Tuesday, November 14, 2006
What's a Widowmaker?
After I posted about ordering my new surfboard from Mandala, there was quite a bit of commentary about the merits of Manny and his alternative shapes. But then the comment flow died, as all blog chatter does when the topic gets stale. A few days ago, though, Warmjet (my favorite bonzer/music afficionado) chimed in about the 2+1 setup and how it resembles a board known as The Widowmaker:
"Parmenter makes a 2+1 called the 'Widowmaker' that looks great. ( See the Andrew Kidman movie 'Glass Love') Now the 'Swift' movement has a real nice one from Neil Purchase Jr. Manny seems like a good shaper with a artistic sense about him, yet he seems to be on the reproducing end of design and not so much on discovery. Eventhough Fitz is the man for the 2+1's beginning, I'd go Parmenter but I certainly want to wish you good times on the Manny."
I found the above photo of Purchase Jr. on Swaylocks and quickly got sucked into the vortex of surboard design, turning up picture after picture of various 2+1 widowmakers:
I read a comment by a famed shaper on Swaylocks who swore by the widowmaker design, reaffirming the characteristics that Manny described to me when he sold me on the shape:
"The yellow board in the photo is sporting one of the two Tri Fin setups we used at Surf Systems in 1971. We used the PressLock removable, injection molded fins, (invented by me, I might add.) as the sides. We used the setup on semi guns, as well as small wave fun boards. It opened up the upper 25% of the wave to more agressive maneuvers, without loss of control, or spinouts. Also made it easier to turn in, and drive out of, the pitching lip of a wave."
Shaper since 1958
"The above photo is of my personal board, summer of '71. With the very wide tail, I had an easy time catching any wave I chose to try for. The Tri-Fins (as we called them then) enabled the same board that I could ride 2' beach surf with on one day, to be ridden the next day in 12' reef breaks, with the same setup. And not just survival riding, but ripping, going anywhere on the wave face that I would choose to go. If I were to build a similar board today, I would increase the board width to 22'', or evev 23'', and use the close set twin fin setup I've shown you before. I'd also tweek the rails, softer, yet with a hard, tucked under, release edge. But I digress. The above board is one of many that I regret ever gitting rid of. Sometimes you don't know just how good a board is until you move on to something else. It's interesting that a new generation of surfers are rediscovering some of the earlier design paths."
Shaper since 1958
Kye Fitzgerald (Terry's Son), riding an original Drifter in a recent WQS event.
Then I looked at some new photos of Manny's latest 2+1 designs and I was pleasantly surprised:
So the next thing I'm going to do is rent or buy Glass Love to see what the movie says about these boards. Being a huge fan of Litmus, I'm actually scratching my head as to why I haven't seen the film. The next thing, of course, would be to talk to Manny about my forthcoming 2+1. I know he's doing things differently than Parmenter, Purchase, Thrailkill, et al just by looking at the predominantly shorter lengths of his boards and the fluted wings he's incorporating.
This is gonna be so cool...
Rogue Wave - California