Stab Magazine | Watch: Designing Boards To Do One Thing

Watch: Designing Boards To Do One Thing

Misfit’s foam innovator, Dave Howell on getting Jake Vincent high in Waco.

hardware // Sep 21, 2018
Words by Rick Snowden
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Everyone wants their surfboards to paddle easy, turn on a dime, drive down the line, motor over a flat section, release on demand and pop when the opportunity arises.

Very few are designed specifically to leap out of a shoulder-high, blue-green Texan bowl.

With the addition of the Sunshine Coast’s Jake Vincent to Stab High, we thought an exploration into wave pool (or more specifically, aerial-orientated, wave pool-comp) board design could be an enlightening investigation.

Dave Howell is the man behind Misfit’s foam range. He’s 42 years-old, with a cool 18 years of experience behind him, crafting for the likes of Lost and Webber, along with an uncountable quantity of progressive, and sometimes strange, silhouettes for Misfit Shapes.

After receiving the good word that young Jake had his name on the Waco bill, he rubbed his dusty mitts together and came up with a one trick pony quiver. Four boards made simply to go fast and high – in his words, “for a good time, not a long time.”

We dialled him up, not long after Misfit artist, Rad dan had decorated his creations with enough vulgarities to catch the eye of the poolside spectators.

“I’ve been working with Otis Carey for quite a while now and he always loved to be in the air, so I’m very fortunate to be working with him, designing boards to just get a heap of speed and takeoff,” he beamed over the line.

“Now Jakey is coming up and he loves to get air but he also just loves to have fun on a wave. He does different things, like riding a surfboards backwards, upside down and that kind of thing.

Stab Vinny Boards .00 00 28 10.Still002

A tail fit for a Texan air show.

“It’s nice to work with surfers who like to think outside the box. It pushes me as a designer by having surfers come to me and say ‘I wanna do this!’ or ‘can we do this?’ or ‘how do we make it faster?’ and really challenges me as a designer.”

Dave also spilled the beans on his obsession with the opportunities that wave pools present for surf design.

“I’d love to be at the forefront of wave pools, ‘cos I’ve got some crazy ideas that I really reckon would work in the pool.

“I’ve been watching them on Instagram – it’s really exciting. I would’ve loved to have gone over there, it would be so good to be with Jakey and see it and experience it, potentially even jump on a wave to understand it a bit more.

Stab Vinny Boards insti.00 00 12 23.Still002

Mr Howell in his happy place.

“You can watch someone do something online or whatever, but being there and watching it, smelling it, tasting it, feeling it. Like with this wave, there’s a trough in it, where as Kelly’s doesn’t have one.

So, what’d he actually put together for Jake to make a statement in Waco this weekend?

“Jake loves one of our models called the Diamond Dancer 2, he’s very comfortable on it.

Stab Vinny Boards insti.00 00 51 20.Still004

Think JV’s excited?

“I’ve got some crazy ideas for wave pools, but because it’s a competition I don’t want to put something crazy under his feet and him not have surfed it before. I wanted to work with something that he’s comfortable with first and foremost. 

“We’ve used EPS in a couple of different ways. One has EPS with a stringer in it, the other is one that we’ve just run a bit of R&D on, which is using an EPS core but with a high density stringer and laminating with a bit stronger cloth and a bit of innegra.

“I was looking to create plenty of pop, something that would shoot him into space basically. It’s got a lot of spring, a lot of windup in it. We just had it glassed and it weighed two kilos fully glassed. It’s a 28L board that weighs two kilos, it’s crazy. 

“This board will be for a good time not a long time [laughs], I hope it is for a long time, but it’s been designed for this event only and if it lasts after that then I’ll be stoked. 

“He mainly likes PU, but is just getting into epoxy, but being a wavepool and being freshwater, having an EPS is going to have this little bit more buoyancy compared to what the ocean gives you because of the salt.

Stab Vinny Boards insti.00 00 05 17.Still001

Three mad minds come together for one event.

3 x Diamond Dancer 2 
5’9 – 19 – 2 3/8 = 28.5lt

1 x Suspended Particle
5’11 – 19 3/8 – 2 5/16 = 29lt

“I didn’t want to do a bunch of PUs and have them not sit on top of the water.

“I’ve changed the dimensions of the shape he likes slightly because you’re not judging on turns, adjusted a few things with fin dimensions, to get more drive basically.

“The Diamond Dancer 2 has a quad channel so it’s super fast, sits above the water and slides a little already, so I just changed a few things with fin dimensions mainly.

“They’re only subtle adjustments though, he surfs really comfortably already on that shape so I don’t want him to feel different. 

“I just want him basically to get up and take off, just let loose. Hopefully slingshot into the atmosphere.”


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