Alex Knost And Jack Lynch Introduce ‘Brown Microwave Television’
With an extended demonstration that their boards do function as advertised. (Warning: Longboarding and slo mo within!)
Stab has always held a flame for Alex Knost.
His distinctive fingerprints are visible on mellow waves across the globe, present in the lines, hair cuts and choice of craft of many leggy-free groovers of today.
We use the term Culture Shifter for those like him.
He’s a polarising guy, unaffected by opposition, continuing to forge his own colourful path whether it be in the water, in the bay, making art or writing music for his band, Tomorrow’s Tulips.
In case you weren’t aware, Brown Microwave Television is the name of his board shaping enterprise. He and Aussie pal, Jack Lynch have been silently crafting boards to suit their needs (and those on a similar wave-length) for years now.
They’re not just shaping logs either. Take a look at their site and you’ll find a mixed bag of interesting specimens, of all shapes and sizes.
BMT isn’t huge on marketing and constantly chasing feed real estate, which is respectable – time in the sun bears no correlation with a functional product. The pair have however put together the above with the intent of entertainment and education.
Nobody’s doing feature films anyore, Instagram killed them – but why would that stop Alex? Just like vinyl and cassette, there will always be a market.
The 40 odd minutes document a trip through Baja. Kind of what life is really like on the road (slow at times), Also what life is like when you don’t believe in leg ropes (you swim a lot and visit the inside plenty).
As expected it’s a lesson in unrestrained flow and pointbreak interpretive dance from both Al and Jack in real world Baja conditions.
Along with a heads up about the impending launch of ‘Long Commercial’ shot and spliced by Jimmy Jazz, Al and Jack agreed to answering a handful of questions we threw together and any chance we get to engage in dialogue with Mr Knost is an opportunity worth taking.
Firstly, how did BMT come to be and where’s it at right now?
Alex: At 14 I got a job at Robert August Surfboards, working specifically for Mark Martinson who was a hi-production shaper and hot shit surfer since the late 60’s.
At that time in a “pre computer shaped era” there was a process for high production style manufacturing called profiling. Profiling consisted of rocker templates, a router and a jig.
I would “skim” the top and bottom according to these templates and give the blank a stock rocker in relation to each model, the “skimmed blanks” were then handed to Mark where he could shape the board. This eliminated precious hours otherwise wasted on work others could do.
Ten years later I moved into a home where the backyard was lined in early 60’s era ten foot longboards, an entire fence surrounding the backyard was lined with ageing classics.
I ambitiously tried to unscrew all of the relics to ride, one by one they fell apart as I removed them from the fence, leaving roughly 30 almost glassless shapes, most half rotten.
I dragged them one by one into a borrowed shaping bay where performed salvage operations attempted in a similar fashion those did in the late 60’s in attempt to recycle, reform and experiment with shorter equipment. The end results varied between formative design and a 3rd world botched nose jobs.
From there everything extended.
Jack: Last year Alex and I spent most of summer in the States refining the boards Alex had been shaping for a while already, to develop the core models that we have now – the Disco, the Needle and the Cruizer – the three models we know cover all the bases.
Once we had perfected the boards, we travelled along the Baja peninsular with our girlfriends and Jimmy Jazz, spending time exploring the coast, and testing the models we had spent those last months working on.
The results of that time was the BMT film ‘Long Commercial’, and the launch of BMT in Australia late last year.
Since then we have been working on developing new models to compliment our existing range, and letting the brand grow naturally in Australia.
Tell us a bit about the key shapes you’ve got and some deets around them.
Alex: The shapes are a combination of designs I’ve ridden that actually worked and fill holes in the marketplace.
There are plenty of shiny resin lure “retro boards” out there that don’t work and are made by poor surfers with keen business sense and on the other hand amazing surfer/shapers struggling to prove their worth (usually overshadowed by the aforementioned) who rip them off.
I try to only exist in a marketplace to A, offset the cost of my personal boards and those we gift to hot surfers who we think the shapes will help, and B, create products other people don’t provide better than we can
Jack: At the moment we offer three core models in our range, and this year we will be introducing some alternative models as the year progresses.
The three models are basically what Alex has been riding over the last 8 or so years: A longboard model, a disc model and a 70’s single fin.
All boards come standard with our signature tint and glassed in volan.
We aren’t trying to satisfy with resin swirls and tints, the colours and shapes come from exactly what Al and I enjoy riding and the look that we like.
Al, you got any favourites? What are you digging?
Alex: The smaller longboards (8’10-9’4) with pocket surfing in mind, not just nose riding but rail engagement, speed, and a less awkwardly cumbersome boat.
There’s less cosmetic emphasis on the BMT’s, meaning not a lot of bells and whistles.
That goes for the 70’s style pintails as well, most consider for big Hawaii, although given added tail rocker and some imagination they work fine in 2-10 ft surf where you can utilise every inch of the board moving around the thing.
Any thoughts on the current state of shaping (both hi-fi and otherwise)? Is it in a good place? Are people more open-minded nowadays? More interested in trying new things and having an eclectic quiver? Where is it heading?
Alex: Growing crowds, poor surf forecasts, and open minds amongst the world’s best are redefining performance surfing.
The term performance they use in longboarding is out of context, hi-fi in shortboarding is subjective.
Eclecticism is a provocative term used in journalism, especially when speaking to someone like myself privately, but then professed publicly. Everyone’s guilty, everyone’s trying.
What are the key things you guys want to achieve in the next 12 months with BMT?
Alex: Making boards, selling some, riding some, making them better, t-shirt graphics.
Jack: We want BMT to grow organically through the year, we believe in the products we offer and these are the boards that Alex and I both ride everyday.
Also looking to start dropping some t shirts over the next couple of months, limited runs of graphics that come straight from alex or I. And I guess the main thing will be to surf the boards as much as possible in hopefully mostly pumping waves!
Wave pools (sorry!), how do you feel about them? Will they affect the shaping landscape in any way?
Alex I think the pools greatest contribution will be with design.
Bottom contours are often theoretical in sense the can’t be applied with out typical variables that occur in the ocean being eliminated.
I rode a bonzer that Malcolm made for me, the theory of his design I felt being applied immediately. To me the synthetic element of the pool falls somewhere between public skatepark simulating guerrilla street obstacles, pool parties, and Boeing aerodynamic facilities.
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