Source Documents
tracks : surfboard design,  1982. 

Tracks : Surfboard Design,  1982.
Terry Fitzgerald : Sydney
Kym Thompson : High Velocity Fin

October, 1982.


Page 21
World surfing, when dissected, allows delineation not only geographically, but culturally as well.
It is quite evident that the basics such as design features, style and even the colours of surfboards vary from area to area.

As cycles turn each surfing nursery offers up advancement to the national total and onto the international.
Hotbeds of advancement, when put in head to head competition, push participating surfers' egos to the limits, on all levels.
The results grace the pages of the periodical in your hands.

Without becoming bogged down in the unbelievable amount of variables that surfing can be shaven into, the major spawning grounds are very few.
Analysing on levels such as trim-speeds or parochial-ness provides little room for generalisations. . . besides being of dubious value.
So, on the greater scale of things: the major developmental areas boil down to Hawaii, Rio, California (if they could get out of the sixties), Japan and the east coast of Oz.
Within each area groups of surf-junkies, sometimes operating diametrically opposite each other, create an idea, a manoeuvre, progression. . . evolution. . revolution.
In unison, national surfing progress comes about!
Hawaii, South Africa,California, Japan and Oz are obviously the best examples.
Where clubs, industry and local rivalries push surfers to advancement, where surfing progress forces new approaches based on individualism, especially those taken up by the masses, and where cultures allow sporting heroes ... that's where surfing prospers.
Taking advantage of "open doors" needs a certain type of individual, a certain spirit.
So easily people choose to stay in the pack.
Stepping out and wearing the resultant criticism needs a degree of courage and understanding.
Australia on all the above levels provides scope for individuality.
However conformity in peer group-age at the beach often slows rapid singular development.
Inter-club rivalry in the seventies (NN v's Manly-Pacific) formed the basis for the Australian surge in the eighties.
The takeover by the new clubs such as Newport and Maroubra is essentially a changing of the guard, to use an old cliche.
The above clubs are all Sydney based.
Most Australian surfers on the IPS Tour are Sydney based, only MR, Rabbit and Richo are obvious exceptions.
Two points seldom noted!
Why does Sydney produce this talent?

One major reason is the availability of surf.
You can surf most everyday in some sort of surf.
The variability of wave types also counts - everything from reefs to beach-breaks and points, both big and small.
Throw in the very special brand of "city" pressure, a competitive surfboard industry and a socio-economic environment where only the best survive.
One of the major focal points for all of the above is Sydney's North Shore beaches.
It is this series of beaches that has provided world surfing with more of everything than any other area!

Forget Midget and the '64 World Contest, in the last decade:
NN: Mark Warren, Col Smith (the original backhand re-entry), and Simon Anderson.
Newport: the Carrolls, Mike Newling, Derek Hynd, Dougall Walker etc.
The 2SM Coca-Cola Surfabout. . . $$$$
SW: since about 1962.
TRACKS: the first surfing newspaper.
Surf movies: enough to hold a film festival.
Photogs: Crawford, McLeod, Channon, Falzon.
Factories: such as Energy, Shanes and the ol' HB. . . which gave us tris, channels and wings.
The local populace is basically made up of professional people - the middle classes.
Availability of good education allows the general parameters of "thinking of oneself" to be accepted.

The buzz created in the area by one new move or one new board richochets around the local beaches.
The end result: new ideas, new techniques and new surfers.
The local surfers test their boards and their moves on these beaches.
They temper mental toughness and then, off to the surf wars, wherever.
NB. To achieve in Sydney you have to be in the top 1% and even then you won't get a free ride!
And so it goes!
If you can make it in Sydney you can make it anywhere!

Of course being totally involved in the Sydney area as I am, I'm totally biased.
But, when being objective I cannot see any other area that has produced so much for so long.
I do not see as much energy evolving from anywhere else.
I'm not sure Hawaii can keep up.
I'm excited about what the boys over the bridge at Bondi, Bronte, the 'Bra and Cronulla are going to do in the next few years.
The Central Coast has the potential and I look forward to seeing what Japan will turn up in the future.
But, for the moment, just on sheer weight of multi-faceted production, the northern beaches of Sydney. . . shiiii!
Terry Fitzgerald.

Just lean into it and go. Steve Wilson, Maroubra (Nolan)
Page 27
Introducing the High Velocity Fin
By Kym Thompson
 When the twin fin was introduced to the surfing market, jaws dropped, sceptics laughed.
That was, until M.R. proved conclusively its ability to perform.
It became a standard forum for high performance surf designs on the Australian and world market.
A winner!
Then out of sheer need and obviously a great deal of thought, S.A. developed and showed the ability of a 3 finned board.
His brilliant effort on the contest circuit set a whole new trend throughout the world once again.

In fact the impact was so impressive that suddenly we found people talking about the 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 etc. finned surfboard.
All original!
Well, no matter how many fins you want on your board, allow me to introduce you to a shape of fin that will improve performance once again.
Ladies and gentlemen, grommets and surf nazis, this fin shape I refer to is the H.V. (High Velocity) FIN.
Before you can begin to appreciate this concept, you firstly must realise that, contrary to most people's beliefs, water does not travel down a fin.
It in fact travels across, front to back, not bottom to tip, which is the fallacy we've tended to design fins around.
If you can't come to grips with that, you certainly won't be able to handle the rest of the information.

The H.V.
All fins basically create resistance and produce a force that helps to project the board in a forward direction.
The forward direction is good, but resistance impedes the progress of the direction, so the "H.V. Fin" was designed to eliminate as much of this resistance as possible.
Looking at the conventional fin with its curved front and rear, I will attempt to show you why this shape of fin is inefficient and now in my mind, obsolete.
The leading edge, front if you like, because of its curve, produces uneven rates of pressure entering the fin.
These pressures in turn work against each other and create resistance.
Once again the curve at the back of the fin does not promote clean release of the pressure and further adds resistance again.
Also a greater part of the fin area is lost because of these inefficiences.
Another advantage of the H.V. fin is that due to its shape the "H.V. Fin" can be foiled much flatter than its conventional counterpart and therefore will deliver greater power and increase the forward drive.
To foil a conventional fin as flat as the "H.V." is possible, but not as effective, as the conventional will begin to flex and therefore lose power.
Well, when a fin flexes, it is absorbing energy rather than delivering drive, so, in fact, there is a loss of forward motion.
When the pressure is released and the fin returns to its natural position, the drive created by this is only equal to that lost when it initially flexed.
Isn't it better to have constant and maximum power at all times?
I'm not a college professor or a N.A.S.A. engineer, nor do I pretend to be.
I am an engineer in my own right, I've been designing and shaping surfboards for 14 years and I am always striving for improved performance.

I do not consider it to be all and end all either, but I have found a significant improvement in total performance.
The composition of the H.V. fin promotes the design and technical qualities of the board shape and does not take away from them.
I have found a vast improvement in the ability of a board to realise its maximum speed without loss of manoeuvrability, in fact the smoothness of manoeuvres and directional changes is exceptional.
For any or all of these reasons, I feel the H.V. Fin can achieve greater performance for you.
If I didn't think so, I certainly wouldn't put my reputation on the line or waste time writing garbage.
I'd rather go surfin'!
Kym Thompson is the owner of Water Cooled Surfboards in Torquay, Victoria.


October, 1982.

Steve Wilson, Merewether


Geoff Cater (2020) : Tracks : Surfboard Design, 1982.