Surfboard Design History

Improved Essays
Surfboard design has always been a very personal thing. Shapers tend to be surfers themselves, and board design is as much an engineering feat as it is a love for surfing. Professional surfers work closely with shapers, as each surfer rides waves differently, and they know better than anyone how their surfboard needs to perform. Surfboards have evolved as surfers tackled new ‘liquid terrain’.

Ancient Hawaiian surfboards
In the early days of surfing in ancient Hawaii. Surfing was a deeply spiritual affair, from the art of riding waves itself, to praying for good surf, to rituals surrounding building a surfboard. Surfing was not only a recreational activity, it was also a training exercise for Hawaiian chiefs and a means of conflict resolution.
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Many new materials had become available through advances in technology during the war. Fibreglass was the most significant of these, also there was plastics and styrofoam. The first fibreglass board was built by a man named Pete Peterson in 1946, this surfboard was a hollow plastic mould, with a redwood stringer (a piece of wood running down the centre of the surfboard) and sealed with fibreglass tape.
Other pioneering modern surfboard shapers of this era were Joe Quigg and Matt Kivlin. Around this time a very significant man in surf history called Bob Simmons was building balsa wood surfboards and travelling up and down the Californian coast to surf and sell his boards. It wasn't until 1949 when Simmons first fully made use of the fibreglass technology. His first attempt was a surfboard called the 'sandwich'. This board had a styrofoam core, encased in a thin layer of plywood, with balsa wood rails and was coated in fibreglass.

Commercial
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Velzy was a well liked character in California, a talented surfer and a skilled shaper. He opened up his own surf shop and designed and built surfboards. He took all the shaping knowledge from innovators such as Quigg, Kivlin and Simmons and improved on it, creating the 'pig board' and later the 'sausage board'. Velzy's surfboards were in great demand, and so he took on a local surfer named Hap Jacobs (another big name in surf history) and taught him to shape. Balsa wood boards were still around for awhile while experimentations with foam continued. The development of polyurethane foam in surfboards came about in around the 1950's. Surfboards were still between 9 and 11 foot long in the

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