Ronnie Goddard from Coffs Harbour

Ronnie Goddard has been hand shaping and glassing boards since 1971. So if you want something special and you are heading through Coff Harbour check out Ronnie's boards. Here is some of his great work.

Grand Opening!!!!!!

Come Join!

In case that text is too hard to read...

Almond Grand Opening
March 8, 2009
5:00 - 9:00 p.m.
367 Old Newport Blvd.
Newport Beach, CA

Plus! we'll be unveiling new t-shirts, surfboard models, and other offerings that you've never even seen before.  Hope to see you there.

Also, free drinks from Honest Tea, and live music via Gantez Warrior

Ronnie Goddard from Coffs Harbour

Ronnie Goddard from Coffs Harbour sent me this pic of one of the boards he is bringing to the Fish Fry. He has been shaping since 1971 and now mostly shapes fishes and longboards. But fishes are his passion. He is a one man band who hand shapes and glasses every board .

One week to go...

Well we are one week away from Fish Fry 3 and there seems to be a fair bit of interest in this years event , which is great given that the surf industry is having a tough time of it. And it shows that the guys that are in for the long haul and still have the passion are prepared to tough it out and still inspired to turn up with examples of their skills and craft. Such guys as Paolo Bianchinotti from Sydney who sent me these shots of an interesting little 5ft 7" reverse rocker hyperbolic fish he is bringing. Looking forward to seeing it in the flesh. I know of a number of guys that are making something special for the Fish Fry. I would like to thank them for their support as this what the Fish Fry is all about. The guys that shape these great little and and some not so little craft. There will also be a number of wooden fishes coming on the day , and this is no surprise as there seems to be alot of interest in wooden boards. 

13 footer Hawaii Challenge update

Well the board has been with a 'repair guy ' on Oahu for over three weeks waiting for the fin installation, in total that is now 7 weeks it has taken for a one hour fin installation job to not get done, in spite of frequent promises from the voluntary caretaker of the board, including messages saying that the fin was installed and that it was all teed up for Garrett to ride the board with 20 minutes notice on the next swell, and then the next one, and the next one. .. .. for example that Garrett was going to ride the board the 'day before' at pipeline but there was a boogie board contest on. . .. in fact all the time Garrett or the caretaker didn't even have the board and it had no fin.More BS and misinformation, undoubtedly conducted from 'on high', and always signed 'With Aloha' . . . yeah right.I worked hard out to make the new fin and send it to Hawaii, had it there 5 days after the first one was lost via express courier, 7 weeks later it still isn't installed, and it's only a one hour job !We have pulled the pin on the whole deal, as I don't like being lied to.Our experience has been that the board tour is all good and the board is well liked with regular surfers . . . . until the board gets anywhere near surf industry people, then it turns to sh*t. .. same deal in NZ.
This is for Reverb. I usually wear them when I am planing to keep the planer dust out of my eyes. After roughing I take them off for the hand tools.

Team Rider Ashleigh Smith WINS Roxy Pro Trials!!

(Story from

Cabarita Ace Ashleigh Smith Wins Roxy Pro Wildcard!

Ashleigh Smith (Cabarita, NSW) will get to surf against the world’s best after winning a wildcard into the Roxy Pro presented by LG Mobile at Snapper Rocks on the Gold Coast today.

Smith will have her work cut out for her having drawn best friend and two-time world champion Stephanie Gilmore (Aus) at her local break of Snapper Rocks in the ASP women’s world tour event.

20-year-old Smith proved too good in the highly-anticipated Roxy Pro trials final, going from strength-to-strength to beat Coolangatta surfer Ellie-Jean Coffey (Qld), Gold Coast based Kiwi surfer Sarah Mason (Tugun, Qld) and Lennox Head star Tyler Wright (NSW) to secure the lone wildcard into the world tour event.

The season-opening ASP women's world tour event the US$90,000 Roxy Pro presented by LG Mobile will commence on Saturday February 28th and run through to March 11th.

Good on ya Ashleigh! we wish you the best of luck in the main event!

This is a new model. Tri fins still work...!

