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glossary : s 


S- Deck
a rounded, convex or domed deck profile, with a ‘S’ deck line.
See Camel deck..

S Glass/Silane
a  woven cloth of extensively washed glass fibres resulting in a near transparent  finish introduced circa 1975. In construction it eliminated taping the reverse side of the blank  and cutting the laminated cloth , best at  90% cured.
See Volan (predessor), free lap and rail lap.

Sailboard / ’Windsurfer’:
wind powered board with pivoting rig (mast, boom and sail), standing rider.
Original design (‘Windsurfer’ trademark) by Hoyle Scheiwster and Jim Drake (both USA) circa 1969, molded plastic oversized Malibu board with centreboard and fin/box (similar to Waveset design).
Rapid technological and design developments followed; harness, rubber universal, footstraps, custom glass/foam boards, epoxy production and custom boards, fins/boxes, and a  corresponding  advance in rig (mast, sail and boom) design.

1966 World Championship (San Diego, California) winning board of Nat Young.
Manufactured at Gordon Woods Surfboards  (diamond decal), December-January 1966, shaped by Nat Young, clear with ½” redwood stringer, Volan glassed with wide rail lap by Darryl Holmes.
Length 9ft 4”, Width 22”, Wide point –6”, Thickness 2 ½”
Thin egg rails, flat nose with rounded bottom deepest in front of the fin.
Thirty six layer Greenough Stage III fin.
First ridden at The Kick, Collaroy.
The board disappeared during the post contest celebrations.
Initially derived from a Joey Cabell design, it developed at the Noosa sessions late 1965 with George Greenough, Bob McTavish, Russell Hughes and Bob Cooper, based at Hayden Kenny Surfboards, and subsequently Cord Surfboards, Alexandria Headlands.
Many Australian designers were producing similar designs – all of those mentioned above and Midget Farrelly (see Stringerless model), Keith Paull, Bobby Brown, Peter Drouyn, and others; but Nat Young’s win saw the design exposed internationally as well as becoming the accepted common design in Australia.
Since the design directly preceded the sub 9ft Vee-bottom design, it is now considered the last of the original Malibus/Longboards.
Design known in New Zealand as a Thin Rail.
Not to be confused with a Mid 1980's Modern Malibu design by Nat Young featured a Sam - an old friend decal, manufactured by Mike Davis Surfboards, Kiama.
Nat Young ‘Nat’s Nat and that’s that’ 1998 pp 110 to 145.
McGillvary and Freeman : Free and Easy,1967.
Keyo example #36

use of an abrasive, by hand or power tool, to scour or smooth either a blank or fibreglass.

sandwich construction
a composite structure of at least three layers.
See Hollow board - 5. Hollow Wave.

Sausage board
classically a rounded double-ender parallel railed Malibu board, 1960.

application by Bob Simmons (USA) circa 1948 of balsawood and fibreglass addition to solid wood boards to give increased nose lift.
Also termed Scoop or Wedge (John Ewell).

scoop  nose lift, circa 1950’s.

scoop tail
a chamfered square tail, featured on some Vee-bottoms boards, 1967-1968.
New Zealand term, alternative design to Gretel/Pattie tail.
US term Ashtray tail.?

Screw tail
One variation on Rod ball's Ski tail, circa 1974 by Terry Fitzgerald at Hot Buttered Surfboards, circa 1977.
Also called the Fanger, circa 1976.

screw and plate
stainless steel screw and companion metal plate used to secure a fin in a finbox.

seat belt (Surf ski)
webbing belt with quick release buckle fitted to the seat.
First credited to Merv Larson (USA) circa 1970.
See John Severson : Pacific Vibrations
It revolutionized surf ski performance.

in a modified form e.g.-Gun/ -pin/ -pig/

design features of a blank, board or fin.

sculptor of a wood or foam blank/board

1. A short snub nosed surf kayak.
2. Model name for Shane Surfboards Kneeboard, 1970.

short board
1. a board shorter in length than current designs, e.g. a short board in 1956 was 9 ft, in 1967 it was 7 ft 6 inches, in 1970 it was 5 ft 4 inches.
2. a board with two riding positions ( trim and turn), the rider linking them by walking, stepping or shuffling.
First commonly accepted design 1967 VeeBottom Stubby by Bob McTavish, Midget Farrelly, Kevin Platt, Keith Paull, Ted Spencer, and others Sydney; May 1967 to January 1968.
See longboard, super/micro board.

