Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Mods and Rockers

'We do have one with handles cut into the rails and a slight bottom concave in the tail.
Some of the Oxenden boards from 1920s Jersey were hand carved like traditional Hawaiian...' That's really interesting Pete, would love to see some of those details, would you be able to share any images?
What are the origins of the boards with the bottom tail concave and what kind of timber are they made from?

Andy Bick's Paipo boards are really a good example of timber shaped prone surfing vehicles, he also seems to be a lovely chap which is most encouraging. I will be visiting Andy for tea and timber talk quite soon and will provide you all with an in depth report. His site can be accessed at

Mods and Rockers:
The ply bellyboards that we might normally encounter on the beach have quite a steep rocker in the nose.
I have been riding boards both with and without this rocker and have found the flatter boards much faster. The flatter boards also seem to be thinner and more flexible (especially the non ply variety) and I feel it's the flex that really makes riding them so much more dynamic. Its possible to create a negative rocker when stuck at the top of a wave which will assist in making the initial stages of the drop down the face. I would love to hear about your own experiences of the various rockers and stiffness of timber available to ride.
What is your opinion on the rocker debate?
Could there be a perfect rocker curve for the British seaside?


peter.robinson said...

A certain Mr Isaac recently came and photographed some The Surfing Museum's wooden surfboards - I think an image is somewhere on this site of a group shot. Not sure what else he has pics of. The board with handles appears to be from the 1930s and has some sort of connection with South Africa (although surfaced here in England).

Brooky said...

There's an interesting article in the July/August issue of Surfers Path. It's a 'Riding Wood' special issue & has interviews with several wooden surfcraft specialists. Some nice alaia photos. Surfers Path call the alaia "the fastest planing surfboard ever conceived". There's also an excellent description of how these finless wonders work in stand-up mode; "....driving out on the shoulder at maximum speed, then hitting the brakes by putting the alaia up on its delicately thin rail, while his forward momentum bowed the board into a kind of temporary flexing rocker from the weight & force on the sensitive deck, thus helping to bring the board around, following that rocker line". This seems to say that the alaia is made to turn by inducing negative rocker, so that it takes on the shape of a snowboard at rest, and turns by digging front and rear corners of the rail into the wave. Does that sound right?

Brooky said...

No, it doesn't sound right, thinking a bit harder about it. It means that as the board is tipped onto a rail, the riders weight toward the centre of the board forces it to develop positive rocker and it follows this rocker line to execute the turn.
So how do we induce this when lying prone on the board?

bellyboarduk said...

The way I see it you can pull turns two ways on your alaia in a prone position.
1) you used your fins, to force the turn like a rudder on a boat.
2) you flex the board into the turn, which allows the board to follow the rocker you create into the turn.

I have managed to pull these flex turns by pulling up the front portion of the opposite rail to the direction that I want to turn, it seems to work pretty well, but the board does not follow the turn through in a traditional finned board manner. The board actually stalls in the turn and then you need to realign the board (this can be done by pressing all your weight to the inside rail) to the direction of the wave so that you can pick up the energy from the pocket and continue on your way. Does this make sense?

Eef said...

i ride mine flat: no rocker at all. A little flex is helpfull by the take off :D


bellyboarduk said...

Yes I think that flex might even be more relevant than rocker. Flex, certainly makes the boards much more responsive, both in therms of catching waves and whilst up and riding. I have found that it is possible to create a negative rocker to assist take off, it seems to work rather well.