Etymology of the thruster.

I can find no reference to Country Rhythm,  Simon Anderson's South African licensee of his thruster design in his book Thrust, which shrouds the whole operation in a bit of a mystery in terms of its linage.
 Judging by the pics of these 3 boards that have come to me over the years they had a good operation going and produced some very nice looking boards.
The etymology of these boards fascinates me, the subtle changes in the visual language that evolved as the design passed from the Energy label in OZ to Nectar in the US to Country Rhythm SA. These boards are conceived as and sold as the same product but due to the hand made nature of surfboards,  like chinese whispers they have developed their own unique look and feel in their country of origin in the days before the internet allowed for instant communication and homogenized the global culture.
The pink Lisle Coney shaped rounded square tailed channel bottom is interesting in that the blank came from Burford in Sydney, linking it to the the Energy factory by only a few blocks, but the look and feel of the spray couldn't be more different to the rail focused sprays Simon's brother was doing at Energy at the time. So to the yellow and red checker board design that carries jet fins, and double flyers and a swallow tail.

The real mystery is in this yellow Country Rhythm thruster. Shaped by traveling Australian Neal Purchase senior, who was shaping for Hot Stuff in Australia at the time, the board carries Simon Anderson's signature decal and, strangely, an Oasis logo and Glen Winton sticker, Oasis being the label Glen was shaping for. Its wonderful to see how these different threads of the surf culture tapestry became woven together in the isolation of the South African surf scene.

Black's Bolt

I got the call from Jordy that Black's Beach was on.

Clean, long period swells were charging up the deep water under sea La Jolla canyon producing nice, cold, glassy, peaks, groomed by a light off shore.

Black's Beach hates me. 
Every time I had been there I'd been dealt a serious beating. 
The shifting peaks can not be predicted and if your not in her favor your going to go down.
So I started to think that I needed to be taking a different approach. 
Who had I seen ride blacks well and what was I trying to do there? 
I'd seen Cyruss Sutton and Joel Tudor do well at Black's on old single fins, so I  visualized myself casually back dooring a peak and it became clear to me what board I had to ride.
My 6'8" single fly rounded pin tail Lightning Bolt. 

It didn't have a leg rope plug, and I knew I would'nt make many friends by having a board go free on the white wash through the middle of the weekend crowd. So I re-drilled the old hole thought the fin box that came out  through the deck. 
I developed a strategy in my head. I'd be patient, I'd sit out the back, sit deep, paddle hard and get in early, but most important I would not try and do any turns, 
for that is what had got me in trouble in the past.
The plan went well.
I committed early to the second wave of each of the sets.
The extra foam in the middle of the board got me onto the waves but it was when I got to the bottom and put my foot down on that big blue single fin that my world changed. For there is nothing like the feeling of power and confidence that comes from a long drawn out bottom turn on a single fin in the pocket a wave with some punch. Others there that day did better than me and were getting 3 and 4 second barrels. I was satisfied with drawing some clean lines and scoring a few cover ups on a 40 year old surfboard.

Byrning Spears- Sunset Beach Hawaii / Gold Coast Australia.

To help continue our Rabbit / Kong / Hot Stuff / Byrning Spears / Al Byrne theme 
Jake wrote in with a story and find of his own:
"I thought I would share this little gem I picked up today. I had to go all the way to Inglewood to get it. Definitely a sketchy and confusing journey, but I think it was worth it. The guy I bought it from said he had it custom made while he was living on the north shore of Oahu, around Sunset Beach. He said he was friends with Gary Elkerton, but he would call him "Bongo" instead of Kong because of his ability to hit the bong back then....pretty classic stuff. I'm not sure how many of his stories were real or just his hallucinations. The board is in decent shape, considering it has been with its original owner and surfed in Hawaii (supposedly). It has repairs here and there, most notably one of the fins was replaced. The owner did the repairs himself and they aren't too bad, the fin does need to be reinforced or redone to make her truly seaworthy. I've always wanted a Byrning spear and a 6'1 will suit me well."

Further proof of AB's unique talents as a ground breaking shaper we have this early 80's example of a asymmetric channel bottom design.

Board test: Almond "Sano Special"

Board test: Almond "Shark proof"
Almond Surfboards make high quality, beautifully finished vintage inspired modern surfboards out of Newport Beach California.

This week I'm test riding their 'Sano Special' model shaped by Griffin Neumann-Kyle.
Construction: Fibre glassed foam blank, triple wood stringer.
Length: 9'0"
Nose: 16.5"
Wide point: 21.5"
Tail: 15.5"
Thickness: 3"
Features: The most notable features of this board, aside from its overall length and thickness that provide a joyous amount of paddling ability, is what I would describe as a high performance, extra responsive tail design. Upon stoking into my fist wave I was immediately surprised at how well and quickly this board could turn, even in very small waves, compared to vintage boards of the similar dimensions. The true advantage of post modern design is the ability to combine the best elements of the past with functional advancements in design from the present. Aesthetically the board retains the best elements of the long board era but this board has the added functionality that comes from a more refined foil, rail and tail design.
I'm a man who generally rides boards in the 6' range, but I can not deny the pure joy of the glide that you can get from this board.
It is simply a lot of fun to ride. Adding a board like this to the quiver could turn an otherwise disappointing Saturday morning in 1 to 3ft surf into the highlight of the week.

Dave from Almond wrote  "Griffin shaped me this board for a trip up the coast to San Francisco for a Halogen TV  episode. He wrote Shark Proof, so that I wouldn't get eaten up north.  He was afraid if a shark got me, he'd be out of a job."

From 'Surflife"

From "Surflife"