WEIRD

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Space junk ahoy! Six shapers and a bunch of boards mad enough they might just work. Sam Lamiroy guides us through part one of Nixon's Weird.

Nixon’s ‘the Weird’ event has been run­ning glob­ally for a few years now, and built up quite a fol­low­ing. The ba­sic premise is to get some great surfers to­gether and present them with a hand­ful of su­per weird boards – and let them bat­tle it out in a peer judged surf comp – where the win­ner takes all – and walks away with a fist­ful of cash!

The most re­cent it­er­a­tion ran this win­ter on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii. All the boards were hand shaped by the leg­endary John Pyzel – who cer­tainly took the weird board con­cept to a whole new level. Josh Kerr ended up win­ning the event – but re­ally ev­ery­one was a win­ner – as the main fo­cus is al­ways on the fun side of pro­ceed­ings!

The UK edi­tion of the event re­ally mixed things up a bit to also shin­ing a light on the skill and crafts­man­ship that goes into cre­at­ing th­ese mind-bend­ing dream sleds by part­ner­ing up with six of the most in­no­va­tive shapers in the UK.

Gath­ered to­gether at the new ‘Wal­ters Surf’ in St.agnes – a place where the pub­lic can come and try their hand at shap­ing their own board - they were asked them to get re­ally cre­ative with their own ‘weird’ craft. The chal­lenge was to shape one of the six cat­e­gories of board on of­fer from asym­met­ri­cal to sin­gle fins. The board they each had to shape was drawn out of a hat at ran­dom and they had just two hours with only their tools, skill and imag­i­na­tion to guide the way.

Once the boards have been shaped and glassed, in a few weeks time – a stel­lar crew of surfers will as­sem­ble at a se­cret beach lo­ca­tion in the South West of Eng­land to try to fig­ure out how to surf th­ese six new cre­ations and do bat­tle for the £1000 cash prize. To see what hap­pens there you’ll just have to stay tuned!

What did you think of the event, the con­cept and the vibe on the day?

I didn't know what to ex­pect, but the at­mos­phere was re­ally re­laxed and ex­cit­ing at the same time. The con­cept was su­per cool too. I got to watch a bunch of shapers do­ing their thing that I wouldn’t nor­mally get to see. One thing that stood out was the six dif­fer­ent ap­proaches to shap­ing. We all had our own style and I think that was con­veyed in the end shapes. Lee Bartlett

The at­mos­phere was full of an­tic­i­pa­tion, ex­cite­ment and there was a hint of fear! The pres­sure of shap­ing un­der the full glare of the pub­lic was OK once stuck in to the chal­lenge. It was also great to hear the groan­ing sounds of plan­ers in a surf­board fac­tory again, a sen­ti­ment echoed by some of the older guys who popped in. Chris Har­ris

Such a great con­cept. To put lo­cal shapers in the lime­light has al­lowed peo­ple to see first hand the pure tal­ent of UK shapers. Watch­ing other shapers in the bay opens your eyes to ev­ery­one's unique shap­ing styles. There are some sim­i­lar­i­ties but no right or wrong ways to do it, just like there are no right or wrong surf­board shapes. Ev­ery­one has their own way, style and pref­er­ence. Brad Rochfort

For me, the event was a huge suc­cess, I got too make some­thing I wouldn't nor­mally make, I got too catch up with some friends and also meet some new char­ac­ters, and most of all I had heaps of fun!

It was a lit­tle weird at first with the win­dow in the shap­ing bay and a crowd of faces sur­round­ing it, but once the shirt came off and the head­phones went on it was just like be­ing in my bay at home! Hugh Brock­man

The event was an ab­so­lute blast. The con­cept was right up my al­ley since most folk think my shapes are al­ready pretty out there. I’m usu­ally asked to tone things down, so to be asked to step it up a notch was a real blessing for me. I only re­cently moved over to ma­chine shaped boards, so for me to pick up the planer again was good after a year of mostly fin­ish­ing com­puter cuts. Andy Gale

Great con­cept and great event. To be hon­est I'm used to shap­ing in front of an au­di­ence due to my pre­vi­ous work with the Uni­ver­sity of Ply­mouth surf science course. I also reg­u­larly hand shape so that's why I rel­ished the chal­lenge!!! Luke Young

What board did you get chal­lenged with? What de­sign el­e­ments went into your shape ... what were you think­ing?