Side Slipper
1969-1970, hyperkicked nose, soft low rails and small ‘drift’ fin and /or finbox; by Reno Abellira (Hawaii) and Midget Farrelly.
Designed to be ridden in the curl by controlled fin drift (fin drop out stall); the lack of perfect uncrowded conditions, the required skill level and the philosophical contradiction with the current ‘power’ ethos meant it had a limited popularity.
Gerry Lopez: SURFER TIPS- The Side-Slip
also Reno Aberllira in Brewer ad with S'Deck flip tip Side slipper.
SURFER, January 1970, Volume10 Number 6
#45, Keyo egg

a fibreglassed polyurethane sailboard, usually for wave riding, circa 1983.
Term relates to difficulty in uphauling.

Silane / S Glass
a  woven cloth of extensively bleached/washed glass fibres resulting in a near transparent  finish introduced circa 1975.
In construction it introduced Free-laping, eliminating taping the reverse side of the blank  and cutting the laminated cloth , best at  90% cured.
See Volan (predecessor)  and Rail Lap.

skeg / fin
1. stabilizing wing attached to the bottom of the board, usually at the tail.
Dimensions are height (length / depth), base, rake, foil and surface area (sailboards).
First credited to Tom Blake (Hawaii) 1934.
Fin use did not become established until 1940, the experiment (make the board with a fin slot, ride the board without and with a fin) was by George Downing (Hawaii).
2. the afterpart of a ship’s keel / a projection abaft of a ship’s keel for the support of a rudder.

see Surf ski, Wave ski

model name, originally 1968 round/rounded pin tail  Tracker  type design by Nat Young, about 7 ft 10” for Weber Surfboards (USA).
Keyo Surfboards was Nat’s Australian manufacturer.
Decal image and the following correspondence from Randy Rarrick contributed by Peter Robinson of the British Surfing Museum, September 2007.
"Hi Peter,
I had the Weber dealership in 1969/70 when these boards came along.
You are right in that all the name "Weber Australia" was about, was capitalizing on the fad of having the Aussie's associated with an American label.
Nat Young was endorsing boards for Weber, but never shaped any of them.
All of them were made in the factory in California, and they were run on Weber's shaping machines and just finished off.
Both the boards you have were fairly typical of the era.
What is interesting is the adjustable W.A.V.E. Set fin system, which fit in the old W.A.V.E. Set boxes, but allowed the fin to be moved up and down.
They were a shitty sytem, as they always broke off at the base.
These came out after "The Ski", which was a popular design in 1969 and came in a green label and then a purple label and that model was replaced with the "Weber Australia" in 1970.
It's interesting that the early ones had the rolled nose in the bottom and then they switched to the full low rail all the way as that design feature came into it's own after the world contest in 1970.
Aloha, Randy Rarick"

Ski tail
Design by Rod Ball circa 1974, initially on kneeboards and adapted to stand-up boards by Ball and others, for example Terry Fitzgerald at Hot Buttered Surfboards.
Rod Ball Design Ski tail Kneeboard #227
Shane Ski Tail #327

Rounded nose, rounded square tail wide kneeboard originally designed by Peter Crawford in 1969 at Wallace Surfboards.
The name is credited to Midget Farrelly.
An alternative to the low floatation Greenough Spoon, the Slab has been in constant production in all fin combinations.
Still in current use in all fin combinations 2005.
Rotomolded model 1977. See Pop-outs #6.

Wave Apparatus and Vehicular Engineering
PO Box 618 Ventura, California.

