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.
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.
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?
Back in the day, shortboard hulls had DEAD STRAIGHT tail rocker. Transition era designers figured that since boards were so small -- which they were by longboard standards -- there was no need to generate any drag in the back half of the board for maneuverability. The result was super efficient planing hulls...but they were sticky as hell to turn! It only took a few years before a little bit of tail rocker crept into the standard shortboard.
Pushing the wide point forward and generating a small tail is nothing new...even Pat Curran did it back in the late 50's!
Late 50's Curran gun. Modern replica by Pat.
And who could forget the stringerless Keyo Nat Young rode at Malibu in August of 1968? That board was designed by George Greenough on the living room floor of his parent's home in Montecito....on a large sheet of tar paper. He laid out a true foil curve, then rounded the nose and tail off. His idea wasn't to create a surfboard that could be ridden in a conventional manner. He just wanted to make the most efficient outline shape possible, and rely on Nat's talent to make it work.
Nat's stringerless Keyo. Malibu, 1968.
No one has spent more time and effort sorting out the plusses and minuses of a wide point set well ahead of center than Greg Liddle. His 7'1'' roundtail template was a personal favorite for over 20 years.
During the embryonic shortboard transition era, wide points were set far forward on the really short surfboards and kneeboards. The idea was to get more drive with the long tail length afforded by the wide point well ahead of center.
Two examples are the El Paipo and G&S knee machines.
The shapes were very interesting. The rails were dropped...but the bottom had a distinct roll under the nose. Much to my surprise when I rode one...it worked! The seemingly odd combination of a big nose, tiny tail, rolled bottom, low rails, and a molded plastic flex single fin flourished in some kind of cosmic collusion.
I was working at G&S at the time, and the way they made their kneeboards was interesting. They were blowing their own foam, and had a blank mold that was the finished shape of the board. They would remove the blank from the mold while it was still hot and curing, and a shaper would go over the super soft foam with a big sponge covered with sanding screen. Since the bank's crust hadn't formed yet, all he had to do was scrub the blank with the screen, and in about 10 minutes it was done!