It would be disappointing if us shapers/designers gave up on trying to make every board go better. Of course, some boards have hit the zenith point, and need no updating. Especially historically important designs like the Bluebird, Black Beauty and Lopez Pinliner to name a few.
There are so many influences that affect us, what board we are riding and how well we surf it; fashion, flat spells, big swells and crowded stressful sessions. A board that went well in some conditions doesn’t perform so well in others and really gets you scratching the melon wondering, can I improve this thing or has it reached its full potential? What if I added or subtracted foam/fins? Definitely not life-altering problems, but stuff that keeps a curious-minded shaper up at night.
So is the path of our latest user-friendly asym - the Poached. Asymmetric shapes have had many spikes on the Mctavish flow chart over the years. For us beginning in the early 70s Dad at Lennox and 80s windsurfers. In 2010, Burch put a rocket into both Dad and me, which made us have another look. We made a few, got a bit of buzz then it kind of faded. But in the last few years, the purpose-built asym is finding some normal ground in the lineup. We are all realising it’s not about going left or right, it’s about heels and toes - the biomechanics of our body once we are standing horizontal to the stringer. Even though we are naturally attracted to symmetry, it makes sense to build a board around the strengths and weaknesses of our stance.
We found that shrinking the Poached a few inches, straightening the toe rail and shortening the heel rail naturally positioned the heel in a more comfortable and controllable spot to drive off the two fins, for both front side wraps and backside bottom turns. Meanwhile, the straighter toe side rail with its longer edge and longer double concave really complement the bent knees and toes for forehand sensitivity and speed.
There is a certain feeling and function that this board has that is so hard to capture on film or express through words without feeling it for yourself. Addictive speed on tap. Insane trim through flats. Smooth wrinkle-free turns, cushioned, but still razor sharp in the pocket. There I tried, but better to ride one for yourself!
- Ben Mctavish