Tailsliding: Spinning Out of Control
( original version previously posted on KSUSA )
At first I thought this thread was about new squigglebutting techniques.
Now this is gonna be difficult...there's a language censor on this bb so I gotta watch my myself.....
Terry (MTB) spent a few hours at my crib Tuesday mid-morning. I've had one of his big wave spoons for a year now waiting for the opportunity to test ride it, but this just wasn't the winter to take it out. He wanted to shoot some pics of the stick and take measurements to add to this discussion. I made the time to accomodate him as it is always time well spent. He's been telling me about these spoon threads and suggested I get involved. I'm leary of online discussion as there are too many crackpots who read plenty, then present themselves as gospel, without ever having taken the trip.....if you get my drift. Such is the case on these bb's.
Some background here for the uninformed. Here in SD, at the mere mention of Terry's name, guy's drop to their knees, light devotive candles, burn incense, and mumble all kinds of stuff to themselves. Little is known of him outside this area in the international KB community, but those who count in the industry.....know all about him. He's GG's creative twin brother walking a parallel path of exploration and creativity....simple as that.
Terry is...frickin' mindblowing. Spending one day with him will tweak everything you thought you knew about design theories and leave you stumbling around in a daze for weeks. Sadly I've watched many engage him in conversation and when, as it always does, it shifts to his work, he get's tuned out as most cannot comprehend anything he is saying. It's disappointing to watch this happen to one of the most remarakable and industrious innovators of all time within both the standup and KB communities.
The best way for me to sum this up is to say that there was Greenough up north....and Hendricks down here. Contemporary peers, collaborating pioneers, different flex theories. Terry had a big influence on this area's shapers with his purest experimentation during that mid to late sixties explosion...well into the seventies; Castor, Frye, Lis, Rusty, Eaton, The Tinkler Bro's, Pendo, even Toby...it keeps going.
The early Big Rock crew were all dominated by spoon riders. Brockaway, Creature, Wolverton, Caveman, Bob Ward, Skinner .....these names may or may not ring bells for some of you old goats, but that is due to low publicity during this early pre Lis period. Then there's the Plaskunas bro's, Lou Greco, Dan Gildae, Jim Richardson, Kenny Hughes and more from the PT Loma reefs. All influenced by Terry. Ya shoulda been here.
The big KB media blitz didn't really start until the end of that first spoon era with the advent of the Huffman Dynasty and Lis's Fish. I came into the picture right about that transition and for the record it was an ugly and very hostile place to try and make friends. There is still a vast amount of undocumented material of these two eras that has never been seen outside private living rooms. What transpired here in SD captivated surfers everywhere......all that archival material is still closely gaurded by the same tightly knit underground enclave. Publicity was an intrusive evil most avoided.....and still do....as it reflects the reclusive nature of the SD crew and how this mindset failed to carry all that progressive momentum forward.
On the larger scale it's depressing that this much energy and innovation has not been equaled anywhere since that Golden era between 68' thru '78. Where did it all go? Why did the generation behind us chose to pursue competition and throw away the very things which made them unique? Why are they still trying to look like the other guys? It sure mystifys many people. For some reason they got sucked into the media hype revolving around competition and lost themselves, chasing the illusionary brass ring of surf stardom. No wonder the younger guys they should have been influencing chose to ride sponges...they gave them nothing to aspire towards.....until now. TwentyFive plus years late is still better than never.
The Pluto Platter is legendary. This is one of Terry's earliest contraptions that is still sworn by as being one of the hottest sticks ever ridden by, deferring, nameless known heavies. I've examined all these sticks he has presented here in this thread. Hopefully I will be able to work my way through them all and give him some feedback on each. Years back he had an unattended website that covered many of his research theories and conclusions. A couple of pics from that site I sent to Bud when he first went electronic. He still has them posted in his Design section. We both were emailing that address for years getting no response.
