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