Spider Murphy Safari twin fin. Part 2.


After enjoying spending many hours fixing her up and getting her watertight I finally got to take her out for a test ride. There were some nice overhead lefts and the board went far better than expected. Lots of volume made it a joy to paddle and catch waves and despite the thickness the vee in the tail let it fly rail to rail. Putting my 100kgs into a top turn I felt that familiar feeling as it let go and spun around and I knew that second I just lost a one of a kind 36 year old fin!



Digging around I found a fantastic article on Spider on World Champions of Surfing.
"Spider’s home planet of South Africa, a rugged pinnacle of surfing coastline teeming with as much surfing talent as it is with great white sharks, would spin him another dose of surfing mojo in a 15 year old regular footer with a need for speed and lust for the air. Murphy sculpted yet another iconic set of boards that would define the first step in the coming aerial revolution. Martin Potter’s green “The Saint” quiver remains emblazoned in every 40-something surfer’s mind, as they watched this teen school everyone from Tomson to Kealoha to Richards to Carroll in the magazine pages and the new VHS video format. It was 1981, a fitting number to begin a new era of surfing, and Potter and his speed lines at the Guston 500 on that 5’5″ Spider Murphy twin-fin shut the door on the past like punk rock did on disco. At 14, he had already beat Shaun Tomson in East London in his first pro event and finished just behind two of the most exiting athletes in surfing: Dane Kealoha in the Gunston and Cheyne Horan in the Mainstay Magnum. Potter’s lightning fast approach earned him a world title in 1989 and laid the groundwork for surfing’s modern performance standard based on a combination of power turns and functional aerials. Presumably, Potter would have dominated the 80’s if not for a supernatural Tommy Curren."


Then I found this little beaut in the UK.




Spider Murphy Safari twin fin.


I'm very pleased to share with you my Spider Murphy shaped 6'0" Safari single fly swallow tail twin fin from South Africa. 
I'm very stoked to have gotten my hands on a Spider Murphy twin fin, because there are not many shapers who have been at the cutting edge of the revolution in surfboard design, not once but twice in their careers. Durban's Spider Murphy has built boards for every generation of hot shots from the 70's to this very day under his Safari and Spider labels and can be credited with influencing both the tube riding revolution of the mid 70's and the aerial revolution of the early 80's.

Shaun Tomson riding his famous Spider Murphy pin tail pun at Pipe. Photo Dan Merkel.

Spider is most famous for his pink 1974 Potato Chip / Banana Board, pin tail gun designed for Shaun Tompson, that essentially revolutionized tube riding on the North Shore of Hawaii in 1975. It was Spiders unique rocker, foil and template design that allowed Shaun to get deeper in the tube than anyone had ever gone before. The boards design was so ground breaking that Tomson couldn't even leave the board on the beach and had to keep it hidden and covered with a towel!
To loosely quote from Ben Marcus's 365 Surfboards - "Usually design innovation comes about through inspiration. Sometimes its just a fluke", Shaun said. Spider originally made the board to be ridden at Sunset Beach. The board evolved from a photo of a classic 8-foot Brewer gun that belonged to Jeff Hackman. Murphy worked off that photo and tried to duplicate the rocker, but the molds used in the Safari blanks wouldn't allow it, so he laminated the board and placed bricks on the nose and tried to bend in the rocker. " The board ended up with extreme curve and was an absolute dog on the deep water waves of Sunset, spinning out on turns and very slow," Tomson said.
"However at pipeline it was a dream, the curve fitting in perfectly to Pipline's hollow face- enabling me to take off latter and drive straight off the bottom, and straight off the top." Tomson rode the board for 5 winters at Pipline and never blew a take off- not once. It maybe the first board ever developed with modern rocker that enabled surfers to ride hollow waves."

A young Martin Potter with a nice thick Safari twin fin.
10 years later Spider helped pave the way for the next big evolution in surfing when he equipped a 16 year old Martin Potter with the tools for flight that led to the Aerial chapter of performance surfing. Martin may be most well known for riding his Glen Pang T&C's but it was Spider's 'The Saint' series of Safari twin fins that started the revolution.

Wide, thick and flat!

A young Martin Potter riding a Safari twin fin, showing signs of the radical surfing that was about to come.
Pronounced vee through the tail.
Shaun Tomson with Spider Murphy twin fin, (probably) at Narabeen for the 2SM surfabout. Photo via Mark Richards from the Daily Telegraph.




Foam fill fins. A technique I thought up until now was unique to the US.

Star Jamer twinzer quad.


Some time ago I found this rough but intriguing twin fin / twinzer. 
Originally I was interested in it for its unique, 80's Aussie, cultural value.
But as soon as I got it under my arm I became fascinated by its design and I'm dying to ride it.



Hand drawn XXXX beer character laminate and hand drawn Advance Australia Aussie flag laminate from a time when blatant Australian nationalism was rare as opposed to today's plague of southern cross tattoos that pollute the line up.


They take their beer pretty serious in Queensland






'Splayed' channel bottom design.
A bit of work to do, but I'm keen to get this in the water.



5'10" number 005. They didn't make many of these.


What revived my interest in this questionable board was seeing this second Star Jamer appear for sale recently. If I bought this one I would 40% of the worlds entire production of Star Jammer twiner quads.



Bahne


Whilst in California a while ago my friend Mark and I had the privilege of getting a tour of the Bahne fin factory in Encinitas by founder Bill Bahne.


I love fins as much as I do surfboards and its interesting to see that their creation is as much art as it is science, the same as surfboards.




It was nice to see Bahne putting their original hand laminated fiberglass skate decks back into limited run production.






Templates from shapers from all over the world






This is how you get your foil on.


Trapped in glass.