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A surfboard is a simple device, but the lines that comprise its shape and how they interrelate are very sophisticated. Sophisticated, but not difficult to understand if you know these design basics.If you're a beginner, advanced, or top pro surfer, understanding these basics will help in your choice of a surfboard. This book will help you isolate problems you may experience while riding a particular surfboard and how to correct them. It will help you talk to your shaper if you decide to go custom. Shapers; this book is especially for you. You work with these basics on every surfboard you shape and you've learned what works, but you've probably never seen an accurate description of how or why. Do you know how to discover what a surfer really wants (often different than what he says)? The answers are contained in this book.This volume is designed to enhance understanding and stimulate advances in surfboard design.
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I thought I'd amuse myself by checking to see what my critics had to say for themselves. Note that you can often learn more about the critic from what they write, than about what they criticize. I note that not one critic said there was any error in anything I wrote, nor that there was any omission. The major complaint seems to be that what I wrote was too simple; this is the highest compliment I could have been given. When you fully understand anything, it becomes simple to you. It may be that some of my critics are complaining that I exposed the shaper's ultimate secret: It is simple if you know the basics. I didn't invent those basics, I simply wrote what I observed from my own experimentation.However, it's more likely that my critics were trying to learn from my book, the secrets they have been trying to discover, in order to improve their own shaping. Apparently, some were sorely disappointed because they couldn't find those secrets. Well I thought about this for a while. Did I omit some key point? And it occurred to me that perhaps I had; here it is: THERE IS NO SECRET TO SURFBOARD DESIGN! Everything a shaper needs to know is under his feet (the surfboard) and in the water (the waves). I learned the basics by: riding my surfboard and then changing the shape (making another board) riding that and observing what the change in ride characteristics were. My "Gurus" were the waves. Here's the bottom line: A custom shaper has to know what any surfboard he rides is doing and why it is doing that and what to do to make it ride better. He also has to be able to watch another ride a surfboard and see what that surfboard is doing and how to improve it for that person (in accordance with how that surfer is trying to ride).About the Author:
Bob Smith was an obscure surfer/shaper at the forefront of the short-board revolution in Hawaii during the late 60's. For an example of his surfboards (circa Dec. 1968) see the cover of Masters of Surf Photography: Art Brewer. Bob mysteriously dropped out of sight but rumor has it that he built a crude rocket and blasted off for a distant galaxy in search of perfect un-crowded waves. This manuscript was discovered recently and rushed to the publisher. His surfboards were admired by all that saw them with eloquent praise, such as:
"Ugly surfboard" "His surfboards are works of Zen sculpture" "It can't be turned" "That's the loosest board I've ever seen" "Pipeline PT boats" "His boards are too fast; they make the waves look slow"
But the most common praise that Bob personally received, heaped upon him by many of the surfers he met while surfing was:
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