New Surfboard Design Set to Revolutionize Wave Riding

From Santa Fe Institute Events Wiki

The Australian International Design Awards is recognized as Australia’s peak design endorsement scheme and maintains one of the most rigorous product assessment processes in the world. It is the longest standing design awards program and it is thought very highly of in intellectual design circles. The list of judges is extensive and impressive. It shows that an impartial group looked at the Seaglass Tuna and thought, “This is really a significant break through in surfing!”

I share this award with Global Surf Industries. We worked together to take the Tuna from the basic sketch of a surfboard to a world wide phenomenon. It is very inspirational and productive to be in team that can put this all together. I am working in my shed and doing R&D (surfing) while the GSI team is putting the boards into production, marketing, distributing and taking care of the business end.

We worked from November 2009 to March 2010 on prototype after prototype. Progress was slow and I was actually having a hard time riding the boards. The young guys were good, but for a board to go main stream I have to be able to enjoy it immensely. On my 45th birthday, March 5 2010, I pulled a sweet bottom turn and came off the lip on an EPS Tuna and I felt we were on the right track.

After 27 different shapes, I set to shaping the final master copies for GSI. It took days to shape them knowing that these were the molds for the boards and the type of surfing that was to follow.

Even after the copies of the boards came back from GSI, there was still a lot of testing and fine tuning of the shapes, in conjunction with the big board manufacturer, to get the whole system working.

In September 2010, Global Surf Industries launched The Seaglass Project and threw the doors open to the world. Many surf shops jumped on board seeing this as an exciting and sunny moment in a dark world economy. Aside from the tuned in surfers familiar with ancient Hawaiian surfing from the alaia, the public was a little slow to put their dollars down on an extremely unusual surfboard design.

To put things into perspective, six years ago, riding a finless surfboard was essentially unheard of. When I started reproducing thin wood alaias based on ancient Hawaiian design, most people did not even see a “surfboard”. Taking the fins off a surfboard was like telling you to go out and jack your car up, take the wheels off, lower it to the ground and it will drive better!

The 2011 Australian International Design Award will help the public see that this is not only a great design but a practical surfboard. For me, I can ride any surfboard in the world. I can make any board in my factory and the Seaglass Tuna is what I surf most often. I see the young kids ripping on them and carving the wave in ways inconceivable on a finned board.