All glossed and polished for the trip across the ditch

Roger Hall from Surfline Surfboards in New Zealand has been a great supporter of the fish fry and here is a board he has made especially for this years get together. He sees it as a great opportunity to experiment and pull together some of his ideas and thoughts into one board rather than just small progressive tweeks to his regular line up. And hopefully this is what the fish fry is about. A source of inspiration for experimentation to try new things or combinations of old ideas and see where they lead. With 9 stingers and some complex curves it also showcases Roger's talent and craftsmanship as a handshaper. Great to see . So come along to the fish fry with an open mind and share the talent on display and talk to the talented buggers who will be there.

367 Old Newport - Preview

Here are a few shots of the new shop in progress.
More coming soon...

We need some art on the walls... 

Taylor Photo

The Myth of the Mavericks suction zone.

We mentioned this so called Mavericks 'suction zone' recently in passing, and had a question from a reader regarding what it is all about.Back in about 2003 or 2004 we read in Surfing magazine about a thing called the 'suction zone' at Californian big wave spot Mavericks. This was supposed to be a mysterious zone near the bottom of the wave which the riders were having trouble with where they would be unable to turn their boards and would get steamrollered by the wave as a result. The article showed a picture of Anthony Tashnick on a huge Mavericks wave, trying to turn his board, to no avail. Anthony appeared to be really trying to get a rail in, and had a desperate look on his face as he struggled to control his board. The wave at this point was not steep but still had fair bit of slope to it, so he wasn't on flat water.Picture from surfline.comUpon reading this article, the BS meter started red lining. Obviously the wave is just a wave and there was no mysterious wave suction zone happening, so what exactly was the problem ?The only two possible wave related factors were the speed of the board and the slope of the wave. the slope wasn't remarkable, but the speed could well have been.We immediately came to the conclusion that the problem was related to the speed of the board, and the fin setup. At the time we had been working for several years on 'hydrofoil' fins with horizontal wing area . We were very much aware of the powerful lifting forces produced by underwater foils and how these forces increase exponentially with increases in speed. We had also figured out ( which hadn't been mentioned in those days but which is now common knowledge ) that thruster tri fin setups have horizontal lifting area due to the cant on their side fins.So it became clear that what was happening at Mavericks was that the thruster side fins were producing powerful lift at the speeds achieved on a big wave drop at Mavericks. The lift produced by side fins increases exponentially with speed, it increases with the square as speed increases so if the rider is doing 35 mph at the base of the wave during the drop the lift produced by the fins is four times what it would be at 17.5 mph. Of course the effort which the rider can apply when turning is limited by their weight, which doesn't increase with speed. The result is that the rider's efforts become less and less effective as the board goes faster. In the case of the thruster side fins the toe in used complicates matters further as it has a braking effect on the board, as well as possibly turning the lift downwards . Toe in increases the forces produced by the fin , which in turn further reduces the relative power of the rider over the board.Our research with horizontal wing area lifting foils had shown that they can resist rail to rail rolling movements which are needed in order to turn the board. In short we had experienced the 'suction zone' effect with smaller waves and more lifting surface area. The problem increases when:1) The board goes faster2) The horizontal lifting area is closer to the rail and further from the centre of the board ( it has more leverage and thus resists rail to rail rolling more )3) The surfboard is riding with a nose down attitude. This tends to make it harder for the rider to get his weight over the fin area, further reducing the power the rider has over the lifting force of the finsSo the problem was that thruster setups which worked well in a given speed range were being used outside of their range. Toe in and cant with thruster ( and 4 fin) setups is speed dependent. Not wave size dependent but speed dependent.The solution we came up with with allowed us to keep horizontal lifting area while completely elininating the problem of the so called 'suction' whereby the fin takes over and prevents the rider from controlling and turning the board. Our solution is as perfect as it gets and is the half pipe tunnel fin. . . lots of lifting area and zero rail to rail resistance. The tunnel fin setup is not speed dependent in terms of handling. . .. because it offers zero rail to rail resistance the half pipe tunnel handles just as perfectly as speed increases. we have tested boards with half pipe tunnels at speeds up top 37 mph and their handling remains docile.. . . while the benefits of lift increase.During 2004 I wrote a long article about all this suction zone and lift area business, and suggested that the solution would be to use a tunnel fin , or to reduce side fin cant and toe in. I also suggested that a four fin setup would be an improvement over the thruster setup, but that the tunnel fin ( in line with a singlefin) would be the best solution of all as it allows the beneficial lift area to be maintained . . . the other solution, i.e. reducing toe in and cant, does away with the vertical lift.Because optimising side fin toe in and cant is specific to the speed range the board will experience, it isn't possible to make an all round surfboard with side fins. A 'gun' board will be too tracky and stiff in small waves, whereas a small wave board will get the problems described above. Half pipe tunnel fins on the other hand work perfectly well at any speed, if set up correctly and used on the right kind of surfboard .The visible response to my 2004 article was ridicule, ridicule, and a fair dose of anger from the Californians. To them, solutions needed to come from californians familiar with the break. .. . an understandable emotional knee jerk reaction. Miraculously however, the Mavericks guns started to use reduced toe in and cant, and the 4 fin setup became popular.The suction zone vanished without trace. . . it was a modern surfing myth !

