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the catalogue #223 

1978  Kewarra Surfboards : Jet Bottom by Erle Pedersen  5 ft 5' #232

MANUFACTURE   Photograph  by Simon Chipper
MANUFACTURER: Kerrawa Surfboards, ?
SHAPER: Erle Pedersen. 
DESIGN:   Jet Bottom
DESIGNER: Erle Pedersen.

 1/8 '' Stringer, foam blank, Volan fibre glass, post production resin gel coat.
feet  5 inches 
Ld: 5ft
20 1/2
Wide Point: 
+ve 2
Nose : 
19 1/4 
20 1/4

Nose:  pin
Tail:   rounded pin with flyers
Deck: flat ?
Bottom: rounded, concave at wide point  phasing to complex rippled channels, deepest in front of fin.
Rails: thin egg ?
Rocker:  medium ?

Fin box : 8'' 
Simon comments on the possible fin...
Who knows where the fin is now. 
I probably gave it away, otherwise I would still have it. 
Thrusters came along. 
I didn't ride a single fin again for at least 10 years. 
Luckily I have a photo which I'll send to you.
It's a Greenough style thing, high aspect, well foiled, but as i recall, not especially flexy. 
Erle was and I'm sure still is, the fin master - both at laying up beautiful panels and shaping and foiling. 
He was working for Midget (Farrelly) making fins when we left Sydney.

Photograph right, by Simon Chipper

Two of Kerrawa Surfboards black script and bird/dolphin images on the rails forward of the wide point.
by Erle Pedersen small black script on the tail
Bottom: ?black script at wide point.
Deck: Red and yellow full deck foil spray.
Bottom: Red and yellow  spray featuring concave and channels.
Photograph right, by Simon Chipper

BOARD HISTORY acquisition, April 2006.
Previous owner Simon Chipper, Phillip Island Victoria.
Simon took the accompanying photographs and described the board as ...
Jet Bottom - Kewarra surfboard by Erle Pedersen c1978.
This surfboard is a late 70s Jet Bottom shaped, sprayed, glassed and sanded by Qld shaper/designer/innovator Erle Pedersen. 
Erle is the famous shaper of the U.S.O.s (unidentified surfing objects) featured on a very early Tracks cover. 
Now living in N.Qld, he was the free-thinking originator of the "Jet Bottom", a channel bottom variant that no other board builder could, or would, duplicate.
Erle worked for Murray Bourton at Pipedream in the eighties shaping conventional equipment as well as his own unique design. 
Many pros of the time availed themselves of these beautiful high-performance craft. 
This board was custom made around 1978.
It's a tiny 5' 5" x 20 1/2" standup board, built to ride Little Avalon in Sydney.
It's basically sound.
Needs a small repair at the back of the finbox.
Sorry about the ancient and atrocious nose repair. 
Unfortunately it's without a fin - long ago cannibalised for some other board!
He subsequently noted ...
Email #1.
Do you just want info and pix of this Jet Bottom? 
I have a coupla others. 
Erle lives in Qld; 1770? 
There was an article in ASL last year about two unconventional board sculptors up there. 
Erle was one of them. 
Email #2
... more info on Mr Pedersen and his unusual surfboards:
I am suprised you were unaware of Erle and his Jet Bottoms; over the years he has had coverage here and there in the surfing press. 
Generally when they trot out that old page filler on alternative design. 
Usually Bonzers and the phaser bottom get a guernsey in the same article. 
The USO Tracks cover would have had to have been 1975 or earlier. 
It was a joke piece (april issue?) almost certainly written or conceived by Phil Jarrett. 
The cover photo showed an amused looking T Fitzgerald holding a ridiculously bizarre looking surfboard. The implication of course being that this surfboard had come from outer space. 
As far as I can remember it was the "seagull" board: A board shaped - looking nose to tail - like a child's drawing of that bird
- an inverted curved w. 
There is a fair chance Al Hunt can help you with a date on this issue of Tracks. I'm pretty sure he's still working for the ASP.
I would have met Erle later that year (1975) through an expat californian, Jick Mebane.
Jick held the license in Oz for the W.A.V.E hollow boards. (designed by them - made in the States, aluminium honeycomb construction or some wierd thing. I remember they were very strong but never got off the ground here.
Anyway... Jick knew Erle, they both lived at Whale Beach. 
I was working as a cadet photographer at News Ltd in the city and living on the northern beaches.
I'd had the odd photo published in Tracks and was soon to take on  Marty Tullemans  position as staff photographer at their Whale Beach office.
I'm fairly sure Erle was from Cairns or some other swell starved FNQ (Far North Queensland) location. 
He had conceived the Jet Bottom to maximise the power of the minimal swell. If I remember correctly, the theory was that converging/diverging channels would compress and accelerate the water like a JET! from nose to tail of the board.
Those first Jet Bottoms I saw covered the whole bottom from nose to to tail! 
Erle called this "the Eye" and indeed it did look like one - or a spider's web. 
From the nose to the midpoint, ridges with concave edges directing water flow into the centre of  the board. From the midpoint to the tail, ridges with concave edges directing water flow from the centre out of the tail. The boards look amazing. 
I had to try one.
In 1976 I had Erle copy my favourite board of the time, (a 6' 4" egg inspired by Ritchie West's board in Crystal Voyager) with the addition of a jet bottom. 
This board was a Kewarra and I remember asking Erle to draw a logo on the nose with a top hat, cane and gloves and the legend: "The Deluxe" 
What a board! 
I traded it later for some piece a shit, I'm sure.
The little board you bought was custom made for me a few years later - I reckon 78 or 79. 
By this time the bottom had evolved to something less complex, more functional. 
Instead of the front 1/2 of the "Eye" - a deep double concave feeding into the converging/diverging channels behind the widest point. 
This board was shaped from the planshape of a kneeboard I found at the bottom of the cliff at Little Avalon. When repaired, I rode that kneeboard standup and discovered what fun such a short board could be in L.A.'s sucky reef tubes.
The Kewarra is much thinner than that kneeboard and went much better, it's fluted flyer acting like a fin in the wall on late drops.
In 82 I moved to Victoria with my family after the birth of our son Eli.
I never rode the little Jet Bottom again - no L.A. down here. 
However, a kneeboarder mate had a go and loved it too.
He had an unfortunate encounter with the rocks at Cape Pattersons Inside Point, smashing the nose and causing all the dings now present. 
The tip of the nose was once inscribed with the timely reminder; " He who hesitates is lost!" 
Sadly no more, I repaired it badly.
Who knows where the fin is now. 
I probably gave it away, otherwise I would still have it. 
Thrusters came along. 
I didn't ride a single fin again for at least 10 years. 
Luckily I have a photo which I'll send to you.
It's a Greenough style thing, high aspect, well foiled, but as i recall, not especially flexy. 
Erle was and I'm sure still is, the fin master - both at laying up beautiful panels and shaping and foiling. 
He was working for Midget (Farrelly) making fins when we left Sydney.
In the 90's he was making very experimental fins in QLD.
I have 3 other jet bottoms- two of them Kewarras with the full "eye" bottom('76-'77?) one a pintail stinger, the other a "christmas tree" triple flyer pintail. 
And one a Pipedream thruster from the late 80's early 90's. 
I'll send you photos. 
They'll amaze you. 
Both of the Kewarras unfortunately are finless. 
The article i saw was in ASL issue 200. 
It was about an alternative board designer up near Alexandra Headland. 1770 is a town near there. 
The photos accompanying the article showed some amazing and bizarre surfboards and mentioned this guy Glenn? Cat and his mate Erle Pederson! 
This article online at ...
Email #3
...  received email from Glen Ryan at ASL; Erles contact details  ...
1770 Surfboards at
There's some trippy stuff on there! 
Also note....
Erle Pederson at
Jet Bottom at
Email #4
Tom Griffin emailed, February 2007
I have been working with Erle Pedersen and the other half of his shaping team, Glenn Collins over the last 6 months to build a new website. I have replaced with a new site:


