Musing Hot Buttered Surfboard Design

Musing Hot Buttered Surfboard Design


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Martin Worthington

How long have you collaborated with Terry Fitzgerald, and how did that relationship develop?

T.F. and I have worked together for forty years. We first met when I read an article in Tracks about colour on boards – something I had already done on my own boards. I wrote to Terry and we went on from that, to meet and work together.

How would you describe your trademark style?

My style is very much freehand, decorative, surreal and fluid. I like the art to enhance the board’s shape with an emphasis on colour and light.

What is your process? Do you make a sketch first, or do you just visualize the results and go for it?

Often customers supply picture that they want or they will describe a setting or theme. If I am creating for my own boards I get an outline or concept which is usually formed in my mind but as I paint it develops organically.

Your board airbrush art has a psychedelic feel, where do you draw your inspiration from?

Inspiration is everywhere – the horizon – the play of light in shallow moving water and deep depth – the bush, wind through trees – nature’s fluidity in clouds, colour, light, the mystery at life’s heart.

Do you think surfing and art, especifically board art, are independent of each other?

For me it’s about making art that belongs in or near the ocean – it’s certainly not just putting pictures on boards. The art has to belong to the function and lines of the board that help to make surfing a rhythmic dance.

How many boards do you estimate you’ve created? Do you ever take special commission work? Please elaborate.

Too many to count, but in the thousands. Much of my work is custom/commissioned, usually around ocean themes. I have painted huge paddle boards with sky/sea murals, eagles, whales, turtles, dolphins, rainbow serpents, galaxies and my own mystical ideas.

How many boards do you produce in an average month (or year)?

I’m still a production sprayer at Clear Surfboards run by friend Brad Robinson. We make every kind of board with many different designs which go to many countries and it is difficult to estimate the number.

Looking back over your incredible body of work, what are you most proud of?

I like to think that my work pleases surfers world-wide – that makes me proud.

Besides surf boards, what other kinds of projects have you done?

I trained after Art School to be a set designer and backdrop painter, so mural work has been a natural extension. I have produced murals for houses, hospitals and public places. I also paint canvasses.

With such an impressive body of work, is there a project you are hoping to do some day?

The idea of really painting for myself is still what I want to do, and have an exhibition even though the surfboards are everywhere.

If you weren’t an artist what would you do?

Surf more.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

2 + 1 | Modern Double Wing Swallow

Many a surfing folk will pick up a Single Fin relic, water logged, wide point too far forward, combined with long straight rails, and walk away from their Single Fin surfing experience with a miss conception, that Single Fins don't turn.
79, 80 , 81 Double Wings, in many variations, were incorporated into many a high performance surfboard of the time. Especially in Australia. The Australian surfing mentality was uber aggressive in the water, almost fever pitch. Surfing was about attack , and shortening the rail length as well as pulling in the tail with a Double Wing combo, it became easier to pivot tight in a powerful, critical pocket.
Single Fin design was reaching a performance pinnacle with the Double Wing design, only to be dashed by the Tri Fin in 81 . Almost a shame, as further Single Fin Design development became somewhat pale in significance.

The idea behind the 2 + 1 Fin set up in the Double Wing Swallow is to take the board a step further into design progression, a step forward in time that the Double Wing Swallow never really got to take.

The Medium Sides and the Small Single Fin draws the board a lot closer to a Tri Fin feel. Out of the tail, little extra squirt. Downside, a little extra squirrel. A small variation to the base of the side fins, reducing the surface area, increased the waters free release feel off the side fins and through the forward wing seemed to bolster a smoother flow that i was looking from this particular 2 + 1 Fin Set.

The experiment re affirmed that Terry's boards are high performance vehicles when surfed with the right mind set. Which is the "Attack the Lip" mind set of the early 80's.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Terry Fitzgerald Contest Results

During the 70's Terry was seen as the most devoted Australian Surfer / Shaper, in regards to refining his boards to suit the Hawaiian juice. The Wing Pin Single Fin, was the one design of many, that transferred easily between Hawaii and the vast Australian coastline. The versatility of the Wing Pin therefor resulted in many successful competitive campaigns on a professional level for Terry, in both Australia and Hawaii.

1972 Bells Beach Contest
1st Terry Fitzgerald
2nd Peter Drouyn

1973 Hang Ten , Hawaii
1st Jeff Hackman
2nd Ian Cairns
3rd Michael Peterson
4th Paul Neilson
5th Terry Fitzgerald

1974 Lightning Bolt Contest, Hawaii
1st Terry Fitzgerald

1975 Austalian Titles, Victor Harbour South Australia
1st Terry Fitzgerald

1976 World Cup Contest, Hawaii
1st Mark Richards
2nd Terry Fitzgerald

Terry Fitz doing his thing at 'Sunset'
Photo: Jeff Divine

Friday, October 1, 2010

Surfboard Design | Classic Drifta

Classic Drifta

The whole Drifta thing was a design divergence in the hunt for a combination of speed and points per turn. At the time (1980), rounding off noses, made a lot of design sense, when 3, 4, 5 inches were lopped off…..voilá, you have a shorter board with no nose weight, that can be stood up, vertical with less effort….but, still hold longer board lines on the rail…strike 1.

By taking the old double wing swallow tail templates and widening the front wing the boards had impressive planning area, speeding over flat spots and skating down the line. In stepping down real tail width with two wings, the narrowed tail held in when it mattered, biting deep into the wall….strike 2.

Ten years of concave work had provided the engine…single concave under the front foot – lean forward and accelerate, double under the back - lean back and turn, a wide based single fin and two smaller trailer fins focused on the front wing release points….strike 3.

Terry Fitzgerald

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Surfboard Design | Double Wing Pin Single Fin

Double Wing Pin Single Fin

The Double Wing Pin Tail evolved from one of Terry's most popular templates being the Classic Wing Pin circa 72 , 73. Come 77 to 79 Terry was developing his wing concepts into flat out gun specific designs. The Classic Wing Pin was versatile in the mid size wave bracket with it's wide point forward and Single Wing to give the board a break point for direction change off a reduced rail length, but ad the Second Wing, as Terry did in the late 70's and the board now had a narrower tail to hang tight in bigger waves.

Kye Fitzgerald