For a brief background, my first stick was a Hayden spoon imported by Randy Rarrick in Hawaii during late '70. Until then I had been riding, kneeling, and standing on homemade wooden paipos constructed in my back yard. A group of four of us had never heard of GG or spoons...ever. Hawaii was a very insulated place then. Very little of the outside surf world made it's way into the local grapevine....we just bought those things and then unleashed them on the standup crews. In that era, Hawaii was THE proving ground for everyone, experimental in it's own right, so we fit right in. One either survived, earning a place in the lineup, or quit. That simple. But then that's another story.
We rode these spoons everywhere on Oahu. My brother Steve, Mike McGuire, Duane Inouye, and myself were riding them in huge Country surf while the whole Fish thing was exploding on the mainland in smaller but very hollow surf. Primarily we took them out at big Laniakea up to 12'-15', as this is still the premiere wave to test any board's control over raw speed and unlimited power. Steve, Mike, and Duane killed V-Land on them. I pushed the green one into clean NW swells at Sunset up to 12'; over that size it is impossible to ride one there given the dynamics of that wave....regardless of what is told. We were the only ones doing it out there on a daily basis for years. Essentially we were alone, looking to the new short board guys such as BK, Hackman, Jock, and Michael Peterson, while grounding ourselves in the bottom line philosophy of the truely great big wave surfers like Trent, Downing, Grigg, and of course the Duke. The main constant for riding these spoons was that any size of Hawaiian surf had the power to make them work, whereas in other places, they were like riding closet doors.
I rode my spoons (x2) in big surf here in SD exclusively up till circa 1982, or rather, until crowding accentuated their disadvantages in the lineup, forcing me to acquiese to foam. Blacks used to be ideal for them until the winter of '78, after which the entire botom structure changed and it quit breaking with the long dredging walls from the road through Giants(North Peak). Even the tube changed from Pipeline round to more of an elongated almond shape like Sunset....just wasn't the same and the continual errosion turned it into a differnt kinda wave; still good in a comparitive sense but not justifiable to endure that hideous pimp down the cliff into an increasingly crowded lineup.
I did have the opportunity to ride the small one at Rincon during that macking swell of Feb that year. I tought the thing was fast but that wall let me click into that illusive fifth gear you hear about. Surf was 12-15', the WSA contest had moved there from washed out C St. I had the entire afternoon riding the Indicator through the contest zone to the seawall with a handfull of guys out before my final heat. I learned something about speed that day that until then had escaped me. Power is the inherant energy in a wave.....speed is the abitity of your stick to harness all that energy and progressively go faster and faster through manipulative control. Foam boards cannot do this as they ride the surface of a wave....not the wave itself....and can only go as fast as the surface textures and their design flaws allow them.....that's another topic also.
Spoons are designed exclusively for point surf, make no misconceptions about that....but they can be ridden well elsewhere...just not the same. The last time I rode my larger one was a 10' NW swell in 1991. Doing so pissed a lot of people off. Some of those guys still hold a grudge about that day.
Three years later I began a complete restoration of the smaller one as it went airborn on a desolate Baja road and crunched the nose badly. Took 2 years of painstaking work to bring it to showroom quality. It will never touch water again. Needless to say this process gave me more insight and tactile information about GG's laminate theories than anything yet posted on this or it's sister threads on this site, all the articles wriitten in Suffer Magazine to date, even Paul's detailed elaborations on George and the laminant process in the Suffer's Journal and elsewhere didn't justify hands on comprehension. It's more about my intuitive processing than the info everyone has shared over time.
The green one is still getting a facelift...to be ridden again. EQ is second in line.
Right now I've only ridden Terry's "Cypselurus II" twice, in waste to shoulder high beachbreak. During last year's Surfer Bowl I gave away my slot in the semi to ride this thing without a crowd. I didn't know what to expect as it was so dynamically and physically different to the hull bottoms I'd ridden for over 20 years. I almost fell of the tail coming out of the first turn as the accelleration blindsided me. Amazingly, inspite of it's bulky shape and twin keel "Fish" concepts, the thing rode and handled no differently than all the spoons I've ever ridden.