Meet the shapers the night before the Fish Fry.

Saturday night before the Fish Fry come on down to Coolangatta to Sean Scott's Slide Cafe and have a few quite beers and meet some of the shapers. Local musician Kym Campbell will be playing live. Also check out Sean's great photography of all things to do with the surf and the sea. Make yourself known and I look forward to catching up before the Fry.

Tom Blake surfboards at US vintage surf auction

Some beautiful Tom Blake wooden surfboards being auctioned at the United States vintage surf auction:12' 9"Tom Blake Surfboard by Catalina 12' 8" Blake - Hawaiian Surfboard 13' 9" Tom Blake Surfboard by Rogers

Back to the Future

What does the son of a surfboard shaper do for a school project given a choice? How about "The History of the Surfboard." Not wanting to be too new school and muck about with resin and foam, Ben chose to get back to basics and feel the soft, warm grain of wood. His scheme was to make a replica of an Alaia board. First step was to find a suitable blank. Our backyard fence that fell down last year provided the perfect piece of aged redwood, worm holes and all. Once he figured out the length, Ben laid out the plan shape using some basic tools like a compass and french curves. (Who knows what a french curve is?!)The block plane made quick work of rolling the rails. Then on to the final sanding. The last thing was to apply a dark stain and beeswax finish to give it a rich, old wood feel. The end result was pretty cool. It's about the size of a Paipo board. Looks like fun.The main thing for me was that Ben was able to get his hands on some new tools, learn how they work safely, and feel empowered that these basic skills and tools can open a lot of doors. Ben is just looking forward to taking it out and giving it try.

Working Hard

Well, my hard drive crashed over the weekend, and in the process wiped most of my work for the past few years off the face of the planet.  But, life goes on... and we've got a shop to open.

Here are a few shots of the work party at the shop from a week or two ago.  I'll go snap some more current pictures today.

Stoke on the Water

A 7' egg for Neil, who is English, so his language is peppered with exclamations like, "Brilliant!" and "behaviour."

I like talking to Neil about design. Our conversations take the form of a doubtful speculation by Neil, followed by me telling him what's basically industry standard, followed by Neil exploding with stoke as if I had just invented aluminium (aluminum). Here are a few examples of conversations last month, translated just in case you don't speak the Queen's English:
Neil: "The thickness in the centre (center)...I guess it's not possible to make it somewhere between 2 1/2 and 2 3/4 thick..."
Me: "I can make it 2 5/8 thick."
Neil: "Brilliant!"

Another time:
Neil: "I'd like to talk about colour (color)...grey (gray) seems a bit too much...I wish there were something a bit lighter..."
Me: "How about light gray?"
Neil: "Brilliant!"

Neil: "Different fin setups allow for different manoeuvres (maneuvers)...I wish there were a way to allow for multiple fin setups..."
Me: "We could put in multiple boxes."
Neil: "Brilliant!"

Leslie calls this color 'smoke.' When I asked her why she added double pinlines to the deck when the order card only called for a single pinline, she said, "You talk too much."