A surfer’s ability will always be connected to water time
hen surfing became a part of my life over forty years ago, my approach continued down a familiar path – how do I understand this endeavor better, where is the edge, what might be improved? Working with metal while building and racing motorcycles familiarized me with a higher standard of precision and accuracy than was typically utilized by the surfing industry in the early 1970′s. As my surfing skills developed and I started to feel the differences in surfboards, I started to examine how design characteristics of boards influenced surfing performance. I wrote ESSENTIAL SURFINGto share what I had learned about surfboard design which supported the foundation of measurement controlled shaping. Paul Holmes, then editor of SURFERMAGAZINE, asked me to do a Question & Answer column about surfboard design for the magazine and I created the Design Forum format to empower design communication throughout the global surfboard design community. At this point, I feel we know enough about surfboard design as we are open, experiment with a wide variety of designs, and can adjust material and design variables to suit our needs and preferences over a wide range of planing devices. A surfer’s ability will always be connected to water time and the level of understanding applied to all the interacting variables that make up our Ocean. The next steps of development in surfing will be finless craft, light, electric motor-powered surfboards with wireless speed control and the refinement of man-made wave / surfing parks to increase wave riding time for research and development of surfing equipment and techniques in controlled conditions.