4’11” KEVLAR KNEELO
A 4’11” Kevlar/Carbon experiment that was on my mind for a few years. I finally got the time and resources to build one for myself and we became quick friends instantly. There is a giant gap, in my eyes, when you look at the flex and non-floatation of a Greenough-style spoon and the float and non-flex of a standard construction surfboard or kneeboard.
I was after a middle ground idea with this one. Something that floats half as much as a regular board, and flexes half as much as a flex-spoon. Something that can paddle in the pack and compete for waves in a crowd, and still morph and bend in a pocket, and shoot you out of a good turn. I used a stringerless EPS blank, varied layers of 2-ounce Kevlar (the yellow color is raw Kevlar), and varied weight layers of uni-directional carbon fiber down the rails.
It’s laminated with Resin-X, which has a rubbery-type of flex like skateboard wheels. Essentially I wanted to create a very weak board that floats, but has rigid spines on the rails, keeping the shape and style of flex of a spoon, but holding the flotation of a thin surfboard. In the end, she weighs in around 5.5 pounds roughly. It came together better than I had thought.
8’0” SIDDARTHA V.BOWLS
This board changed my direction and opened my mind to a completely new balance in foam distribution. I had been shaping widepoint-forward, wide-nosed displacement hulls for a few years and focusing heavily on their foils and sensitivities. I had become a bit under-enthused with their limitations and what I wanted to do on a wave. My eyes were opened by Jordan Nobel to widepoint-back Evolution-style boards while in Australia for the first time.
I thought long and hard about the design and what I wanted to do. When I finally set out on my first variation, I told myself to get uncomfortable, to push my comfort zone and find something new. I had a few elements I wanted to connect in the board, and pretty much flipped my normal foil backwards.
The first time I surfed it, I was bummed. It took me a dozen waves to feel something good, then I realized it was an exercise in not only pushing comfort zone in shaping and visual balance, but surfing as well. I had to grow with it, and from that point forward, my focus and ability to truly see a surfboard was redirected.
After the first Rabbitsfoot was built, I had to find out if it was that board in particular, or the theory as a whole. I changed the foam type, the thickness, rails, rocker, weight, glassing, the concave depth, edge style, and shaped the new version pretty loose and extremely quickly. It blew the original out of the water and lit an inferno under my butt. Suddenly the doors were wide open and there were no rules. The game with the design became to push it every which way and find the limits, then come back and find center. Without the curiosity that it took to build this board, none of the subsequent versions would have come to be.
I joke pretty often that if I didn’t meet Trevor Gordon, I wouldn’t have a job right now. When we first met, I thought he didn't like me because he was so quiet; I'm pretty sure he was 16 or 17 at the time (around 2007). He ended up asking me to shape him a board out of a blank that was in his garage. He had recently diverted from a shortboard/contest track and was exploring garage-sale boards, singlefins, fish, etc. He wanted something nuggety, that could carry momentum and carve long lines. I took my pulled-in fish nose template and mashed it with a roundpin longboard tail, rounded it off a bit more, then shaped and foiled the thing like a Pavel Speedialer, the board that was changing every young shaper's designs at the time.
With this t.Rev, looks can be deceiving, and that really set the pace for how I like to shape my shortboards—technical and packed with useful curves. Trevor lit up Rincon that winter, and the next one and the next one...it hasn't stopped, and it’s set the pace for how he and I play with designs and new boards together.