As a 40th anniversary tribute board, in 2008 Spencer Kellogg built a mildly updated version of Nat's 1968 Malibu Keyo.
The tail of the Spence's board wasn't as pulled in, and the nose was just a touch narrower. The rails in the back were dropped as well. (After riding it a few times, Nat built up the rear rails of his 1968 board with body filler, giving some edge in the tail. You can see how soft the original rails were in the top photo.)
This is a 1968/1969 G&S Farrelly Stringerless...with a twist. The wide point was moved up well ahead of center, echoing the trend toward racier outlines even for small wave boards. But instead of pulling the overall width in, they left it wide, and maintained moderate V in the tail.
Here's a more conventional Farrelly Stringerless outline...
At first glance, the top board has a Frankenstein quality...a mix of seemingly disparate parts. But I'm guessing it was a pretty interesting board to ride on the right wave!
It's amazing how many photographs there are of The Duke surfing as a young man, considering how few cameras there were around at the time, and how few people were even aware that surfing existed. It says a lot about how revered he was beyond his home shores and his swimming prowess.
The above shots were taken in Los Angeles in 1920. The background doesn't belie where he is exactly, but it
looks beach-breakie. The mansion in the background is palatial!
He would have been 30. He may have been en route to Antwerp, Belgium for the Olympics, but judging by his beard, more likely on the way home. What an insanely long journey back in those times! Ships and trains and ships and more trains. This was the second of three Olympics for him. He even medaled again in 1924, at age 34.
Duke in Antwerp. He won gold in the 100 meters, and gold with his 4 x 200 teammates.
His board is really interesting. When you compare the outline to the planks that were used during that era, it's incredibly sophisticated. There's a nice curve to the outline, and the wide point is somewhere around in the middle...so it would have had some maneuverability. The nose is full but moderate. The tail curve is straight enough to track and hold in without a fin. (Kind of like a stretched fish outline.) Presumably, the bottom was round and the deck was flat, as that was the norm.
The more time passes, the more awesome Duke Kahanamoku becomes.
Nostalgia is usually a collection of selective memories...so it's easy to go off the rails looking at old images of Honolua Bay with 4 or 5 surfers in the water. Maybe they sat in Kona rain for three weeks before getting a go out? Maybe they were flat broke? Maybe the selective service was waiting from them back home?
Then again, sometimes we're reminded that things may have indeed been cooler back in the day.
I just made that name up...but whatever you call it, it's a concept worth pursuing.
The first hull shaper I knew who tried this was Tony Staples, back in the mid-70's. He shaped a conventional hull, with a little extra thickness in the back 1/3 of the deck. Then he scooped out the deck along the rear rails, creating super thin, flexy rails with a sharp dome deck.
The above board is a Mandala 1 + 2 hull. I have no idea the dimensions, I just saw it the other day and wanted to share it.
Dale Velzy's "Pig" shape was developed in the mid-50s. It was originally crafted in solid balsa and glass...
When boards weighed upwards of 50 pounds, the light/flicky ride quality of a board with the wide point back and a narrow nose was a quantum leap forward in terms of maneuverability.
28 pound foam longboards appeared a few years later. Quick turning became a function of light weight, rather than shape. And noses began to widen...
Dewey Weber, tossing around lightweight, full nosed foamies.
During the transition era, shorter and lighter boards allowed the wide point to move forward -- and noses to fill out -- while still maintaining maneuverability. That trend was taken to the Nth degree by this Greenough-designed Keyo, built in 1968...
Apparently, Velzy never got the memo! He clashed with convention and pushed the pig concept to it's absolute limit. Huntington Beach, 1969...
By the early 80's, maneuver-oriented surfboard designers finally embraced Velzy's pulled-in nose concept...
...and it's been mainstream shortboard thinking for over 35 years ...
Ironic Epilogue: How the hell did the no-nose pig design emanate from a guy with a schnoz the size of Cyrano de Bergerac ???