Followup On "Old Blue"

The board in question ... on display in Greg Liddle's Reseda showroom, c1969
Is this the same board, now dwelling in Kirk Putnam's garage, some 45 years later??? 

Hey Paul
Happy new year. I think I have the board in the photo of Greg's old Reseda shop. This was from that time around 1970 when everything went super short.

I don't think this was Ken's board, but it could be. This one is 5'6''. He thought his was 5'10''.



What to you think, is this your old blue board, now lurking in KP's garage???




It's hard for me to say yes or no on the board. The color or dis-color has not held up to the test of time.

I sold my board to a girl in OB, I think her name was Lori, short blond, goofy foot as school got out in June. She never paid me for the board. I only know I had a stubbie exactly like the pretty blue one, same color design.




I doubt there were too many Liddles with blue decks. KP's is 5'6'', I think you said yours was 5'10''. Labels look about the same as the shot in the showroom. So...very similar at the least.

Anyway, some interesting stuff to ponder...



I agree. Remember that was 44 years ago. I could be wrong on the length. It was a cool board.




Also, it has a 'X-16' serial number which was Greg's way of numbering stock boards.



I'll post more later if and when info becomes available.

In the mean time...what ever became of Lori???



3 Classic Displacement Hulls: #1, The Plank

As I recall, back in the 80's Leonard Brady built a solid wood board based on the "planks" from the first half of the 20th century. The thing that struck him, after he got past the gorgeous aesthetic of the whole thing, was how the board delivered a sensation of flying that he'd only dreamt of. Somehow, over the post-war decades, board design had become so "refined and sophisticated" that the feeling of roaring towards the beach at a hundred miles an hour had been lost. But now, with a round bottom, 120 pound wooden board under him, Leonard was feeling it for the first time.

 Commonly referred to as "planks," solid boards were generally made of wiliwili or koa in Hawai'i, while mainlanders used redwood and pine.

They are the oldest known board design, easily over 300 years old. Planks also serve as the baseline for modern hull design. With no fin to influence the performance of the board, it took the right combination of outline and bottom shape to give the rider control as they flew towards the beach.

Planks were flat and heavy because wood was flat and heavy (that's why they were called planks...duh!) but neither of those "negative" qualities was seen as a problem. That's just the way it was, and boards evolved around those limitations.

Designers looked to sea creatures and canoe hulls for inspiration...both of which were intended to go through the water, rather than over it. So that's the approach they took.

Bottoms were rounded, usually all the way up to a dead flat deck. And there was no fin, so the outline template had to flow naturally through the water. Too much curve and the board would spin out of the wave immediately. Too little curve and the rider had no chance of changing direction or correcting for mistakes.

What worked best was a forward wide point and a moderately wide square tail.

The round shape of the bottom, while crude to the uneducated eye, was carefully fussed over by shapers.

Planks remained in use well into the 40's, even though hollow Blake paddleboards had made inroads due to their lighter weight and ease of transportation.

The post-war era even saw a few planks sporting small fins, an improvement borrowed from Blake's work in the late 30's.

What interesting is that of all the designs from our past, planks are the one "old school" genre that modern day hull surfers aren't inclined to replicate and ride. Simmons boards, Velzy pigs, D-Fin longboards, Yater Spoons, even finless Hot Curls...they all have active followings. But until you see a redwood plank in Kirk Putnam's garage, you can file them under the heading, "Gone But Not forgotten."

Some Recollections From Kendog ...

Ken McKnight wrote after we ran the shot of Greg Liddle's early 70's showroom in the previous post...

The bottom board I believe was the one Greg made for me to take to school at Cal Western. Seems to me I had it built around June/July and went off to Cal WeeWee in early September. This was a great board 5'10" and wide, wide, wide.  I surfed some insane waves at the Cliffs that winter on it. Really big Newbs and one huge day at Garbage that I won't ever forget. Oh yeah, and no leashes. Then took it to Rincon, El Cap, etc. on the breaks. Clear bottom, all blue top. Wow! I think that is my board in the photo.

Giant fin, super flexy, I had Dirt sand super thin so you could almost bend the fin tip to the rail. I want to say it may have been a 16" fin. Greg was huge on fin flex then on those super short boards.

That was a magic board for those times. So small and yet had a real hull bottom to it. I switched to clear boards after Greg said they would be cheaper. The rest of my hulls went 6'0" to 6'6" for the next five years. Those boards were so good. I remember the day Dave and I surfed Garbage, and it was big.

One other thing. The fins were so thin that they always had stress marks on them at the tip and the fin boxes had stress marks on the ends where they were glassed in. I always kinda thought it was a badge of honor to have the spider veins there. We, Patton, Dave, Steve always said it was cause we turned so hard the fin stress would crack the box.

Below is a photo of one of those boards at 3rd Point Malibu (we use to call it twigs) around the winter of 71. Dave shot this and it was later put in a WSA newsletter by Ray Allen.

BTW, Back riding waves again after surgery. The new mat is fantastic. I love it. Thanks.


3 Classic Displacement Hull Surfboard Designs


This won't be an attempt to cover the entire spectrum of “displacement hull” surfboards…just some thoughts about 3 significant hull designs that served as signposts -- and springboards -- along the way.  

The 3 classic hulls we're going to cover are: 

Round Bottom Redwood Slabs...

The Hot Curl...

 Simmons Boards...