Ace Cool. Part 2.

I love the bumps in the road, the forgotten heros and the cultural footnotes that make up our colorful history of surf culture. Particulary 70's and 80's surf culture when there were lots of interesting things happening on the side lines have have been mainly lost to the mainstream telling of surf history.
Alec Cooke or as he and I prefer 'Ace Cool' is one of my favorites.
So I cant tell you how stoked I am to have found this early 80's tri fin pin tail shaped for Ace by LaRoy Dennis. LaRoy is a prolific Hawaiian based shaper who has shaped for , Creative Shaping surfboards, Hawaiian Designs (Ed. Sinot.) surfboards, Jeff Crawford surfboards, Mike Tabeling surfboards, Sunset Beach surfboards and Wave Trek surfboards.
This unbranded board was done just for Ace, with Ace's own decal.
Ace himself is an interesting character and much malined for his shameless chasing of hype and self promotion that largley overshadows his acheivments. Such as the day he, Mark Foo and Ken Bradshaw faced a 50ft close out at Wieamea bay and had to be helicopter lifted to safety. Still regarded as the biggest surf faced by paddle only surfers and done at a time when big wave surfing did not attract much media or industry attention. The story is retold here by Stu from Swellnet (who very nearly joined me on this south coast road trip).

Alec himself details his big wave paddle credentials with claims on his own website that "I was flown by Helicopter to outer reef Pipeline (Log Cabins) in 1985 and caught a 35 footer as seen in the Postcard that has sold over 500,000 copies. In 1984, I was flown by Helicopter to Outside Makaha and caught a 35 footer. I surfed Kaena Point off a fishing boat in 1984 when the waves were was 25 foot plus and I was out at Waimea Bay on Jan. 18th, 1985 with James Jones and Mark Foo when the 48 footer closed out the Bay."

Ace being helicopter lifted after the 48 footer closed out the bay. 

iphone photo by me

I made a call to do a run down the coast to a well know reef break that can pack a bit of punch. Stuggling to chose a board from the collection that could save me from a kicking I went for the rounded pin tail and additional foam of the custom Ace Cool board with thoughts of the similar size and power in Hawaii that the board was made for.
It turns out that my choice to head down the coast was the right one, the choice of the thick, heavy and slow early 80's design tri fin was not....

Getting some shade.

80's style self promotion

it was a pretty nice size

The first wave I saw after pushing through the bushes at the end of the track. Looking good!

Shaped by LaRoy Dennis for Ace
I love this shot, guy in the tube and the board under water.
Not so easy on your backhand but this guy was managing well.

You would think by looking at it that this board was the right tool for the job.

Veiw from behind the peak.
This is an amazing wave as the take off is quite manageable before it seamlessly wraps into the long hollow tube section.
This shot is a good indication of the size of the one I took on the head.

There were not a lot of empty one coming through, but there were a few

Soft rails

The one that got away.
In case I forgot where I was there was plenty of signs to remind me.

In this pic you get a hint of the problems that were in store for me. Yes, the board is nice and long and thick and was a joy to paddle, but the added glass and foam made the board heavy and clumsy. The thick soft rails did not give much hold and the completley flat bottom, devoid of any concave or vee made it slow and unresponsive.

Frame 1- Have a look top middle left of this pic at the pack of surfers on the peak 50 mtrs away.

It was crowded and hard to get a wave so I knew I'd need a strategy. I decided to take advantage of the foam and lenght in the board and sit deep and way outside and try and get a set all the way through.

Frame 2- Look out, here I come!
Coming through from way inside.

Frame 3- Dive bogger dive!

Frame 4: Here comes the good bit.

Frame 5: Look Mum no hands!

Frame 6: Light at the end of the tunnel.

Tidy little pig dog.

There's a point you get to as you run down the path were you can see the foam draining off the end of the reef into the bay. When you see this much white water you immediately get butterflies.

1 comment:

  1. Ace was my personal friend and an all round good guy. He'd be proud and stoked with your article. -Roger Raffee, California