The Original Sting.
The mid 1970’s is one of the most fascinating periods of surfing and innovation period surfboard development. The shortboard revolution had been underway for only a few years and iconic brands such as Lightning Bolt were in their infancy. Kneeboarders, who in many respects had been at the forefront of the designs that initiated the demise of the traditional longboard, were themselves under pressure from the new “Boogie board”, Tom Morey’s rectangular polyethylene foam slab that heralded the 'beginning’ of the plague that became modern bodyboarding. It was in this period that the first leashes or leg ropes appeared, surf films came into their own and the first international professional surfing tour was won by Australia’s Peter Townend in 1976.
In the context of this came a Hawaiian shaper named Ben Aipa whose combination of design features with single fin shortboards resulted in the shape now known as the 'Stinger'. These included splitting the tail and moving the fin forward, introducing ‘wings’ or ‘flyers’ about one third from the tail and adding a ‘step’ across the bottom of the board at the same spot. According to Paul Holmes in “Surfboards” these elements
“had the effect of creating a break in the rail line that allowed a single-fin board to release quicker and to draw tighter turns…giving rise to a more vertical approach to the wave”
Ben Aipa is not only a great innovator and shaper but has also coached and mentored numerous surfers of note over the years including Mark Richards, Larry Bertlemann, Dane Kealoha, Michael Ho and more recently Sunny Garcia and Andy Irons.
I have surfed this board and although it paddles and catches waves easily I found it stiff and hard to turn. Which makes Buttons 360' turns on a stinger in Many Classic Moments even more outrageous than when he eats a mouthful of sand!