Aerosol spray wax alternative developed by Tom Morey and Karl Pope at the innovative Morey-Pope Co. (USA) in 1965 following the popular success of Tom Morey’s Noseriding contest at Ventura.
Initially only available in white (see below), it was later marketed in a wide range of colours.
The most popular use was a white nose patch (tip to sweet spot).

See Tom Morey's Noseriding Contest 1965

Grip Feet
was a (possible) Australian variation.
Noted in a Surfing World and Surfabout magazine advertisements, circa 1965...
Nose ride graphic and address 53 Bay Road, Taren Point, Phone 525-0795

A fine textured coating for the nose or tail of your board which is so firm when wet it completely eliminates slipping. 
Apply SLIPCHECK once, touch up occasionally. 
For sale in white only. 
One can, $3.50, is more than enough for initial coat plus touch ups. 
Include 40c postage and tax with your order.
Morey-Pope Slipcheck Advertisement titled "Inventions".
Surfer Magazine January 1966, Volume 6 Number 6, page 66.
The other inventions were the Trisect and the Snub.

Morey-Pope Slipcheck Advertisement,
featuring David Nuuihwa.
Surfer Magazine
circa 1967.

slot (s)
twin channels (hard edged shallow and narrow concave lines in the bottom of a board. ) in front of fin.
A feaure of Miki Dora's da Cat Model for Greg Noll Surfboards, USA, circa 1966.
See Concave bottom, Channels, Clinker bottom, Bonzer.

soft board
a surfboard made of soft sponge foam e.g. Morey-Doyle, also see Mac-T

Speed board/Speed shape
 pin nose narrow tail foiled template sub 7ft 6 inch single fin board, circa 1971.
Post 1970 World Titles, Johanna Vic. see Mini-gun.
Predecessor to Gerry Lopez’ Rounded Pintail, 1974.

spiral vee
1. a vee in the bottom with concave panels between the rail and the apex of the vee.
2. (?) a vee in the bottom tail section that has its apex under the back foot, generally in front of the fin/fins.
Attributed to Terry Fitzgerald, circa 1974.
See reverse vee.

spoon – upturned nose lift, circa 1948. See scoop.

1. Bob Simmon’s board design, 1948.
2. George Greenough (USA) designed kneeboard; originally a dished deck fibreglassed balsa twin fin, 1962, later a single fin; second model a flex fibreglass bottom with shaped foam rails and Greenough fin, Velo 1965.

3. Full foam bodied kneeboard with scooped/concave deck in Greenough fashion, see above.

  Circa 1990 : Acrylic paint design sprayed onto the filler / hot coat before glossing or Pro-tech finish.
1972 – 1990 spray was applied to the shaped blank before laminating, generally giving a ‘deeper’ effect.
This method is still used by some manufacturers or on request.
Notable examples include the work of Martin Worthington for Hot Buttered Surfboards and others in the 1970’s.

exaggerated, usually tail, rocker.Used to describe early surf boats. Maxwell, page 92. See Banana.

a rubber blade used to distribute and impregnate laminating resin into fibreglass cloth so that it adheres to the blank.

Star tail
a tail with two points (?), see Swallow, Fish. - US, Cralle.

step bottom/stepped bottom
design feature, see Hydroplane, Stinger.

Sea Horse Surfboards
circa 1974

step deck/stepped deck
design feature, see concave deck 3.


early alternative to stringer, see

a adhesive backed printed vinyl label.
Although sometimes may bear a board manufacturer’s logo, stickers should not be confused with decals.
See decals.
See also Surf Permit / Registratrion sticker.

1974 Ben Apia (Hawaii) design characterized by flyers/wings set 2/3 rds back from the nose
(see 442 by Hap Jacobs, 1962).
Early models featured a stepped bottom (see Hydroplane by John Kelly Jr., 1965) at the flyers, not found on most copies, and a swallow tail.

