Stab Magazine | Ian Walsh's Experimental “Hog” Actually Works
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Ian Walsh’s Experimental “Hog” Actually Works

So phallic. 

hardware // Jan 29, 2020
Words by stab
Reading Time: 2 minutes

San Diego is part surf town, part Navy town. It’s that intertwined relationship that recently led to a collaboration between shaper Chris Christenson and Naval hydrodynamic engineer Roger Birdeck. Designing and building a Jaws gun for Ian Walsh, the end product was a carbon fiber 10’4” that looks like a cross between a distance paddle board, a stealth military weapon and a beluga whale. Ian’s dubbed it “The Hog.”

In the design process, Christenson and Birdeck reportedly made over 75 different simulations of what the nose would look like and how it would perform. The ultimate goals was to reduce drag and allow Ian to use Maui’s inherently windy conditions to his advantage.

The board landed in Ian’s quiver at the beginning of November, and last week, with clean 15- to 18-foot surf rolling through at Jaws, he got a chance to try it for the first time.

“It’s a new concept that will suck the nose down to the face of the wave if there’s any wind that’s getting underneath it,” explains Ian in a new video of the experiment.

The initial response appears to be largely positive.

“The board felt really, really responsive,” Ian testifies. “The release on the fins and bottom turning, when I got a little bit high on the waves, to be able to maneuver felt really, really good. So I think there’s definitely some stuff to take away from the backend and bottom.”

“The nose felt good. It definitely looked interesting compared to what I’m used to paddling around on,” he adds.

It’s not the first time wave-riding and military tech have joined forces. San Diegans Ryan Burch and Richard Kenvin are devoted disciples of naval architect Lindsey Lord and his hydrodynamic planning hull theories. But this is the first time where naval theories so boldly put into action at Jaws.

Big-wave guns have been in a constant state of evolution ever since the early pioneers like Pat Curren first started shaping them in the 1950s, but Ian’s “Hog” is a huge departure from conventional surfboard design. It will be interesting to see where they go from here.

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