S.U.R.F Grand Finale: Who's The Best Finless Surfer In The Byron Shire? - Stab Mag

S.U.R.F Grand Finale: Who’s The Best Finless Surfer In The Byron Shire?

$10,000 is up for grabs, (don’t) spin to win.

features // Sep 8, 2021
Words by Ethan Davis
Reading Time: < 1 minutes

Fins, who needs them?

Well as it turns out, most of us. 

In 1935, a young New Jersey fellow by the name of Tom Blake blew the surfing world apart by salvaging the timber, one-foot long keel from a speedboat and attaching it to the tail of his hollow timber board. “It wasn’t entirely a likeable feeling… But I got a pretty good wave and right away found the remarkable control you had over the board with the skeg on it.” From that pivotal moment, surfing changed forever. 

Bob Simmons would later apply a second fin, Simon Anderson a third, to create the now ubiquitous thruster. Adding fins to boards opened up new possibilities. Suddenly steep, barreling waves that weren’t surfable on frictionless boards could be tackled by keeping a point of contact in a wave’s face. And at the expense of the ‘la-la’ spinny, slidey feeling, we got reliability, control, versatility. 

But some have argued that surfing learned to run before it could walk, outmoding design principles before they could be properly explored. Is the frictionless surfboard merely a nostalgic homage to the days of the Hawai’ian Olo? Or an equally viable alternative to the modern shortboard?

In the fourth and final episode of the inaugural S.U.R.F. TV show brought to you by Stab and Byron Bay Brewery, the ‘frictionless’ challenge will determine our event winner. Other than ‘the Krookster’ AKA Ari Browne, most of our surfers are unfamiliar with the art of sliding and turning off a rail’s edge. Let’s see how they fair. 


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