Reported, with thanks, by Saxon June 2003...
Hydroplane Stingers were made extensively by Len Dibben (Surfboards) in Perth in the seventies.
I have seen the photo albums to prove it.

a board built to the manufacturer or retailer’s specifications and offered for sale ‘off the rack’. Compare custom.

board storage facilities in Sydney beachside surf shops 1965-1969 for inland surfers relying on public transport.
Disappeared circa 1970 when most boards were about 6 ft.
Most famous shop : Bob Brewster’s Stor-a-board, Pittwater Road Manly, also the home of Bower Boy Surfwax.

stress factures/marks
hairline cracks in the laminate and/or the filler coat, usually across the centre of the board (caused by extreme flexing/compression) or around the fin (impact).
Occassionally stress factures will accompany impact dings.
see Compresssion ding, Onion fracture,
May result from rapid curing.
US term 'crazing'.Cralle.

stringer/stick (rare)
A timber beam inserted into a blank to add structural strength.
The stringer defines a board's length, thickness, deck profile and the bottom rocker.
Originally used in laminated solid wood boards after WW I to maintain strength while incorporating lighter timbers such as balsa, see Pacific Homes Systems Swastika model.
With the initial  introduction of fibreglass and resin, stringers were not considered essential in an all balsa wood blank.
In 1953, stringer use was detailed in the construction of a polystyrene foam board. The blank was first covered in muslin cloth and a plastic sealer, before being  laminated with resin and fibreglass cloth.
See... Bill Reid : "Fun on a Plastic Surfboard"
Popular Mechanics Magazine July 1953 Volume 100 Number 1 pages 157 - 159
Early polyester foam experiments were probably subject to snapping, as well as a multitude of other structural and production difficulties.
Note an alternative explanation, discussed below, by Matt Warshaw, 2005, page 566.
Circa 1957-1958 the inserting of a timber stringer, as pioneered by Pacific Homes Systems, reappeared to give the board lateral strength.
Matt Warshaw, 2005, indicates the reason was "a way to remove flex", page 566.
Since early foam blanks often had many surface defects, these were covered by a solid colour gel coat.
Identification of stringer use in examples of coloured foam boards of the period can be difficult.
The use of the timber stringer in foam boards has been credited to Hobie Alter, circa 1957, and Gordon Duane, circa 1958.
Phil Edwards' (1966)  account of experiments by Hobie Alter and Gordon Clark in foam production (in the late 1950's?) notes ...              "Finally , they came upon the idea of molding the boards
in halves - cut down the long way - that proved more stable.
They added strips of balsa wood in the centre for stiffener,
 and we began to turnout pioneer boards." - Page 96

Scott Hulet notes a claim by Hobie Alter for the "first use of wooden stringers in a foam blank (1957)"
See Scott Hulet : "In Trim : Hobie Alter",
Longboard Magazine, Volume 5, Number 4 August 1997, page 43.
Matt Warshaw, 2005, in his entry for stringer, page 566, states it...
"was invented in 1958 by California surfboard manufacturer Duane Gordon".
However, in the entry for Duane Gordon, page 169, he presents a modified...
" In early 1958, Duane was one of the first manufacturers to put a wooden stringer down the center " (sic).
- my emphasis.
Also note the email from Jeff, below.
The contending claims are difficult to assess.
Hobie Altter and Phil Edwards (a Hobie employee) are not totally independent sources and  Warshaw, 2005, does not cite his source.
It is difficult to conceive of what type of evidence would be satisfactory to confirm or deny either (or any alternative) claim.
Furthermore, the claim that this development was a new "invention" is questionable, it appears rather the application of a previous design to a new material.
Hobie Alter, Duane Gordon, Dale Velsey, Gordon Clark and Harold Walker would have all been familiar with the Pacific Systems Homes models, circa 1920 to 1945. (Note top photograph,  Edwards, 1966, page 27.) and the potential influence of the widely ciculated Popular Mechanics article of 1953, see above, cannot de dismissed
In Australia, Scott Dillon has reported (personal interview, 1999) circa 1959, that some blanks were moulded too narrow, so the width was increased  with the insertion of a 2 inch wide balsa stringer.
One example of the period has been noted - Catalogue #85.???
This may be an echo from a similar account by Hobie Alter in 1997,  see Scott Hulet : "In Trim : Hobie Alter",
Longboard Magazine, Volume 5, Number 4 August 1997, page 47.
An important advantage of a stringer is that it provides the shaper and the glasser/decorator a line of symmetry on the all white blank.
Shapers of stringerless boards of the late 1960's found the lack of a stringer a problem.
The coloured resin glue line was a  possible compromise.
Many post-foam balsa boards have adopted, perhaps unnecessarily, stringer use.
Multi-stringer placement can be used to balance the board and stringers are invariably attractive.
Surf Romantics have been known to view the timber stringer in their modern foam boards as an historical remnant from ancient Hawaiian solid wood surfboards.
See also foam stringer, glue line, T Band, stringerless.
Also see Stringer Index
Note : This entry was updated April 2005 in response to an email from Jeff...
 You must research your history on the stringer better.
Hobie stole the stringer  idea, as well as Velzy, form Duane, Gordon of Gordie surfboards (est 1956).
Clearly most reputable surf history books and peoples will tell you that Gordie, of Huntington Beach, Ca, did, in fact, invent the stringer for use in foam boards.
Please research and confirm, and then change your information that is posted under 'stringer' on your website.
 Thank you and aloha,

