Riding olo boards with displacement tails: a Tom Blake replica

 Here's Brad Tucker's first ride report from the recently built displacement tailed Tom Blake design shown below:

"Ride report: My son and I actually rode it a few weeks ago. I haven't posted the ride report because I wanted to include some good video with it. Turns out getting good video is really hard to get on this board. It needs a fin badly. We had an absolute blast riding it but it was very hard to ride. It paddles in a straight line better than any surfboard I've paddled. It's no wonder Tom won races on this thing. Turning is another story. Tilt your feet right and it goes left! The hard rails up front must be catching and pulling the nose. We figured out the only way to turn it is to use your hand of foot in the water as a turning brake. It was overhead surf at San O the day we took it out. I chickened out and didn't take any of the big ones but Cache took off on a couple. Video coming soon. I stuck to the inside. It was a lot of fun. We took it out 2 days in a row. Lots of excitement from the others at the beach. I saw some original pictures of Tom's early fins on these boards so I'm going to put replica redwood fin on it. Surprisingly it didn't leak at all."

Brad Tucker

Wood Surfboard Supply

Hi Brad,

That shouldn't happen unless you were standing too far forward.

It will be interesting to see the footage, my bet is that you are used to standing with a certain amount of nose in front of you so ended up too far forward on the longer board.

Tom's boards use displacement tails otherwise known as 'sinker tails' these tails are sunk during rail turns, thus lifting the nose. The nose rail shouldn't be engaged much at all.

It's best to use a narrow forward facing stance in the middle of the board, and a sensitive touch, the board is not a mal and needs a different riding style .

If you feel that you needed a fin then the tail must have been sliding out, this also indicates that you were trimming too far forward. If the weight was aft the tail would sink slightly and hold in.

Another way to cure the problem is to build a similar board with the wide point forward. this enables the rider to move forward as well.

The photo below shows what I'm talking about. It might not seem obvious to those not used to this kind of board but Tom is weighting the board aft to raise the nose and sink the tail. He's also using a narrow forward stance. Wider sideways stances don't work with these boards in most situations.

Blake boards and other displacement tailed longboards including many of my own designs are based on a different design philosophy from the typical noseriding malibu design which has infested the planet over the past half a century. Most longboarders assume that they know how to ride a longboard so they simply apply their usual technique, only to discover that it doesn't work. The tendency is to blame the board particularly in the case of professional surfers who think that they know it all,  but in reality it's better to adopt the necessary riding style. All is well once this is understood.  In my opinion the olo riding style is a much more pleasurable and in many ways more functional way to surf.