Like I've said before, getting it right is the never ending challenge of building surfboards. With so many factors, and the complexity of them interacting with each other, all having an effect on the final design of the board, it's an extremely complicated process that can take years to get right sometimes. Sometimes, I get really lucky and the very first build of a new idea is killer.
My 7'0" FLV Hit the Road is a great example of that. Built in April last year, it was the first 7'0" to get the FLV bottom contour and from the very first wave, the board felt fantastic, swooping and gliding all over the face so effortlessly. Towards the end of the surf, I pulled a hook under the lip that gave me the first glimpse of how much faster the FLV could be through critical turns. Since then I have surfed the board numerous times and still, a year later, I feel no need to change anything about it.
My 7'3" FLV Hit the Road was a slightly different journey. It was actually the very first board I had built with the FLV and the first surf was a desperate last minute session trying to get a couple of waves before dark to get a feel what the FLV was going to do. But my timing was off and I was missing every wave that came thru as the sun dropped below the horizon. Finally, right as it was getting too dark to see anything, I managed a last minute scramble into what looked like a decent wave. But as I leaned into my bottom turn and looked down the line, I could see it was a closeout. I almost screamed in frustration, as this was the very first FLV board and I really wanted to know what the FLV felt like. With every ounce of pent up frustration, I launched off the bottom and straight up onto the closing out face, regardless of the lip coming down the other way. The board responded by laying over on its rail and taking off with this smooth high speed acceleration. And it was was enough to let me know that I was onto something.
But unlike the FLV 7'0", and even though the FLV 7'3" was surfing so much better than previous versions concave versions, I could feel that it still wasn't exactly where I wanted it to be. It took about a year of building various versions, with each board a steady improvement over the previous one, before I got it to where I wanted it to be. Funny thing was, the final version actually ended up surprising me with a level of speed and response that was way beyond what I'd been chasing.
My 6'6" Indo Rocket however, was a whole different story. Some of the first attempts really did feel like I was going backwards. It took a whole year of building version after version before I felt like I was even starting to make any progress at all. Fortunately, I can be very stubborn at times. And so, through much perseverance and the building of many versions, I finally reached a point where the latest FLV versions were finally outperforming the previous concave versions. But boy, did it take some work!
And so, the ongoing journey of building surfboards continues. Taking an idea and trying to make it work. Sometimes it easy and then sometimes it's a hell of a lot of work....
But at the end of the day, it all adds up to one thing....
Constantly improving boards that make surfing, more exciting, more fun and ultimately... easier!