Fluid Foils

Fluid Foils ad from Breakway September 1977

Geoff Fox from Surf Research is an amazing Australian surf historian who has done an unbelievable amount of work on his web site 'Pods for Primates: A catalogue of Surfboards in Australia since 1900"
Once again his knowledge has helped me learn more about my own collection, in particular about this Jim Polard shaped 'Fluid Foils' 6'0" single fly swallow tail channel bottom twin fin.
Whats unique about this board are its small, sharp raked fins and its four long, soft channels that start 3/4's of the way up the board and run at an angle to the stringer.

According to Geoff, Fluid Foils was a decal/label used by Shane Surfboards from about 1977-8 for models shaped by Jim Pollard, primarily single fins, but all channel bottom designs.
Jim was originally inspired to try shaping channel bottoms by an article called ''Groove Ridge Theory'' by Jim Richardson and Art Shafer from the USA that was possibly printed in either Surfer or Surfing magazine circa 1975.
It detailed experiments using flexible polyurethane rubber ridges stuck to the bottom of surfboards and concluded that they improved lift and increased directional stability across a range of designs and lengths.
Around 1976 -77 at Noosa Heads in Queensland, Jim Pollard had developed a conventional pintail design with six or eight channels nose to tail, running parallel to the rails and exiting at matching flyers. This model was test ridden by Peter Cornish, Steven Butterworth and Col Smith, all Newcastle surfers. By 1979 the design was modified to straight channels, parrallel to stringer, in the rear 2/3rd of the board, still exiting at the flyers. This design had international exposure with successful
contest results by Col Smith (Newcastle), notably a win in the Pipeline Masters around 1979. The single fin design was manufactured in Australia by both Shane Surfboards, Brookvale (Jim Pollard Fluid Foils) and Free Flight Surfboards, Ballina (Col Smith Channel Designs).
From 1978 onwards channels were a common features on a variety of designs. For example the small flutes on some Mark Richards Twin fins and Laurie/Phil Byrne's more extreme Clinker Bottom Twin fin, circa 1981. (both featured on this blog)
Channels became more subtle features through the 1980's, virtually disappearing from design by 1990, The channel bottom as since evolved into the single and double concave designs we ride today.


  1. Interesting article, acouple of mates had fluid foils boards made in around 1981 but they were single fins with I think rounded pin tails.

  2. Aloha; I met Jim Pollard in 78' at Sunset Beach, he made me 3 boards, a 6'3", 6'9" & 7'3" all single fins and with 6 channels! They all worked unreal, awesome! We kept in touch after he went back to Oz until the mid 80's, when he was making thrusters, but lost contact with him! Does anyone know where he is? Is he still alive? If anybody knows of his whereabouts, please let me know? (toy.pete@yahoo.com) Aloha, Pete (-8

    1. Yes he's still alive and well =)

  3. It was 1974/5 when I used to hangout at Jim's factory up Diddillibah just north of Maroochydore, his shop used to be under the Mooloolaba Pictures on Brisbane road. Jim and Stumpy where shaping and a good mate Ray Isackson was the glasser. Jim let me shape a couple of board there and jim shaped me my first foil to try out as I was heading to WA to do some exploring. They were a couple of great boards (7'/2" & 6'/9") but one got stolen in Cotton Tree and the other knock-off in Esperance WA around 1976. Both worked well and got heaps of release in small and big waves.

    Hmmm where is Jim???

  4. Jim popped by our factory on the gold coast for a catch up, heres a photo of Jack and Jim with a new channel bottom single fin,Jack shaped the channels at Shanes with Jim in the 70's and we have been bringing back old shapes and ideas and these boards are just so much fun to surf.


  5. My 3rd ever board was a Jim Pollard 6'6" rounded pin with a 10"finger fin . It went unreal and i learnt how to do backhand reo's on it .

  6. I had the great "Pleasure" of sanding the first board Jim made at Shanes...... 1975 it was.
    Awesome boards just a real bitch to sand if the glasser didn't brush out the chanels

  7. Hey just wondering what a jim pollard board is worth these days, old single fin, 6 foot?

  8. From JIM P yes I still surf when I can although we live where there is not a lot of surf which seems a bit ironic? if you want the latest imfo check on Facebook at jim.pollard.71 and you can connect thro there or www.pollardonline.com and for surfboard values go to Darrick's agents at http://www.vonweirdos.com/sold/shane-fluidfoils-channel-bottom or some thing like that Cheers from Jim Pollard just another old surfer with lots of surfing memories

  9. you can find imfo at pollardonline.com as to comments or vonwierdos.com for board values

  10. I worked at Shanes glassing WAVE skis when Jim was making the Fluid Foils boards in the Brooky factory and took one at cost that was 6'8" by 20 x 2 1/2. The rounded pintails with fliers where the Channels exited Jim called "Beetails". I got mine right after Col Smith won the Masters on one so I'll leave it as an exercise for the fanatics. Those boards, like Jim, were way ahead of their time. They had an uncanny ability to surf the White water as if it had not been broken at all. The wave could close out, crank ya bottom turn and it would ride straight up over the foam and coast to the new clean section. I was an Avalon local and surfed it at LA and all over the Northern beaches. They were exceptional surfboards. If your lookin Jim God bless ya crazy bastard from Steve Widdicombe :). Last time I saw you was at the Arms playin stick.