pods for primates : a catalogue of surfboards in australia since 1900
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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?
Reenter 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.

The other day at the point, I dropped in on a guy on a small board.
I didn't think he had a chance.
The wave was about six feet, I trimmed my big board for all it was worth, then added a stretch five, It really threw over, and I was right in there for a couple of seconds.
Then the guy on the small board appeared below me.
We both got bombed.
I felt lousy.
He came up hooting!

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, tbe small board is faster.

SURFER Magazine -"Wide boards (21" and 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,

Fair enough?

Midget called it high-speed stall and 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 efficiency from a situation; balancing the available variables to make the section 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 do - pendulum - you have to swing it to turn it, and you can counterbalance 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.

The bad points?
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.

Design?
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.

Rails vary: generally wider is softer, narrower is harder, for tube comfort.
At 21 1/2, a two-thirds down round feels good.
Right down at the nose, give the clean, pecketrator plane.
Keep your fin deep.

So it's fun to see them back, especially 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!


Surfer Magazine
Vol 18  No.4  1977, pages 102 - 103.
Image Top : Bob McTavish Nose ride, 1977.
Photograph : Greene, page 103.

Bob McTavish and Late 70's Malibu Board
Photograph : Greene
Surfer Magazine
Vol 18 No. 4  1989, page 102.

Notes


surfresearch.com.au
home catalogue history references appendix

Geoff Cater (2011) : Bob McTavish : Malibu Revival, 1967.
http://www.surfresearch.com.au/1989_Witzig_Nat_Nuuhiwa_SW_v8n4p10.html