a (foam) blank without timber/resin reinforcement strip/s, usually for weight reduction, originally developed by Midget Farrelly 1965.
The lack of a centre line made shaping difficult and in the late 1960’s often a glueline was used as a compromise.
Glassing was also difficullt, often the blank was weighted to prevent the bottom rocker warping or flattening during curing.
Last application was in 1970 Popouts – some models had a knife cut down the centre of the blank that filled with resin during laminating to produce a faux glueline.
Pre 1940 solid wood boards did not have stringers and pre 1960 fibreglassed balsa boards were usually glueups of four or more blocks. 
design first used by Midget Farrelly at the 1965 World Titles, Peru.
Extensively copied.

Stubby/Vee Bottom/Plastic Machine/Stringerless
A sub 8 ft long, 23 inch wide round nose square/diamond tail board with a substantial negative wide point.
Common features : stringerless, Volan glass, three phase bottom (flat/concave nose, round, deep vee tail), deep Greenough Stage III flex fin, chamfered tail, psychedelic style decals.
Design by Bob McTavish, Midget Farrelly, Kevin Platt, Keith Paull, Ted Spencer, and others Sydney; May 1967 to January 1968.
Note the extensively documented ‘short boards’ taken to Hawaii in November/December 1967 by Nat Young (9 ft 4 inch) and Bob McTavish (9 ft) were elongated big wave or gunned versions of current Australian designs which by November 1967 were commonly sub 7 ft 6 inches.
See Little Red, Mini-gun.
See Witzig's Hot Generation.

styrene – a resin thinner.
SUP -Stand Up Paddleboard

Story and Photos by JIMMY OLSEN [Staff reporter] 

At last week's meeting of the Kiama Council, a ban was placed on SUP's (Stand Up Paddleboards) at Seven Mile Beach. A council representative said the action was in response to numerous complaints by residents, local boardriding clubs and surf schools. Many objected on grounds of safety and the domination of the waves by SUP riders, the term "wave hogs" was often used. However, most complaints were best described as 'aesthetic,' such as "clumsy," "completely devoid of style," and "a floating windmill." Several councillors personally confirmed these observations, and the motion was passed unanimously.
- KIAMA ENQUIRER, Monday 1 April, 2013.

Super board/Micro board – a board with one riding position, the rider making small foot adjustments. First commonly accepted design sub 6 ft Super Stubby by George Greenough, Bob McTavish, Nat Young, Wayne Lynch, Ted Spencer and others; Sydney, North coast NSW and Victoria 1969. Followed by Twin Fin #1 1970; Twin Fin #2 1976; No-nose 1979: Thruster 1982. See long board, shortboard.

