pods for primates : a catalogue of surfboards in australia since 1900
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bob mctavish : spoon buiding, 1977 
'Bout a Spoonful


A spoon is a fully flexible kneeboard, invented and developed by George Greenough, circa 1964.
They don't paddle well, only carrying about 10 lbs before sinking.
They aren't wide or long, so they don't ride weak surf.
Therefore they aren't very popular.

Being the only fully flexible surfboard, they can tap the juice and fit the required radius better than anything else on the water, bar none.
So the spoon rider quickly becomes the dedicated spoon freak.

'Next problem is getting one,No one likes to make them commercially because they are a real hassle.
Also, few people know what makes them tick.
This Winter I found the old slump hit harder than usual so foolishly I bit off a few Greenough spoons - seven in all, I've spent six or seven or eight winters with George here and in California, seen him put together a few spoons.
They've always fascinated me, so that's why I did it.

Here's what's involved:-

First, shape the bottom - which involves selecting the right blank, doing a tricky outline, shaping a graceful bowl and pure planing area.

Next, glass the bottom.
Three layers full length, then 5 layers getting progressively shorter, so you have eight in the tail, five in the nose.
Then trim -not easy.
Also all glassing has to be dry so it can flex and not shatter.

Next, plane off the excess deck foam, then hollow the deck with a grinder, a nasty business which results in getting covered in fine clingy dust that does wonders for your eyes.
When you recover, finish shaping inside the deck - also difficult.
Tried getting a sheet of 40 grit paper inside a bowl - so now youve caused a blank to virtually disappear into dust.
A whole blank.
A lot of shaping!

Now glass the deck in a repeat of the bottom.
This time you work inside the bowl and keep it dry - very hard.
And squeegees don't like to bend that much either.

After a thin filler coat, grind the whole thing, putting flex into the corners.
This means tapering those sixteen layers in the tail back down to three at the trailing edge -yes, three. Then sand it, hand sand it, tune the fin.

Spread a very thin gloss, then wet and dry most of it off - once again excess resin will shatter.

Then with pressure-paks, colour the monster the design of your choice.
Add to this the secret weapon, the rovings torsion bar glassed into the deck rails.
Also if it's a "Chine " you have to build up a sharp release edge out of "Mickey", "Mud", good old body putty.

Plus the finished item sometimes needs tuning after a few surfs.
The first one came back to get half an inch off the fin and more flex in the tail.
See why they are a Winter delight - Also see what a bargain you get for $165 -$185 - - But a well made spoon will last for years, they're as strong as steel.

There's more to the spoon than meets the eye, and more to spoon riding also - it's tomorrow's surfing today, when it's done right.

Surfing World Magazine
Volume 24 Number 4
January-February ?  1977,
pages   64 - 65.

See #76

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