The Hot Curl was the first board of the modern era (post-1900) to have a component of "performance" designed into it. From day-one, in 1937, Hot Curls were intended to ride bigger and hollower waves than the standard Plank board (shown here drifting around in small waves at the 6:15 mark.)
And, like the Plank, Hot Curls don't have a fin, so the displacement of the bottom has to generate 100% of the directional stability. It is a pure hull design that taps into the power under the surface of the water. The flat rocker makes it go, and the round bottom holds it in.
Wally Froseith. Early Hot Curl action, good sized Waikiki. This is what they were made for...riding in the hot curl. Look at how clean the track is!
The history of the Hot Curl has been told many times...and, in general, the details from each story teller are in sync.
Left to right: Wally Froseith, John Kelly, Buzzy Trent, and George Downing.
Perhaps the most detailed retelling is from Wally Froseith on the Legendary Surfers site. It's well worth a read.
The fact that the original Hot Curl was cut down from a Plank is a great foreshadowing of the shortboard revolution 30 years later...when many homemade shortboards were made of stripped down longboards.
This entry on Wally Froseith from the Encyclopedia Of Surfing is also very good.
As you might expect, Surfline's little nod to the Hot Curl is off by 20 years and 3000 miles...much like their swell predictions! Better luck next time, boys...
Here's some beautiful "back-in-the-day" Hot Curl riding. Top pic is Blackie Makaena. Next four are of Buff. Then Jim Richards and Blackout.
Full-on rail control at all times...pure displacement hull surfing at it's finest.
Hot Curls made their way with George Downing to Malibu in 1947, and slid across the point for another 10 years...
Pete Peterson waxing up...
Gidget and Tubesteak, on the beach at Malibu with a bunch of Velzy Pigs and a Hot Curl leaning against the fence. Late 50's.
Some modern Hot Curl replicas, made out of solid wood. Top two pics are of a Richard Harvey built board. Bottom four are of Dale Velzy's Hot Curl replicas.
Roger Hall is one of the handful of shapers around the world who are having a go at a modern day foam interpretation. Even though what he builds isn't what an old school purist would call a true Hot Curl, his understanding of the drag/displacement principle is spot-on...and his boards definitely work.
And here's Josh Martin's more traditional approach to a foam Hot Curl. What a bitchin' displacement hull!!!
Shaper Donald Brink on one of his foam Hot Curls...in perfectly balanced trim.
When Worlds Collide: A foamie Hot Curl...with a leash plug!!! Is nothing sacred?