"Easy paddling - nose rider or hotdogger"
This article describes a design which was several years in the making....the POWERGLIDE. Although it
has multiple applications which traverse the boundaries between shortboards,Minimals and Malibus----I
don’t want to call it a Hybrid. That term has become meaningless---and instead has become largely a
marketing ploy. Its fashionable, indeed profitable these days for some ‘shapers’ to simply round off the
nose,make a board a bit wider---maybe cut in a swallow----without contributing or integrating anything
original----and then to somehow conclude that their ‘new creation’ is a ‘hybrid’, or a ‘fish’, and therefore
something of value. It isn’t.
The POWERGLIDE is an integrated surfboard---yet its like having 2 boards in 1. A typical thruster
POWERGLIDE for eg. of say 7’0" x 22 1/8" x 2 3/4"--2 7/8" (pictured) paddles like an 8’6" Malibu,
noserides like an 8’6"---but is almost as loose to throw around as a 6’6". It paddles like a Mal and surfs
like a shortboard. Sounds like bullshit doesn’t it? Well, lets see.
The POWERGLIDE has noticeable similarities to our Waterskate design.
ie. Low rocker,even thickness distribution--- with a full and continuous outline curve.
However, its a significant extension of the Waterskate---particularly with regard to its unique stepped
concave nose feature and far greater overall volume.
In addition,whereas the Waterskate has been most strongly received by surfers in their 30’s and 40’s---
our intention with the POWERGLIDE was to design a board suitable for an even greater range of surfers
ie. 20’s ---55yrs + Why? All sorts of reasons:
So how does the POWERGLIDE achieve such diverse objectives?
- To provide a legitimate funboard for younger surfers to use in smaller/junky surf.
- As an alternative shorter board for those on Minimals and Malibus who have grown impatient with
their unavoidable restrictions--but who still want to be able to paddle easily,trim and nose ride.
- As an all round board for experienced surfers who, because of family commitments/career etc---
just can’t get in the water as often anymore. This group particularly--- have often lost fitness, or may
be recovering from injury---and need serious paddling power---but once up and riding have the ability
to carve decent turns.
- As an excellent beginners board (with modifications) providing outstanding paddling, stability and ease of turning.
The guts of this design are in the planshape(outline),rocker (bottom curve),stepped nose concave,thickness
distribution and their relationship to one another.
As you can see the POWERGLIDE has a lot of nose area---actually as much as a Malibu of between 8’--- 9’.
Its also quite wide at 22"+ and has continuous outline curve. This combined area contributes to stability,
ease of paddling and noseriding. The pronounced outline curve in the tail allows for very short arcs if
required, and yet because of the nose area---the board can also be surfed from further forward for longer
turns around faster sections.
Bottom curve is super flat: so that the amount of actual wetted area on a 7’0" POWERGLIDE is similar
to that of an 8’6" Malibu----this makes for fast and easy paddling with significant momentum over dead
spots in the wave. Such rocker in isolation would create a very stiff board. However,when combined
with the outline curve,late pronounced tail rocker and unique fin positions-----looseness is maintained.
Stepped nose concave/Bottom shape:
Here we have a nose concave like no other available----an integral part of the whole design. Rather than
blending gradually into the bottom---the concave’s perimeter is deliberately abrupt with a tangible lip.
Why? When forward trimming-- downward pressure on the nose from the surfers weight brings this
lip into direct water contact. The resulting turbulence creates strong uplift---compensating for their
weight and allowing for noseriding (10 over if you’re having an on day)...even on a 7’0’ board. The
unique look of this concave is one thing--- but feeling is believing.
Following on from the concave lip is a shallow full width concave----promoting speed----fading into a
decent backfoot Spiral Vee for easy rail to rail turns.
Thickness,rails,fins and things:
To ensure stability and superior flotation---thickness distribution is fairly constant. Rails are medium soft
through centre with a more blocky profile and harder edges in the tail area for support and drive in small
waves. Fin sizes and positioning are crucial,and have been determined after lengthy trial and error.
These boards are a lot of fun---quite complex design wise-- translating into easy paddling, high drive
and turning possibilities with multiple sweet spots. They can be surfed forward for longer turns----
or off the tail for tighter arcs. A noserider come hotdogger, to surf in waves from 1’--- 6’.
I’m shaping them in lengths of 6'0"--- 8'0" for a wide range of surfers: From the Avalon Northern
Alliance come "Lofty" and "Wato", early 40’s--decent surfers and super hard to please---both totally rapt.
From Narrabeen---our elder statesman--Dennis White, 62 (beat Nat once or twice in the 60’s)--
hanging 10---gliding---with the occasional gougeing cutback----and catching way too many waves.
Today---more than ever,mature surfers are demanding functional surfboards. They should be encouraged
with individual equipment,not hindered with the gimmicks and bullshit presented by chainstore salesmen
motivated by commissions--or by shapers chasing a quick dollar. Compare boards,ask questions,
demand intelligent answers-----trust your intuition.
The POWERGLIDE provides more choice---based on sound design theory, and conceived as it is to
allow for a variety of surfing approaches which transcend age.
Happy exploration ............ Grant Miller