Mark Martinson, France, Summer 1968 ...

When MacGillivray/Freeman films headed to France that summer to shoot Waves Of Change -- with Bill Hamilton, Keith Paull and Mark Martinson -- the two, top tier California surfers were in the first phase of the new shortboard revolution. Which is a polite way of saying they were still riding outdated, wide-backed V Bottoms. (Above, Hamilton looking at a shot of Nat Young at Honolua Bay on a deep V, taken the previous December.)

While Keith Paull was riding a wide tailed board, it was a roundtail. (The green board on the Combi Van.) 


Hamilton and Martinson hadn't seen any roundtails up until that point, and it was a revelation. 

You can see from this frame grab of Mark walking along the beach, his Harbour V was really radical. Too radical to be a good travel board, that's for sure.

Spin outs on big, full faced waves like La Barre were the norm. 

In the smaller, tighter curls of Biarritz, it was more at home. (Top sequence.)

The Mac/Free crew ran into the Spencer/Young/Lynch contingent while in France, and the Americans were exposed to narrower roundtails that were even more advanced than Keith Paull's double-ender.

Predictably, a cross-pollination took place, and the pulled-in roundtail quickly displaced the wide square tails around the world.

Which is amazing, because in December of 1967, in the Islands, Young and McTavish essentially introduced the groundbreaking deep V to the outside world...

But by the time the World Contest in Puerto Rico came in December of 1968, the wide-backed Vs were gone.

The early V design went from leading edge to obsolete in just a year. That says a lot about the shortcomings of the design, as well as the volatility of the era.

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