Super Stubby
wide sub 6 ft board by George Greenough, Bob McTavish, Nat Young, Wayne Lynch, Ted Spencer and others; Sydney, North coast NSW, Victoria 1969 Commonly a double-ender Egg or pin nose square tail Bullet. See Stubby.

Surform – a hand plane with rasp-like removable blades used to shape foam, fibreglass and resin. Brand name by Stanley Co.

Surf Kayak / Shoe
short, flat bottomed kayak developed particularly for surfriding, probably by members of the British Canoe Union in the early 1970’s.
Some craft were used in Australia and ‘paddle surfing’ competitions were held by the NSW Canoe Federation, but by 1980 these craft were replaced by the more popular recreational/performance Wave-ski.

Surf Life Saving Clubs SLSC / Australian Surf Lifesaving Association ASLA
beginning as groups of surfers who saw the danger to those unfamiliar with the ocean, with encouragement from local councils they quickly organized into clubs with committees, equipment  and clubhouses in prime beachfront locations.
It was to Freshwater Surf Life Saving Club that Duke Kahanamoku was invited to give a demonstration of  boardriding in 1915.
Because the size of the craft and the lack of personal transport the use of clubhouses for board storage became an integral factor in the subsequent growth in surfboard use.
The various clubs associated as the Surf Bathers’ Association of NSW in 1907.
Riding competitions were included in surf carnivals but as the movement became more committed to civic duty boardriders were progressively marginalized.
The growing conservatism of the life saving clubs (e.g. the continued use of the potentially lethal belt and reel, while boards were not acceptable for rescue work. The belt and reel was finally retired in 197x?.), the introduction of the lightweight fibreglassed board in 1957, the increase in automobile ownership and the development of commercial storage facilities (e.g. Stor-a-Board) saw the relationship further stretched.
The low point was 1962 – 1964 when surf club members policed the unpopular board registration system introduced by Sydney beach side councils.
See Registration Sticker. 

Surf Permit / registration sticker 
circular vinyl sticker (usually white, indicating council area, year by date and print colour, and stamped serial number) issued by Sydney beach side councils 1962 – 1968 as a reaction to public concerns about safety. 
Left: Randwick 1968-1969,No. 1540 on Shane Malibu #120.
Valid only for the beaches of the issuing council and policed by beach inspectors and surf club members (sometimes resulting in confiscation) the system was reviled by boardriders.
Perversely the stickers are now highly prized by surfboard collectors.
A similar system was in use in the US at this time.
Circa 1969 a similar design Surf Craft Permit was used to identify members of N.S.W. Surfriders Association.PO Box A162 Sydney South.
eg, San Juan board circa 1969, Permit No:1141 in Blue and white.


Sutherland Shire Council : Surf Craft Regulations.
Sydney Council Registration Permit Colours
Manly  Warringah Waverly Randwick Sutherland
1960-1961 :
1961-1962 : 
1962-1963 :  Blue
1963-1964 : Teal
1964-1965 : Red
1965-1966 : Orange
1966-1967 : Blue
: Blue
1960-1961 :
1961-1962 : Red
1962-1963 :  Blue
1963-1964 :  Green
1964-1965 : Orange
1965-1966 :  Red
1966-1967 : Blue
1967-1968 : 
1960-1961 : 1
961-1962 : Red
1962-1963 : 
1963-1964 : 
1964-1965 : Orange
1965-1966 : 
1966-1967 : 
1968-1969 : Red
1960-1961 :
1961-1962 :
1962-1963 : 
1963-1964 : 
1965-1966 : 
1966-1967 : Light Blue
1967-1968 : Blue
1968-1969 : Red
1960-1961 : Yellow
1961-1962 : Red
1962-1963 : Blue
1963-1964 : Green
1964-1965 : Orange
1965-1966 : Red
1966-1967 : 
1967-1968 : Green

Manly 1962-1963

Manly 1962-1963
 Photograph courtesy of Paul Flack.

Manly 1964-1965

Manly 1965-1966

Manly 1966-1967

Manly 1967-1968

Warringah 1961-1962

Warringah 1963-1964

Warringah 1964-1965
Image contributed by
Martin, April 2012.

