8'3" x 19 ¼" x 2 ¾ pintail

Check the Videos section.

Available lengths:       7'4"---8'6"
Available widths:        18 ¾"----23"
Available thicknesses: 2 5/8"-----3 1/8"
Prices:  7'4"----7'9" AUD$1000
            7'10"---8'6" AUD$1100
All gun prices include a ¼" width veneer           
stringer and 6oz glass for additional strength.
Color and shipping extra             

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Gun

These boards are built for large powerful waves.  They are designed to paddle you in early so that you can avoid late takeoffs and set yourself up with plenty of speed to maximize your chances of making the wave.  A single concave in the bottom enables the board to be ridden high in the wave resulting in maximum speed.  In addition, a soft Vee under the back foot combined with subtle rocker (bottom curve) allow quick directional changes when necessary.

Check out the Videos section to see these boards in action.

Gun design theory and background

GUN


A Gun is a specialized surfboard designed for big waves…….say in the 10'--15' or triple overhead plus range. I'm thinking here of waves I've surfed in Mexico as big as a telegraph pole….or at Sunset in Hawaii or in Indonesia or at big Narrabeen.  Depending on location, big waves are usually faster moving, more powerful and more hollow than smaller waves. Big waves could accurately be termed waves of consequence since the effects of any mistakes made whilst surfing them are significantly magnified when compared with those occurring in smaller waves. Particularly when reef breaks are involved, failure to successfully negotiate large waves can result in very serious injury. 

It follows then that surfboards designed for large surf must successfully address the issues of wave size, power and shape. If this is done correctly, the surfer will be able to confidently deal with whatever comes his/her way. 

Wave size.
Large waves have typically traveled from storm centers a long way away and are faster moving as they approach the break than smaller waves.  Therefore a Gun needs to paddle very efficiently to allow early entry into the wave, and to be of a length proportionate to wave size.  Volume and length are the main variables of interest here.

Wave power.
Large waves naturally have more power than small waves.  Therefore a Gun ridden in large surf will be propelled much faster than a surfboard being surfed in small waves.  Consequently the board needs to contain design attributes to allow the surfer to maintain control at high speeds.  The primary variable of concern here is rocker(bottom curve).

Wave shape.
For a number of reasons large waves are usually steeper and more hollow than smaller waves.  Again the Gun needs to be able to accommodate these conditions and ensure that the surfer has adequate control.   Primarily this entails narrower planshape dimensions and appropriate adjustments to rocker.

DESIGN BACKGROUND

Planshape/Outline
As you can see in the photo, our Guns have a continuous free flowing curve through the outline with no straight sections or hips at all.  The effect of this outline is to allow smooth and predictable transitions between turns….for example between coming off the bottom and laying the board over on the rail for the first turn.  The nose area is pulled in, but still retains sufficient area to enable the surfer to move forward on the board if desired to draw out a longer turn….thus having multiple sweet spots.  Boards which are too narrow or too thin in the nose can only be surfed off the tail because they cannot support the surfer's weight when forward and are therefore restricted in their length of turn.   Also obvious is the narrow pintail whereby the tail area is significantly reduced in comparison with the Semi-Gun or smaller wave boards.  Reduced tail area is critical in large waves since it allows the tail to be buried during turns at high speed, rather than sitting up on top of the water and spinning out or "chattering"on the wave surface. The narrow tail actually bites into the wave face and is held in place and thus helps to hold the line through each turn. Tail shapes in our Guns are invariably pintails……there is no good theoretical reason for using small squares or swallows. 
Gu Profile
Rocker.
Outline and rocker are the two most important determinants of surfboard performance. 
You can see from the picture here that there is quite significant rocker in the Gun.   
This is in stark contrast to our low rocker small wave boards such as the F-SKATE and Powerglide.   As wave power increases, so should rocker.  Why?  The less rocker a board has (the more wetted planing area) the more drive it will have and the faster it will go…..but it will also be relatively stiff and hard to turn.  In small waves we use low rocker to compensate for lack of wave power.  In big waves with abundant power…..a board with low rocker would be really fast but almost impossible to turn and control.  Therefore we use more rocker in Guns to enable the surfer to turn and position the board.   In essence, the heavier use of rocker allows the board to be slowed down from the tremendous speeds which are generated by providing the surfer with a smaller amount of available wetted planing area.  
Whilst there is gradual rocker throughout the bottom……there is a relatively straight section located somewhat behind the halfway point.   This is the engine room so to speak and can be used to increase speed when necessary by weighting slightly forwards.  Because of the steeper character of most big waves….extra rocker is also required to facilitate late takeoffs when they occur.  Additional tail lift enables the tail to fit into the steeper part of the wave curve on takeoff……and allows the nose to rise simultaneously so as to minimize the chances of nose diving.     

Bottom shape.
After many years of surfing and designing I have developed a bottom shape which produces predictable and confidence building results.  A very slight roll in the nose area ensures that there will be no rail catching up front during full rail turns.   This roll graduates into a flat area and then into a fairly shallow single concave under the chest area.  Concaves promote speed by allowing the formation of an air pocket between the board and the wave and thus reducing friction.  Concaves also have the effect of gradually drawing the board up the wave face.  This ability to be drawn up the face in a controlled manner allows the surfer to ride high in the wave……which is the fastest part of the wave, and to generate tremendous speed runs which have obvious benefits.  The concave then gradually flattens out and is replaced with a soft Vee under the backfoot area.   The Vee facilitates rail to rail turns at speed.   So overall we have a very fast bottom shape which still allows for control and direction changes.

Thickness/Length/Rails/Fins and things.
As you can see in the foil picture, the Gun has the majority of its volume under the chest, and thins out significantly in the nose and tail. The tail in particular needs to be relatively thin to allow it to be buried in turns rather than to ride up on top of the water. Its perhaps obvious but nonetheless very important that you can paddle in early in big waves.  There is nothing worse than not being able to get into the wave in time and going over the falls or being forced to take off late.  By contrast, early entry allows you to set yourself up for what's ahead and creates tremendous confidence.  The exact thickness of each board depends on many variables which I take into account with each person.   

Likewise with length……the board needs to be long enough to have sufficient waterline and glide but not be too long and hence difficult to control and duckdive. Actual length therefore depends on variables such as where the board will mostly be ridden/whether the surfer has other boards which may overlap/level of experience and body weight.

Rails are low soft in the nose area blending into a slightly harder rail through the center and then very hard in the last quarter of the board for drive and bite.  The bottom edge of the rail through the center needs to be fairly neutral or else catching will occur in choppy conditions.  The rail foil.....the thickness of the rails themselves is also very important.  Too much thickness and the board will feel "boaty" and will lack response/too thin and the board will catch through turns and will feel unstable. Complicated huh?   
Fin positioning is crucial.  Too far forward and the board will lack drive/too far back and it will feel too stiff and will be very hard to control at high speed.

When building Guns we always use blanks with a ¼" wide veneer center stringer. Similarly with the glassing we use predominantly 6oz glass top and bottom.  These extra precautions reduce the probability that the board will break under the tremendous pressures exerted by big waves.
It's obvious then that a successful Gun contains a marriage of many subtle variables. When these are combined appropriately by an experienced shaper the surfer will feel more confident in larger waves and will look forward to testing his/her limits.

Happy surfing
Grant Miller.