Looking through an old issue of SURFER the other day at work (research, I swear), I came upon this great piece from SURFER magazine Vol. 17, No. 3, 1976 which looked at various quivers. I picked out three of my favorites–as much for the quivers as for the words that come with. Keating’s story is fabulous. Naughton’s words convey his charmingly stubborn Irish self. But the boards, ah yes, those beautiful boards. I have a thing for
diamond tails, and Naughton’s diamond tail is sweet! And take a gander at that Aipa noserider in the middle of Buttons’ quiver. But Keating! That quiver is almost perfect (no quiver is perfect–that’s the beauty! We’re always one Malcolm Bonzer or one Lis Fish away!). This look into the past is a quick and fun read, and an intriguing look at what we were riding almost 30-years ago and what we are riding today. — Scott Bass
I know surfboards. Trust me. I wasn’t born this way, mind you. But some time ago, this hardcore surf dude laid on me a 9’6″ reverse t-band Ole that triggered a large habit made downright huge in recent years, now that I’m chasing waves from one end of the San Andreas fault to the other. Keep on trusting me, please- ’cause you can’t name the shapes I haven’t tried, the oddball designs I haven’t fussed over. I’ve even read books on how to design surfboards, while everybody else was reading books about how to do things I wouldn’t want to describe. Anyhow, books got me now-where. Nothing got me anywhere but plain old backyard horsin’ around. Here-save yourself the trouble. I’m giving-you can take.
The shapes pictured here are for just about any waves similar to the points, reefs, and beach breaks of California. I prefer to sacrifice tight radius squiggles for solidly defined lines and quick trajectories on a wave, and the length of my boards reflect this attitude. The diamond tail is 7’2″. The rounded-pin is 7’4″. The gun is 8′. I’m 6′. Each board is just under 13 lbs., and I’m under 180 now that I’m dieting every whipstitch. The 7’2″ and 7’4″ were designed with 3- to 8-foot waves in mind. The gun is for waves up to 15′. If it’s over 15′, that’s your lookout. I always eyeball the rail line to make sure that it’s low and blunt, with an ever-so-slight edge running constant from nose to tail. Bottoms are flat. We’re also talking about a fine “vee” in the tail- “fino,” right?
The diamond tail is 13 1/2″ in the nose, 20″ in the middle, and 12″ in the tail. The rounded-pin has a 12 1/2″ nose, 19 1/2″ middle, and 11 3/4″ tail. The gun’s dimensions are: 12″ nose, 19 3/4″ middle, 10 3/4″ tail. I always get a nicely colored glassed-on fin (it looks impressive when on my car). Notice something missing in the picture? That’s right, leashes are for dogs.
That’s it. Nothing else. I don’t care what you hear from other parties, I say you can store it in your rafters, leave it on the beach overnight, keep it for years, hit it with a hammer, nothing can hurt the wave I just told you how to ride.
I try to surf as many types of waves as I can. In my surfing, I try to combine a lot of speed and maneuverability. Since the Aipa Sting is a very versatile design, it can work for me in any type of wave, with only a change in length, width and thickness. In other words, I don’t have to keep changing types of board designs, only sizes, except for my longest winter board. I feel this helps my surfing, because I always know what to expect of my boards, as they are all basically the same.
In the summer, I ride a 5’10″, 21″ wide Sting for small and fairly good-size waves. My longest summer board is a 6’5″, 20″ wide Sting. For the winter surf in Hawaii, my shortest board is a 6’10″, 193/4″ wide Sting. For 8′ to 10′ surf, I ride a 7’4″, 191/2″ wide Sting. All these boards have a lot of “V” going one third the board, and a slight roll to the belly, and they are all swallow tails, except for my 8′, 191/2″ wide pintail Sting. I need the pintail to get down into the bigger waves, and by adding the Sting to the pintail, it loosens the board up to that I can do the same kind of turns as I do on smaller waves. All my boards have been shaped and designed by Ben Aipa since 1972. Hawaiian surfers like Mark Liddell, Dane Kealoha, and Channon Valeho also use the same type of boards.
When I was 16, my goal in life was to be the best. In that pursuit, I watched and followed the best.
When some of the heavies, such as Hynson and Frye, surfed local spots, I’d look in their cars to see all those beautiful surfboards.
My best friend lived next door to Butch Van Artsdalen. One day we looked in his backyard, and blew our minds. There were so many boards you couldn’t count ‘em all. To a surfer, you might say he was a millionaire. I was convinced that having a bunch of boards was the way to be the best.
Over the years, my surfboard stash grew. Sometimes I’d even miss good surf because I had to work to pay for a new board. Eventually, I had so many that I never could ride ‘em all, but they were impressive to have when guests came by.
Instead of working on boards that were versatile, I’d just get one made for a particular type of riding at a specific spot. This continued and even accelerated. Instead of having a good time in the water, I was always wondering if one of my other boards would be better. Then in 1972, on a triple blind date with Purpus and Ronnie Roman, I met Tobi. Shortly after, we kinda fell in love, and I settled down for awhile, only going through about two new boards a month. Everything seemed OK except my obsession to be a surf star, and her pursuit of being a doctor was taking us apart.
On Valentine’s Day, I bailed on a date to finish a board, which I was certain would be unreal. That board later became known as the Tobi board; it didn’t work that well anyhow. Finally after several parties, when in a wasted state I accused of trying to foil my plans, our romance was over. That was just fine with me, ’cause now I could pursue my riding full on.
So the craze resumed to such a stage that it even amazed me. The quiver increased to a point where I didn’t even know how many I had. Today, things are different-still surf stoked, just not so locked in.