Warringah 1966-1967

Image contributed by
Martin, June 2012.

Randwick  1963-1964 Randwick  1964-1965 Randwick  1965-1966
Randwick  1967-1968
Image contributed by
Noddy S., May 2014.
Randwick  1967-1968
Image contributed by
Jonno, September 2011.
Randwick 1968-1969

Sutherland 1960-1961

Sutherland 1963-1964

Sutherland 1966-1967

Sutherland 1961-1962

Sutherland 1964-1965

Sutherland 1965-1966

Sutherland 1962-1963

Sutherland 1965-1966

Sutherland 1967-1968

Waverley 1960-1961
Waverley 1961-1962

Waverley 1962-1963

Waverley 1964-1965

Image contributed by Lisa Stevens, March 2009.

Waverley 1968-1969

Waverley 1969-1970

NSW Surfers Association, c1967.
PO Box A162 Sydney South

NSW Surfers Association, c1968.

PO Box A162 Sydney South

Surf Life Saving 
Association G.B.


Surf Research
Manufacturer of Waxmate surf wax and the Fin-Lifter, for full entry, click here.

Also see:
The House of Wax
and the
Fin Catalogue

Surf Philosophy
'the why and the how of riding waves' - although surfing technique is usually leant or taught via demonstration (free/contest surfing, still/moving photography - note George Greenough), some surfers have attempted to analyse and theorise in print.
The earliest example is possibly  an article by Phil Edwards entitled What is Good?, published in SURFER magazine in the early 1960's.(?)
Despite some dispute during the last 30 years about Bob McTavish's design ideas and his surfing performance ('the Spin-out King' - 1968), in the field of Surf Philosophy his contribution has been unequalled.
An infectious style (reminiscent of the print contributions of Mickey Dora), intensive  analysis and over-the-top enthusiasm for his subject  has produced some excellent work.

Surfoplane / Mat :
Inflatable rubber mat with molded handles was invented by a Sydney doctor in 1933, Dr Ernest Smithers of Bronte NSW, who worked for eight years to develop it. 
Sir Charles Kingsford Smith, his friend was a proprietor of the invention.
(Thanks to Alison Lee, see email below.)
The design '' was soon in mass production, being hired by the half hour on Sydney beaches, and proving popular with all ages and both genders. Surf-o-planes were... filmed for Movietone News 6/7 (1935), ...Movietone News 7/15 (1936), ...Movietone News 8/13 (1937), ...Movietone News 9/14 (1938) , which included shots of Dr Smithers riding his invention at Bronte, ...and...Movietone News 10/6 (1939) " - Thoms : Surfmovies   page 40.
The craft was extremely popular, Manly Surf Life Saving Club reported 261 rescues for the 1938-9 season, half of which were carried out on or swept off rubber floats.( Bloomfield, pages 54 to 57). Surf-o-plane riding was included in 1938 Australian Surf Titles (only time, won by Jack 'Strawb' Turnbull) and in the Makaha contest for a period in the 1930's.
In the 1940's, Olympic swimmer and industrialist Sir Frank Beaurepaire's rubber company manufactured a Surf-o-plane/Rubber Air Mat using the Advanx brand. There were eventually three models - Elite (5ft), Standard (4ft) and Small (3ft). Colours other than black were also available - yellow and black with yellow stripes. Sold to the public from the factory at Neild Avenue, Rushcutters Bay Sydney for 8 pounds ($16.00), the company also offered a repair service and compressed air fill ups.
By the 1960 the design was available from several companies, notably Clarke Rubber and Advanx, and with the expanded use of the automobile sales were directed more at the general public than the hire concessions. This was principally done by elaborate decor, for example the Advanx Marlin model as surfed by Nick Carroll in 1969, while some later models had twin fins.
The contribution of this design to moderm surfing is immense. In Australia it was used extensively by all types of beach-goers and was the basis for juvinile surfers to gain surf experience before advancing to surfboards - for example, four times world champion, Mark Richards ( Knox : M.R. pages 6 to 8, 14 and 16). The Surfoplane had similar impact around the world, photographic and text evidence suggests the craft was widely used in New Zealand, Hawaii, California, South Africa and England.
The Surfoplane would be superceded in the 1970's by the..
Zippy Board , and/or the
Canvas Mat.
Performance : The Surfoplane had high bouyancy, but were relatively heavy and stiff, unlike the craft that replaced them. This combination of features assisted both getting through the surf and wave riding.
Examples : The nature of the rubber used in the Surfoplane meant that if it was not constantly inflated they would bond internally, and become useless. As a result, it appears few have survived to the present day. One blue/yellow example is held by the Penisular Surf Centre, Victoria. Thanks to Ted Bainbridge.

