Stringerless Sunday

 
 

This is a 1968/1969 G&S Farrelly Stringerless...with a twist. The wide point was moved up well ahead of center, echoing the trend toward racier outlines even for small wave boards. But instead of pulling the overall width in, they left it wide, and maintained moderate V in the tail.

Here's a more conventional Farrelly Stringerless outline...


At first glance, the top board has a Frankenstein quality...a mix of seemingly disparate parts. But I'm guessing it was a pretty interesting board to ride on the right wave!

Early Roundtail Influence

In the summer of 1968, a week long New Zealand south swell hit Malibu with perfect size, spacing, and angle...


Nat Young rode the swell with a 7'11'' Greenough-designed Keyo...




Radiating from Nat's performance that week, the 'area-forward, pulled-in roundtail' quickly became the next shortboard design phase. Here's KP with a couple of classic examples...


Duke Kahanamoku, 1920


It's amazing how many photographs there are of The Duke surfing as a young man, considering how few cameras there were around at the time, and how few people were even aware that surfing existed. It says a lot about how revered he was beyond his home shores and his swimming prowess.

The above shots were taken in Los Angeles in 1920. The background doesn't belie where he is exactly, but it looks beach-breakie. The mansion in the background is palatial!

He would have been 30. He may have been en route to Antwerp, Belgium for the Olympics, but judging by his beard, more likely on the way home. What an insanely long journey back in those times! Ships and trains and ships and more trains. This was the second of three Olympics for him. He even medaled again in 1924, at age 34.

 
Duke in Antwerp. He won gold in the 100 meters, and gold with his 4 x 200 teammates.

His board is really interesting. When you compare the outline to the planks that were used during that era, it's incredibly sophisticated.  There's a nice curve to the outline, and the wide point is somewhere around in the middle...so it would have had some maneuverability. The nose is full but moderate. The tail curve is straight enough to track and hold in without a fin. (Kind of like a stretched fish outline.) Presumably, the bottom was round and the deck was flat, as that was the norm.

The more time passes, the more awesome Duke Kahanamoku becomes.

Honolua Bay, Mid-60's

 
 
 
Nostalgia is usually a collection of selective memories...so it's easy to go off the rails looking at old images of Honolua Bay with 4 or 5 surfers in the water. Maybe they sat in Kona rain for three weeks before getting a go out? Maybe they were flat broke? Maybe the selective service was waiting from them back home?

Then again, sometimes we're reminded that things may have indeed been cooler back in the day.

John Peck, as cool as it gets...