feeling to get the most from it in a delicate and graceful way.
We all know what noseriding is - but have you experienced the in-the-tube, high-speed noseride only available on the big board? It's not the mushy, painful thing the short board delivers.
Or the nose trim.
Going for maximum speed with your whole board hanging behind you in the tube, laying as much planing area as possible on the face - very thrilling, and in surf that most people drive right by ...just a couple of feet high, and maybe quite sloppy.
Another thing the big board can
pendulum - you have to swing it to turn it, and you can
your weight against the board's momentum while swinging
it, and put
yourself in some radical situations.
Also, the pendulum effect gives a kind of rhythm - a beautiful thing that takes many years to perfect, and simply cannot be faked.
Well, they're limited.
True, they can turn slop into surf, but they cannot do anything for sizable real surf.
Limited arc power.
A big man on a big board can do it if he's got the punch.
But generally they don't cut it in juicy, overhead surf.
Well, principle is as much usable planing area as possible within practical dimensions.
Some people are happy with the old ones, 9 feet to 11 feet, or so, while many who've been solid surfing through both eras, long and short, prefer them in between, 8 feet to 9 feet.
The more noseride you want, the fuller nose and more tail lift.
But you lose some trim speed.
A nose concave gives a stable mush noseride, nice for beach breaks.
The pure trimmers still like a little more tail lift than nose lift, and a nice planing area two-thirds forward.
The trimmers really appreciate a wall.
Photograph : Greene
So it's fun to see them back,
the updated, lighter, lower, smaller ones.
It's fun, but a little sad.
Sad to see more people out in the mini-surf that have peeled off empty for six or seven years.
Fun, but sad, but fun!
and his big fun boards.
Bob McTavish and Late 70's Malibu Board
Photograph : Greene
Volume 18 Number 4 1989, page 102.
Volume 18 Number 4