surf-riding - this entry is too large to go here, please use link.

First credited to Dr. G. A. ‘Saxon’ Cranckanthorp of the Manly Surf Club in 1933.
It was originally a 8 ft x 28 inch cedar planked board; with seat, footstraps and propelled with a two bladed paddle, possibly derived from the use of canoes in the surf.
By the late 1930’s construction had been changed to plywood fixed on a timber frame, based on Tom Blake’s (Hawaii) hollow board design.
In 1956 a current model was taken to Hawaii by Duke Kahanamoku after his Melbourne Olympic Games visit. Adopted by SLSC for rescue work and general beach duties, in preference to surfboards, surf carnival races saw lengths increase (up to 17 ft) and widths narrow 22 inches) to increase paddling speed.
This emphasis on paddling led to double surf skis (up to 23 ft) developed by Mickey Morris and Billy Langford, Maroubra.
Early photographs show many with a leash between board and paddle and the surfers riding in a standing position. later models incorporated a rudder activated by a foot pedal.
From the late 1970’s hollow fibreglass, foam filled and epoxy boards were developed as an alternative to the hollow timber construction.
See Wave Ski.

Swallow Tail
tail design featuring symmetrical pintails.
A split tail design where the internal edges  are straight, as opposed to the curved edges of a fish tail.
SURFER Volume 13#Number 3 September 1972
Bill Hamilton & Gerry Lopez: Ben, page 88 .
Article on Ben AIPA by which the first SWALLOW TAIL is sited in SURFER mag, although strangley not talked about at all.
2/there are NO Swallowtails in Mote..definately after 71,this sept72 mag was probably outlayed in June/July so this very early picture of key swallow tail exponent Ben Aipa was likely taken just before then. Keep in mind that Terry Fitz would have 'for sure' taken it on if it had been touted about in the previous Hawaiian winter, only months before.(tri fins were the rage at this time)  By the time this mag came out Fitz would have kicked off Hot Buttered..if memory serves TF has been noted as saying his first flyers were later that year, 72. So when did the swallow kick off here???. Surfer mag doesn't really show adverts of swallows until  the following year march 1973 (which is to say images might be captured 3 months earlier)..and in Australian mags,there are possible glimpses and guestimates but NO ads for swallow tails until 74?? I remember Reno Aberllira having great influence with his swallows in oZ via McCoy post 'Rolling Home'. And with McCoy, swallows were before flyers.But it would seem with Hot Buttered it was the other way round. Anyway, either way you look at it swallows didn't take off until 73/74 a good 1>2 years after it first appeared in this mag!

Sweet Spot
1. Performance: the position of foreword maximum trim or rear maximum maneuverability.
These positions would closely correspond to the decal positions on a traditional Malibu board.
Term credited to Bob McTavish.
2. Decal: usually 2/3rds from the nose or 2/3rds from the nose (the Golden section), the sweet spot would be in front of the rider’s face when prone paddling or  at the rider’s feet if kneel paddling. 

Swelling box
Circa 1960, A heated cabinet to allow polyester blanks to stabilize before shaping.
Unstabilized examples of the period feature a 'sunken' stringer.
See Dillon Pig #99.


home catalogue history references appendix

Notes on Glossary
Geoff Cater (1999-2021) : : Appendix - Glossary - S