home catalogue history references appendix

Click for next
                        entry #101 
the catalogue #315 
1939  Paddle-board, 14 ft 1" ?
SHAPER:  Unknown
DESIGN: Tom Blake Paddle-board
Tom Blake hollow paddle board design of plywood panels fixed over a timber frame.
Metal nose plug
Timber rail gunnels
Long based solid timber keel fin.

21 1/2
Wide Point:
???+5 inches
Nose :
9 1/2
Nose lift :

Tail lift :

Weight :


Gunnels :
inches   @
inches from tail
Nose: pin, with black painted sheet metal nose plate.
Tail: square, with black painted sheet metal tail plate.
Flat multi panelled plywood deck with alternative dark and light timbers.
The panels are in three sections joined in a cross cut mitre producing a "W" pattern.
Bottom: Rounded bottom with distinct rocker in four dark plywood sections.
Rails:  square, the seams are corked with a black pitch and fixed with brass nails and screws.
Rocker:  distinct
Hand painted numerlal "2" and script "Lou Morath" in gold paint on the nose.
 Multi panelled plywood deck with alternative dark and light timbers.
The panels are in three sections joined in a cross cut mitre producing a "W" pattern.
Black painted sheet metal nose plate.
Four dark plywood sections.
Black painted sheet metal  tail plate.

Long based solid timber keel fin.
3 1/2 inch x 48 inches (base) x 3/4 inches thick
The fin has the markings "L / 58" in white paint, but these are possibly a museum catalogue number ???
Timber keel fin, not #191
Information  supplied via email by Darrell Goforth, June 2004, with thanks.
Text below , with minor spelling corrections.
Photographs supplied via email by Darrell Goforth, February 2005, with thanks.

My friend and I aquired an obviously very old paddle board a while ago. 
We chose to keep it, establish a bit of  history and facts about it, when we could afford it, get it restored by someone who knows what they are doing, and has experience in that sort of field.

The story behind the board is; I was given it by an elderly lady for giving her a hand to move her throw away junk, for the rubbish collection.
At the bottom of the pile, was this board/ canoe looking thing, my friend and I worked our way through to it, and were in awe.
We asked the lady if she was throwing it away, she said if we wanted it we could have it.

As elderly ladies do, she continued with a story of how she came to be in possession of the thing. 
She was trusted with it when a friend of hers went to war.
At the time when we obtained the board this lady was living in Balgowlah, Sydney. but she was living in
Bondi when she was given the board, her friend who never came back for his board, she said, used to use it at Bondi Beach. 

Through reading the section of Lou Morath's board (#191)construction, it sounds almost identical. 
Our board is in great condition for its age, all the panels are still entact, it still has an original ding repair entact, the painted letters are still just visible "SMJ 14". 
Obviously it needs some attention, as with age the brass tacks are starting to loosen and lift etc, but overall it is all still entact.
I emailed Bondi Surf Lifesaving Club about the board but no reply was sent, maybe it was not from their club, or they were not interested?
I don't know?
If you know any information about our board who know anyonwe who might could you please forward any information. 
I live in Avalon, Sydney, in case you know anyone kinda local who may want to view the board. 
Apart from that I can provide you with pictures of it if you require. 
Thank you very much for your time and help. 
Darrell Goforth

The  board on the left appears very similar to #191
Riders unidentified.
"Surfers jumping from their boards before grasping them with their hands to halt them at the end of the shoot.- News and Information Bureau."
 Bloomfield, 1959, facing page 80.

"Blue Russell (far left) and other Club members prepare for a paddling race around Narrabeen Lakes in the late 1930s. The race was used to help select the Australian team for the hawaii trip."                       - Brawley,1996, page 66.
Note the two distinct lengths of the boards in this photograph.

 "...Keightly 'Blue'  Russell ... built hollow  boards at Palm Beach. Russell pioneered the kneeling position in Australia, become (sic) so general that one picks out  the board enthusiasts by the knee calluses  most of them sport. As a member of the Australian surfer's team to Honolulu, Russell won the Hawaiian championship there. 

Board-riding, like other aspects of surf activity, belongs to some beaches rarther than to all. Manly has always been a boardman's beach since the Walkers and Claude West...with nowdays men like Lou Morath, Roger Duck, Ray Leighton, and a young Fred Notting... North Bondi has sponsored a most active group since Dick Chapple , who with Russell and Morath was Australian representative at Honolulu." Maxwell  1949, Chapter Seven : Surfboards and Surf Skis, pages 241-242.

See History : Tom Blake 1926 - 1935
The Hollow Paddle Board, a timber frame with plywood skin, was developed by Tom Blake in Hawaii. Around 1926, Tom Blake attempted to recreate some of the larger Olo design's that he had restored for the Bishop Museum, Honolulu. The first model was a sixteen foot solid board with a multitude of holes drilled through the blank, these were then covered on the deck and bottom with plywood panels.
He rapidly incorporated current aircraft and boat building techniques into surfboard design and his design of a light timber frame covered with plywood panels resulted in a huge weight reduction. 
On 18th April, 1931  Thomas Edward Blake submitted three pages with a detailed drawing for a ' Water Sled'. and was subsequently granted US Patent No. 1,872,230 by the US Patents and Trademarks Office, Washington DC.Initially viewed with scepticism, the paddling advantages were emphatically demonstrated as Tom Blake dominated paddle races in California and Hawaii in the 1930ís.

Aware of the life saving potential of such a craft and an enthusiastic promoter of his sport, Tom Blake gave his design international exposure by publishing  the blueprints and construction details, principally in various Popular Mechanics Magazines of the period. See below or Plans and Specifications. Publication saw the design rapidly adopted around the world, notably  Australia, New Zealand, Peru and South Africa. In these countries it had an extended life due to the lag before these countries caught up with the developments in fibreglass and foam. In Australia the design first appearred as the Racing 16 and was later modified to a finned Malibu (1956-1958) while in New Zealand the lag was even longer and hollow Malibu boards were manufactured up to 1961. (Maxwell page 240-241).

Circa 1934 Tom Blake added a small water ski type fin/skeg to one of his hollow boards. Although an significant addition, because of the emphasis on paddling, the small size relative to the board, the increased danger and the difficulty in attachment, many riders do not consider fins as a necessity.
It rarely appears on Australian examples of long Hollows.

Tom Blake: Water Sled
Patent Filed: April 16, 1931,  Approved August 19, 1932.

Tom Blake : Riding the Breakers on this Hollow Hawaiian Surfboard -
Popular Mechanics Magazine
July 1937 Volume 68 Number 1, pages 114 - 117

1. Maxwell, C. Bede   Surf : Australians Against the Sea 
Angus and Robertson, Sydney 1949. pages 241-242.
2. Harris, Reg. S. The History of Manly Life Saving Club 1911-1961 
Published by Manly Life Saving Club, NSW Printed by Publicity Press Ltd. 1961
pages 54 - 56, and elsewhere. 
3. Margan, Frank and Finney, Ben R.(Margan and Finney) :  A Pictorial History of Surfing
Paul Hamlyn Pty Ltd, 176 South Creek Road,  Dee Why West, NSW 2099.1970. 
photographs page 118 and 127 
4. Galton, Barry  Gladiators of the Surf
AH & AW Read Pty Ltd, 2 Aquatic Drive Frenchs Forest NSW 2086 1984  page 64 -65
5. Thoms, Albie: Surfmovies The Blue Group  PO Box 321 Noosa Heads Queensland 4567.  2000
 Page 39 
Click for next entry

home catalogue history references appendix

Geoff Cater (2004-2021) : #315 Racing 16 Paddle-board, 14ft, 1959