Number 61 October 1975.

Page 17

Unidentified Surfing Object

 Future Shapes by Erle Pedersen

No. 1
Dimensions: 5'7" x 26 1/2''
Built: September

Design: Step bottom, full pintail with double rails.
The rails are flexible for three-quarters the length of the board.
Comment: Works well in long walled waves sized three to eight foot.
It can ride a long way out from the curl and can do full rail cutbacks without the fin in the water.

No. 2

Dimensions: 5'9" x 21 1/4"
Built: August 1974
Design: Heavy double concave with kicked down narrow pintail.
Comment: Works well in very fast waves.
At high speeds it becomes highly manoeuvrable.
Sits high in the lip.

No. 3
Dimensions: 5'8" x 25"
Built: August 1976.   
Design: Pin nose and tail with slight vee under nose and tail.
A very loose board has the ability to hold in well in steep and critical sections.
Will handle anything from three to 10 feet.

No. 4
Dimensions: 6'3" x 21"
Built: December 1970
Design: Pintail with slight vee in the tail.
The first board I ever constructed with
Comment: A very versatile board that works well in all sorts of waves. It has been ridden successfully in everything from three to 15 feet.

No. 5

Dimensions: 7'2" x 21 1/2''
Built: July 1973

Design: Has a step in the rail line, similar to a Stinger.
It has a vee in the nose and tail.
The bottom has two heavy concaves that form an air cushion.
It has a two foot long Keel fin.
Comment: It's a hard board to turn, but once it gets going it makes light work of heavy waves.

No. 6

Dimensions: 6 0 x 20 1/2''
Built: (Not supplied)
Design: Round tail with vee running the entire length of the board.
It has double rails instead of conventional handles.
Comment: Works best at high speed, not a slop riding board.

- Surf [Aust] November 1977  Volume 1 Number 6

- Surf [Aust] November 1977  Volume 1 Number 6.

 "a bit of early 70's design weirdness"
Photograph : Tracks Archives
Tracks Magazine: 20 Years Edition, October 1990,  page 94.

"Peter Berry, a kneeboarder, also an amazing left-field shaper,
his Cave Creature Designs feature flexible tails and rails.

Also handles and step decks." - Simon Chipper, March 2006.

Jimmy O'Keef, Photographs by John Ahern : Glenn Cat and the Submersive Frontier
Australia's Surfing Life Number 200 May 2005? Pages 64, 65 and 67. 
Online at

Photographs below by Simon Chipper

home catalogue history references appendix

Geoff Cater (2000-2017) : Catalogue : Kerrawa Jet Bottom, 1978