7'2'' Pulled-In Hull


7'2'' x 21" x 2 7/8"

This one's for Matt Pawleski. It's being glassed as we speak...

First-Gen Island Guns

Billy Dews

Buzzy Trent

Ryan Dotson

The late 50's/early 60's Hawaiian guns were remarkably advanced. With deep belly under the nose and dropped rails in the back, they featured transitional volume thickness flow (ie. more volume under the rail line in the nose, transitioning to more volume above the rail line in the tail.) This foreshadowed the shortboard hulls that followed in the late 60's.

Aside from the chunky fins and too-flat nose rockers, these boards were nearly ideal for their intended purpose...which was to survive big, thick Island waves. It was a harsh environment that forced shapers to find out what worked sooner, rather than later!

Nat Young: Hull/Outline Relationship

Here are three shots of Nat Young, ranging from 1968 to 1970. We can clearly see the transition from a super parallel deep V at the top, to a more moderated stubby outline in the middle, to a super short, pulled-in nose shape at the bottom.

All 3 boards featured the deep hull that was common in the early days of the short board revolution. All three were easily buried to the nose in a bottom turn.

The top board was serviceable, but no doubt sticky and hard to control due to the straight outline. The bottom board, with it's pulled-in nose combined with the deep hull, is "all drag and no go." Without any nose area to drive off of, the board sinks too far into a turn, and relies entirely on the fin to delivery any torque.

The middle board, however, seemed to have a right mix of outline and hull depth.

It's clear that the original shortboard hull designers overshot the mark. The next-gen builders (Liddle, Frye, etc) reigned us back in.

How Much Hull Is Too Much Hull ???

Here are two examples of boards...arguably, one with too much hull, and the other with not enough.

The green Keyo Nat Young is riding appears to be over 7 feet long, with a pulled in tail and too much V. (Deep V and a pulled in tail are redundant.) Even with a big fin to stabilize it, he tends to overturn. There isn't enough "load" on the rail when he banks it over, so there's little power delivery. And the board trims high up the face. There's too much hull!

The board Michael Petersen is riding in Morning Of The Earth is short (under 6 foot) and very flat. Probably too flat for a board with an outline that parallel. While it trims out with speed, it sits low on the wave face, and the edges are a touch too sensitive.

Obviously, both boards work. But it demonstrates how far hull shapers like Greg Liddle and Skip Frye refined hull depth in the 70's. 

9'2'' SOS Model

This is a Son Of Sam model Spencer Kellogg and I put together for Paul Castaneda. It's loosely based on Nat Young's 1966 Magic Sam board. Scheduled for first go out this Sunday, the 30th.

9'2'' x 22 1/4" x 3 1/8"
6-4 Volan bottom
6-6 Volan deck, with a 6 Volan deck patch


Update from PC, evening of the 30th...

Hi Paul & Spencer,

I just wanted to give you guys a update on my initial paddle out on my new board.

I ended up setting the back of the fin at 6 3/4” from the tail block and it seemed to work great in this morning's conditions.  
Initially paddling was smooth and balanced.  I felt the board lift in the front when paddling into waves, which, Spence, you mentioned would happen, so I just corrected my positioning on the board to accommodate for that.  I had no problem getting up on take offs and the bottoms turns are smooth and drawn out.  No jerky transitions when elevating  up to the face of the wave and stepping up towards the nose of the board, I could definitely feel it switching gears.  It has to be one of the smoothest boards I’ve ever ridden.

Thank you,


Michael Petersen: Paradox On Earth

Maybe the real transition during "The Transition Era" was the changeover, by most surfers, from displacement hull bottoms to down rails and a flat bottom.

Most of the new low railers in 1970 were narrow, severely pointed boards. There was little confusion between stubby displacement hulls and full-on, flat bottom Island-inspired guns. The two were polar opposites...

Unlike the majority of top-tier surfers, a young Michael Petersen was surfing a self-built hybrid board...part low railer, part stubby hull.

He was steeped to the gills in a 'Nat Young transition era' riding style...

...but he was intrigued with the new era of flat bottom design thinking. Putting the ideas of single fin hull surfing and a flat bottom together was an oil and water proposition. (The only other flat bottomed, full outline designs around at the time were the Lis Fish, the Eaton Twin Fin, and the Campbell Bonzer...all multi-finned.)

As luck would have it, in Morning Of the Earth, Albert Falzon captured Petersen riding Kirra Point on what would become an iconic 'hybrid' board. It featured a full outline, single fin, and a flat bottom.

In the hands of a very strong and very determined Michael Petersen, it looked so much like a hull when he surfed it, hull aficionados claimed Petersen, and that board, as their own.

Michael Petersen's legacy resurfaced in the mainstream surf media during the early 2000s. Older ''non-hull surfers'' who were privvy to Petersen back in the day were quick to point out that his board was in no way, shape, or form a "hull."

True enough, but it did have some key elements of a short hull. It was under 6' long. The outline was full. It was a single fin. The tail rocker was relatively straight, with the apex of the nose rocker was set well forward. And it liked being surfed from the middle.

So how should we look at the board used by Petersen during that brief window of time, some 45 years ago? Did it represent some kind of rarefied ideal that hull riders should be looking at today? Or was it a Frankenstein mish-mash of conflicting ideas only a surfer with the strength and talent of MP could utilize?

The answer is totally subjective.

For me, with size 9 feet and average talent, flat bottom stubbies had to be ridden off the tail and forcefully pushed from rail to tail. The same outline, with a displacement hull, could simply be "urged' to bank over from forward trim. I preferred the latter then, and still do.

Around 2001, Michael Petersen was coaxed out of retirement to create some shapes inspired by his Morning Of The Earth board. I don't know how loyal they were to the original, but based on what we can see, it looks like Petersen put out a serious effort.

5'9'' x 20''