Thursday, June 3, 2010
I managed to escape to raglan for the weekend and surprisingly surfed an uncrowded and very lully 2ft indicators on Sunday morning under clear skies and warm sunshine. Not such a common event, but it was small enough to keep the crowds away and provide the odd fun little wave... a much needed escape after completing my methodology essay.
Speaking with some older friends who have surfed most of their lives, I was interested to hear that when shortboards became popular, they described it as a week in the early 70's when everyone went home and chopped their longboards in half, and began surfing with more 'carving and radical turns'. This highlighted to me that maybe shortboarding could also change in a instant from being the popular 'style' of surfing, to something completely different which changes board design and the way I surf... my surf style. It seems surf styles are so varied now, between stand up paddle boarders (SUPs), longboarding, shortboards, bodyboards and a few kneeboards. The increase in longboarding in NZ has been massive, from 10 years ago when there weren't many to be seen and everyone was crazy about shortboards, to nowadays when people are more willing to admit that breaks like Raglan actually work really well for longboarders. So with the combination of preferred surf styles and wave types around the country/world, it is very hard to pin down a generic shape for a surfboard that suits everyone and everywave. Seeing as I'm not as concerned with shape as i am with finding a material that lends itself to creating great surfboards, then high performance shortboards are a good shape to design for, as they require the lightest strongest materials. Then again if everyone suddenly decided that Alaia's (which are growing in popularity)were the new cool then the sustainability question could be answered quickly and change surf style for the better, using a historically proven method of surfboard construction. But is this just taking the easy road by dismissing where surfing has progressed to by returning to old traditions? Surely there's a way to keep what we have and add to an already historically rich experience that is surfing by finding readily available materials and processes which help iron out the unsustainable areas of surfboard construction.
I question what has most influence on surf culture, weather it's the surf industry, or surf professionals... for example what would happen if Kelly Slater won his tenth world title on an alaia??
Will alaia's be the next craze?
Check out Tom Wegeners thoughts.