Here was a small wave, mush burger spoon that rode just like my down the line carving bullets do in bigger surf.....but are incapable of doing in marginal to average CA slop. I tried it again this year but the surf was different...wind instead of groundswell ...it didn't work at all really. My conclusion being that this spoon of Terry's still needs a ground swell to push it along. Other than that the dynamics of it being a legitimate spoon are completely in place.
*As a note his boards are constructed for his build. The kneewells he utilizes do not fit my physical structure. I was placing my knees in the gutter between the kneewell and the rail causing the outside of my shin to drag during turns. For me this is normal no matter what I ride.....but for this stick I do believe it was more drag taking away from the flex loading/unloading from that large square tail area. Still it was a very fast test run.
Overall rating 7.5 outta 10.
Pretty damned good considering the judges during that contest thought that board was faster than all the rest in the KB heats. That says something right there about design, experience, and progress. If I can hold my own in a heat full of new wave hotshots, drawing lines on a spoon, and giving them a strong run for the money on "outdated" equipment....then just think of the fresh input one could get from both experienced, and younger riders, who aren't as physically beat up as this old cat. These two groups could push themselves and the designs the way they need to be done. Two hours kickin' a spoon around and I hobble around for days afterwards....but it's still worth every agonizing crackle and pop!
Sieze the moment here and follow through with all this exciting chatter. One is never to old to learn, any more so than one is to young to know it all. There's a group of master keys in here to unlock our boring stagnation....it's up to you avid new spoon enthusiaists and the levels of commitment you are willing to make.
I don't buy into this "funding " project. It's a mainstream commercial mentality. Just go out and do it like the few dedicated guys sharing info on here. Someone starts getting paid, then there are expectations, then there are conflicts of interest, then there is creative control issue, then there is nothing but a strife ridden crapy work environment for all involved.....hell....it's a giant snowball waiting to crush everything in it's path....KneeBoarders first.......do it yurselves and bring it to the table.
Keep it pure.
The info Terry is sharing is priceless...and it's free. It's cool seeing these spoon discussions but my concern is how much of this will end up being typical cyber talk and who will physically pursue future spoon developement in like manner. Talk is cheap....do the work first....it's all been laid out for decades.....only this time you have a resident guru who is always willing to enthusiastically particpate in your research projects....and he's very accessible. Take advantage of his 40 years of hardcore dedicated pursuit. I am.
Grassroots and communication....that's my input.
Hope to hear of more people putting time in the glass works instead of the conference room.
As a note...you can ride a spoon in crowded conditons. You will get cut off. You will not get choice wave selection. You have no advantage's over today's young rippers and old tankers on modern sticks. Today's shortboarder's and wrongboarders can take off just as deep as you are....or deeper...and are good at it....unlike the old days where it was just you and 20 plus yards of feathering lip betwen you and the first shoulder huggin' chicken.
Patience is the key...but you'll need to upgrade another mm or two on your rubber suit as only your head will be above water...also invest in a good watertight hood and a pair of dive gloves. A cold induced skull ache will cut an otherwise good session short because you are unprepaired, and a frozen hand can't hang onto your stick. There are still lots of small windows of opportunity to ride a spoon. The draw back is that the learning curve is unique in and of itself. The majority of you will not be able to just hop on a spoon and begin ripping like you may be accustomed to on your foam cores. Between the adjustment learning curve and the narrow moments of opportunity, you'll be hard pressed to truely make a $1200-$1500 dollar investment worth the money spent unless you are 1000% dedicated to this vehicle and it's style of surfing.
Things to think about:
Riding a spoon in humongous closed out beachbreak is not riding a spoon.
Riding a spoon at a Pipeline type wave is not riding a spoon.
Riding a spoon is as much a mental excercise as well as a physical task of love, both need lots of room to function freely.
Consider these three thoughts before buying one.Lastly, in all seriousness....you have not rounded out your surf experience until you've ridden a spoon in good conditions.
For what it's worth