It was in 1997 that I last worked on a big board. That was the 6ft Landsurfer, incidentally that was the “original landsurfer” a long time before Hambords awesome Classic in 2007. Then there was the 8 footer for Guts Griffiths in 1998. Guts took the 6ft Landsurfer down to France and Portugal that year, (when he became European Longboard Champion) where it got some attention and sales. Then there was one that went to a guy in Washington who used to skate it past the White House, that was pretty rad too. Early on the Landsurfer went as far afield as Tasmania but exchange rates and carriage pretty much killed off international sales, which was a real shame ‘cos before the Hambords I had at least half a dozen enquiries from Hawaii. I’ve been pretty stoked though that guys like Beau Young, Jay Moriarity, Craig Cuff have all given the Landsurfer a go and in fact the Landsurfer deck in this post was signed by Wingnut in 1998 which says it all really.
Landsurfer 1998 signed by Wingnut at Welsh Longboard Classic Llangennith Beach
So this one is a new board prototype, creating a big one for Gary Evans at Land paddle UK and here are some pics of the shaping process. We’ve bonded two sheets of 12mm Russian birch ply as we have no 24mm in stock at the machining shop right now. I made the 8 footer on 24mm, but I’d really like to go for 21mm for this model if it runs, just to bring the weight down a bit. However I’m looking to get absolutely minimal to nil flex and with some bigger guys around in the SUP scene, 24mm may have to be it. For the board to work at its best I reckon It’s gotta work really well off the trucks, so rigid is the word. Surf boards don’t bend and I see no reason why this big board should either, flex creates stall and that is not good news.
I want to get the nose balance point so that that all important nose manual move can be a winner and with 6ft of 24mm behind the fulcrum that could work well. Guys will look at this board and think, well that is a crib of the Hambord Classic. Well actually no, it’s an exact scaled up version of the 6ft Landsurfer (now in its 18th year of production). There is a fact of life with boards made from birch ply, which is economies of scale. You can only get 3 decks out of an 8ft sheet of 1ft width or more and 15″ is about the widest you can get it with the tooling involved in the rail cutting. Right now I’m not too sure on the best length for Land Paddle and I guess Gary will have the final say in that, but to get that nose manual lever and longboard scale I guess 6ft 6″ is pretty much the starting point.
The Big Land Paddle board marked out next to Landsurfer
The marking out is with aid of life sized computer images scaled up from the Landsurfer. The deck on top of the birch sheet is the 1998 cloth tip signed by Guts, Richie Balding and Wingnut.
Cutting out a big one Still Stoked
Land Paddle prototype from Still Stoked
The blank is cut. One thing hand held jigsaws don’t seem to like is cutting vertical lines, they nearly always slope out, which makes it real hard hoggin down the rails with the surform. The aim of the prototype shaping is to create a board from which the production model can be run off with confidence, so the objective of this exercise is to get reasonable accuracy. So the rails are shaped 50/50 bull nose and now ready for sanding.
Initial shaping done on the Big board
The next step is to position the trucks and line up the bolt holes. Never an easy exercise by hand and one which can’t be rushed. In this initial prototype I am positioning the front truck for a toes over nose ride and a fulcrum point to allow a good nose manual. Tail positioning on a board this size is not so critical I think, but does need to allow those tail 180s that some guys pull off with ease on the Landsurfer.
Lining up to position trucks on six six Land paddle prototype board.
Well the initial stages are done. Next stage is some test riding but right now, in the middle of December, its wet wet wet here. Depending on how this one rides I shall put another position in for the trucks and then all being well will clean it up, sand it right down smooth, probably stain it and then lacquer ready for delivery to Gary Evans at Land Paddle UK as the prototype for the guys to pick it to pieces, give it the thumbs up or suggest some modifications.
Donny at Still Stoked with bare finished prototype 6ft6" Land Paddle board
This board will be ridden first on tightened down Paris 180s and70mm flashbacks. I think the Paris will provide the best stability and the 195mm will be the final truck option. Both the Bear 181 852 52degree and the 840 40degree downhill may be worth a trial too. I’ve got some 75mm wheels to trial as well. I’m not convinced very large wheels are the way to go as this is a board for flatter landscapes which needs a fast roll speed on the flat, so smaller as in 70 -75 max may be the best way forward.