I got asked to make a “su­per short” board. I made a 4’8” - a shorter, wider, thin­ner ver­sion of my “In­cut” de­sign with an asym­met­ri­cal out­line, rocker and foil, de­signed with a reg­u­lar foot surfer in mind. It has a hull en­try which feeds a deep sin­gle con­cave in an hour­glass shape. The wa­ter is forced to the cen­tre of the board gen­er­at­ing lift as it flows into a triple con­cave. From here the wa­ter is di­rected into a dou­ble con­cave as it passes the fins, out the back the tail of the board fades into a smooth spi­ral see, which is V with con­cave. It has five fin set up, a con­cave deck for ex­tra con­trol and flex, and the rocker is twisted, with a slightly more for­giv­ing heel rail and a skater toe rail. The en­try and tail are su­per wide at 20” or so, with the area un­der the front foot at around 19.5”. Think the speed of a fish with the con­trol of a short­board. Andy Gale

I took up the chal­lenge of shap­ing the sin­gle fin. I de­cided to base the shape on an old Ben Aipa stinger. I added a full sin­gle con­cave from en­try to exit. For a bit of added spice or weird­ness I in­cor­po­rated rail con­caves com­ing off the wings of the stinger. The idea here was to get the rails en­gaged us­ing the sin­gle con­cave, once en­gaged the rail con­caves (Turbo Con­caves - TM) aid with the dis­place­ment of wa­ter gen­er­at­ing a quick rail re­lease and added vol­ume in wa­ter ‘off the rail’ re­sult­ing in big­ger fans of spray on each turn. Chris Har­ris

I drew the 'twin fish’. I used a rounder nose curve than nor­mal to hold more vol­ume in a smaller area, re­placed the wing with a re­verse curve, mowed the deck into an 'S' deck to make the board roll a bit nose to tail, rail to rail in the wa­ter for a bit of fun and carved four chan­nels in the tail. Straight in­ner curves and curved out­ers from the point of the re­verse curve for a lit­tle ex­tra drive and grip.

I re­ally wanted to shape some­thing crazy look­ing, but I also wanted it to surf well for a range of dif­fer­ent surfers. Luke Young I made the fin­less. I brought a few cher­ished tem­plates with me, but noth­ing over 7'6. Luck­ily Jeremy (Lam­i­na­tions) had a few spare curves lay­ing about and I found a beau­ti­ful 9ft We­ber tem­plate and used that as my base and blended with a few of my own to make an 8'5 1/2.

Rocker wise it it is pretty flat with a bit of curve in the last bit of nose and a lit­tle be­tween the feet. I in­cor­po­rated a Gree­nough style edge bot­tom on the rails. I wanted it to plane on the out­line at low speed and then at speed lift and then let the rails bite to en­gage. There is a se­ries of chan­nels and con­caves in the rear 1/3 un­der the back foot, all set up a lit­tle bet­ter for reg­u­lar foot, but should still work for a goofy too. The big­gest chal­lenge was mak­ing some­thing that would be for­giv­ing enough for some­one used to rid­ing with fins, but still shred­dable too. Hugh Brock­man My board was the asym­met­ric. I'd never shaped in front of peo­ple be­fore, and this would be my first asymm so the chal­lenge was very real! Cre­at­ing the out­line was chal­leng­ing and I had to use var­i­ous tem­plates in­clud­ing those from other shapers. The nose was drawn free­hand while the curve in the hook tail is ac­tu­ally the side of a long­board nose. Brad Rochfort

I picked the 'chan­nel bot­tom' out of the hat. I was pretty happy with that to be hon­est. There was a few ideas float­ing round my head about the dif­fer­ent de­signs but I was ex­cited to shape chan­nels as it’s some­thing I’ve done in the past.

I knew they were go­ing to be su­per deep and there would be six of them. The main el­e­ment was a doth of the cap to the old school chan­nel bot­toms rid­den by Rab­bit and Kong. Added on top of that was a mod­ern rocker and chimed rails. This kept the bulk of the vol­ume but with a mod­ern per­for­mance rail. Lee Bartlett

Chris Har­ris

Brad Rochfort

Andy Gale and Hugh Brock­man

Lee Bartlett

Chris Har­ris

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