I know history will look favorably on me because I will write it.

Pete with his Simon Anderson shaped twin fin
In his book 'Thurst' Simon Anderson loosely quotes Winston Churchill when he says 'I know history will look favorably on me because I will write it.'
Which is interesting when you look at the written history of innovation surfboard design with a focus on twin fins, which I do, obsessively.

Geoff McCoy is most famous for virtually reinventing the modern short board with his no nose plan shape, and almost as famous for religiously sticking to single fins, post 1980, with his Lazor Zap designs and partnership with Cheyne Horan and Ben Lexan on the Star fin winged single fin.
Simon Anderson is most famous for pioneering the 'Thruster' design, 3 fins of equal size, that he partly credits with coming up with due to his dislike of the twin fin, in 1980.
What history fails to record is that Simon and Geoff both shaped twin fin during this period, obviously with varying degrees of success.
I am fascinated with these anomalies, these freaks of the evolutionary trajectory of modern design. 
I'm not accusing anyone of lying, I'm just saying they didn't seem to hate twin fins that much at the time, as it appears they both made quite a few between 1980 and 1982.

I travelled all the way to the UK to meet Pete and see his beautiful Energy twin fin. Pete moved to the UK from Sydney and took his board collection with him. Pete found this board abandoned in the back yard of his rented house. It had been wedged into a palm tree and left for so many years it took a chain saw to pry it loose. 

I found this Simon Anderson shaped Energy twin fin in Sydney. A nice board with a classic Energy spray whose outline and tail shape would probaly be better served with a single fin on it.
Still its interesting to note that Simon was still shaping twin fins at the time.

Like wise I think its facinating that Geoff McCoy made these twin fin Lazor Zap twin fins when Lazor Zaps almost by definition are seen as single fins.

This board has the classic Lazor Zap outline and pretty standard wide base twin fins.

This board on the other hand is even more interesting because Geoff was experimenting with the twin fins themselves as well as the board. These thin extended fins are similar in concept to other singles he was doing at the time.

I saw this board at Mick Mock's vintage surf auction almost 10 years ago and it has facinated me ever since.

This McCoy twin dosent carry the Lazor Zap decal but it does share the same plan shape and Zap style spray. Was is interesting to me here is the the fins are half way between to two above. Thin at the base with extendend rake.

I'll leave the last word to Mark Richards, who says "I never really understood why people had trouble with twin fins. It seems they were under the misconception that you have to nurse them or they would spin out, but in fact the harder turned the better they held in, especially in hollow waves. It was a bit harder on a fat wave, you had to be more careful how you set your edge. The big thing people had trouble with on the twin fin was surfing backhand, and that might have been what brought the popularity of them undone. Backhand it was hard to get them on a rail, but once you did it was fine.
It surprised me that a lot of good surfers didn't really like them. There were a lot of really badly designed twin fins. To go rail to rail, you needed a really deep vee in the bottom, and a vee that was strategically placed, that started shallow and got progressively deeper between the fins, wit a little concave in the bottom of the wing, which gave it like a fee/ double concave thing in that tail area. There was a design secret in making them work. If someone said they didn't like twin fins, if you had a look at them, invariably the bottom wasn't right. I don't know if Simon persevered with them.
I made a couple of thrusters and for me they felt really stiff. I could understand what he was doing and why he really liked them, but after spending so much time on twin fins it felt like I had brick on the tail slowing the board down. They were really easy to surf back hand, and I think that's one of the reasons why it was embraced. I think what happened was, all the hold outs on single fins, who resisted twin fins, the thruster gave them something to embrace."

Wish list. Part 2

I've just run across a twin fin feind south east of Melbourne selling these two immaculate early 80's Australian made single fly swallow tail twin fins.

I'll be adding these to my wish list.

Richo at Pipe

As I was typing the above post about the Terry Richardson twin and email popped up titled 'Richo'.
Co-insidently Simon from the UK was sending us pics of his 80's team rider Richo thruster. 
Terry was shaping under the Richo label in Australia and Hawaii. 
I wonder what the origins of this board are and who was the sponsored surfer 'Steve'.

Star Bolt twin fins

MR on Star Bolt twin fin at Burleigh Heads. Photo from Surfing World.
My guess would be that this board was shaped by MR himself.
So who got the royalty?
The Lightning Bolt surfboard label that existed in the 70's in Hawaii operated differently to any other surfboard brand that I am aware of. 
Unlike other labels where the shapers name was the brand name, Lightning Bolt operated more as a co-operative, allowing a huge number of shapers to make boards bearing the iconic Lightning Bolt trademark. 
This makes good business sense when all the boards were sold through the one shop, as they originally were in  Honolulu. When the shapers would finish a board they would drop it into the shop on consignment and when it sold the shop, acting as the custodian of the trademark, would make a cut and the shaper would make a cut. This system had a lot to do with why they label became so strong, as they were able to offer free boards to almost every traveling pro that showed up in Hawaii in 70's at little cost to themselves. Having every pro on the north shore on Bolts guaranteed the label mass exposure in the magazines, which attracted more shapers, which produced more consignment boards, which helped sell more surfboards.

Things start to get a little hazy when boards with Lightning Bolt logos were being made and sold in other shops, in other cities and other countries.

Star Bolts take the mystery one step further.

According to the ads posted here, Star Bolts were made by Lightning Bolt. 
But at the end of the day, who was Lightning Bolt surfboards and why did they need to make Star Bolts in the first place?
We know Gerry and Rory shaped Star Bolts, we know MR rode Star Bolts, but who is Star Bolt?
Jim Beardsley shaped Star Bolts in Australia as early as 78, judging by my board and the pics kindly shared with us by another Australian collector, whose example is almost identical to mine but in far, far better condition.

Did MR actually surf Jim Beardsley shaped Star Bolt twin fins?

My Star Bolt, rough but nice.

Mark from Surfboardline has very kindly shared these pics of his incredible Gerry Lopez shaped Star Bolt twin fin. 
Incredible because it looks like a gun twin fin which makes it very rare.
Its the only twin I've EVER seen shaped by Lopez. 
Very, very, very rare.

Now, if the Star Bolts were meant to be the premium line of Lightning Bolt surfboards, how do you explain this monstrosity I saw at the Patagonia surf Swap?

No Star Bolt decal, but it has the Star Bolt spray?


Kirra Surf Ad from Australian Surfing World 1980
Chris Stroth says "In the late 70′s and early 80′s Glen 'Rocky' Rawlings was one of the Top Guns of Queensland surfing. Rocky was sponsored  by Local Motion surfboards and Kirra Surf . At the time the likes of Rawlings  and Jason ”Butto” Buttenshaw where the centre of of high performance ripping north of the border.

This MR template Sky twin fin appeared on eBay Oz recently. Single fly, swallow tail, signed by Bulger for Glen.

Rocky Rawlings at Cronulla Point early 80′s by Chris Stroth