I’ve been geeking on the board design commonly referred to as a hull or stubbie. one of the main proponents of the design is Greg Liddle. the famed hull rider sometimes referred to as Dirt is pictured above. Dirt worked closely with Liddle to tweak the design.
I in particular only surfed Malibu, Little Dume ( with rare success), California Street, Pitas Point, Rincon and Cojo on the Hollister Ranch. Well, this is a rare group of not perfect but very good lined up right point breaks or point break like waves that have a continuity in the way the wave is shaped, where the power exists, when there is power at all and in the average size of waves.
The boards that I like to call “modified transitional displacement hulls” evolved to ride these waves. I understand that there are surf spots throughout the planet that have elements of these waves and these designs will certainly work at some level at many of these breaks.
we have a few spots around here that fit Greg’s description. over the last couple of weeks I’ve had a chance to ride a hull and it’s given me a whole new level of stoke for surfing -not that I needed to get any more obsessed.
my friend JB likes to call me a closet hipster. pretty damn funny really since I’m not too keen on the hipster scene. the hull movement may on the surface seem to be associated with the hipster scene. JB -I’m a hipster OK. I admit it.
I have always been interested in culture that exists on the fringes. the thing about the whole Hull thing is that there’s all this back story to it. some of it real and some fictional.
there’s a deeply rooted culture around the design aspects of the board. for me, what really validates the ‘cultural’ movement is the fact that it’s not commercialized. sure you have to buy a board from someone who knows how to make them, but aside from the equipment the rest of the visual and written information about Hulls lives on personal blogs and in magazine articles like the one that appeared in TSJ Vol. 15 No. 2.
I chose these photos to show how much rail is buried in the wave when turning on a hull.
the thin rails, flat rocker and rounded or hulled bottom make the board sit in the water as opposed to plane on top of the water like a modern board with concave and rails with edge.
if you watch closely you’ll notice that a lot of people out in the water are focusing their attention to turning off the tail and fins. there’s nothing wrong with that except that it often lacks speed. I see very few guys surfing off their rails with speed and control. the irony is that being able to surf off the rail is what truly allows you to maintain speed through the turns. the modern thrusters have made boards really ‘loose’ and easy to surf but perhaps it makes it harder to learn basics like rail surfing.