Seeing as our new mystery model is in the final stages of testing and refinement, we thought it fitting to look at just a few of the iconic surfboard models of the last half century, alongside the shapers who were synonymous with their creations.
The first surfboard factory popped up on the Gold Coast more than 50 years ago, and since then, dozens of shapers have been able to use our little slice of the surfing world and its diverse range of waves to continually improve surfboard design. In the 50s and early 60s, surfboards were heavy and still predominantly in the 9 foot plus range. This limited everything from the ease of handling (especially for those of slight build), to travel and especially manoeuvrability in the water. By 1967, the shortboard revolution was in full swing across South-East Queensland, propelled by the original Cooly Kids’ collective desire for boards to ride the barrel at Kirra and Burleigh.
Between then and 1970, the average surfboard size transformed incredibly – from 9’6”and 12kg to just 6’6” and 4.5kg. This not only allowed Rabbit, Peter Townend and Michael Peterson to ride the tubes of their favourite pointbreaks deeper and better than ever before, it opened up new lines, turn combinations and the formation of a powerful style of modern surfing that many surfers from the 60s credit to Peter Drouyn.
Being at the core of this design innovation helped Kirra local Michael Peterson to dominate Australian surfing through the early to mid-70s, while his sparring partners PT and Rabbit would become World Champions in 1976 and 1978 respectively. In 1980, surfboards were in a state of flux – amazingly the World Tour contests saw an array of single fins, twin fins and the brand new three finned ‘Thruster’ from Simon Anderson. The genesis of the concept was simple enough, the powerfully build surfer/shaper from Narrabeen just wanted to stabilise the fast yet loose twin fin to compete with surfers like Mark Richards and Cheyne Horan, especially in smaller surf . Despite MR continuing to win world titles on his twin fin, Anderson went on to be victorious at huge Bells, small Narrabeen and solid Pipeline on his new model – the ‘Thruster’ was validated.
Michael Peterson 1977 Stubbies
While the Thruster is still around today, countless design tweaks resulting from thirty years of incredibly fun research and development has given us the modern high-performance shortboard. From the 80s and Tom Curren’s Al Merrick coming up against Occy’s Rusty Preisendorfer, to Kelly Slater and his glass slipper dominating the 90s and the increasing diversity of the post 2000s, it has all been a constant search for the happy medium. Drive or release, stability or control – whatever facet you focus on clearly requires work to get dialled in.
The thought behind our new model is to design a performance board for good waves that will complement the MVP in your quiver for when the waves drop off.
The new mystery model is the board you want under your feet when the swell is head high plus and we all start to get excited.