Today Gary Clist from Noosa rocked in with a real surprise: A board I shaped at Hayden's factory at Alexandra Heads in 1964 - but that's not all. This board was 4’9” long, about 22” wide, and solid foam with a 1” thick balsa stringer. A copy of Greenough's kneeboard of that year, the first time he visited Australia.
The first time Algy Grud the sander, Russell Hughes the gloss-coater, and I the shaper, saw George surf we flipped our lids. What he was doing on his knees we wanted to do standing up. So I immediately attacked that blank, glassed it in typical "smoke-it-out" Bob fashion with two layers of free-lapped 8 oz volan and isophthalic resin, and stuck a copy of George's fin template on it, but made out of Hayden's standard chopped-strand mat. Russell and I attempted to surf it.
Remember, everyone was riding nine-foot-plus till 1967. This tiny board was so small and heavy, with George's deep hull front end. We rode it at Alex shore break, and found it very challenging, discouraging actually. Couldn't find the speed - wobbly in weak situations. I can't recall surfing it again after that first try-out. The board went into the dusty archives at Hayden's, but we immediately borrowed the fin design, laid up the first fibreglass cloth panel, and it went viral and took over the planet!
If only we'd persevered with it. We may have started the Shortboard Revolution three years early. Interesting hey?