Corky on Surfboard designers
by Corky Carroll
Everybody loves to talk about their favorite surfers and who is doing, or has done, what in the sport of surfing. But there is way more to it than just those who are riding the waves and winning the contests. There are those who dedicate their lives to the craft of building, designing and refining the boards that they, and we, ride. And each year International Surfboard Builders Hall of Fame recognizes a select few to be inducted into this extremely exclusive fraternity. This year is the twentieth anniversary of the ISBHOF and the induction ceremony is slated for this Saturday morning, October 19th at 9 AM. The site is the Pier Plaza on the north side of the Huntington Beach Pier. Admission is free and it will be well worth showing up for if you are a surfer, a fan of surfing or just want to attend something cool on a fall morning.
This years inductees represent one of the strongest groups to date. Leading off with my lifetime pal Mark Martinson, 1965 United States Surfing Champion and one of the coolest dudes to ever ride or shape a surfboard. Mark grew up in Long Beach and was one of the best surfers in the world thru the 1960’s and early 1970’s. He moved to the North Shore of Oahu in the mid 70’s where he worked as a commercial fisherman and started shaping surfboards. He eventually became one of the most respected shapers on the planet and had his own signature model with Robert August Surfboards in Huntington Beach as well as shaping zillions of production boards that went through the factory in the 1990’s.
Next up would be one of the most famous shapers of all time, none other than Dick Brewer himself. Another Long Beach dude, Dick also moved to Oahu and burst onto the seen in the 1960’s with Surfboards Hawaii. He would later design and build a line of big wave boards for Hobie, the legendary Hobie Dick Brewer guns. I had one of these and can attest that it was the state-of-the-art big wave board of its time. Jeff Hackman won the first Duke Kahanamoku Invitational on one of them in 1965. After that he had runs of shaping for Harbour Surfboards in Seal Beach and with Bing Surfboards in Hermosa Beach. He was a huge influence in the development of too many top name shapers to even try to list here and has remained a “go to” guy for big wave boards.
Also getting the nod this year is one of my favorite people ever in surfing. Lance Carson. This would take a book, so I am just going to say that Lance is without a doubt one of the best surfers, shapers and by far one of the most colorful dudes EVER in surfing. Period.
From Huntington Beach comes two classic shapers and surfboard innovators. Herbie Fletcher and Carl Hayward. Herbie is one of the really true individuals in surfing, I love this guy. He was a year or two behind me at Huntington Beach High School and already an incredible surfer by the time he was in his mid-teens. I recruited him for the Hobie Surf Team where he gravitated towards Phil Edwards type speed boards. Although he was successful in the surfing competitions in California he was looking for more “juice” in his life and also moved to the North Shore. It was there he learned to shape and design boards as well as refining his own free flowing surfing style, known for his amazing ability to “side slip” in just about any type of condition. He would go on to be one of the first to take a jet ski out and ride giant waves on the offshore reefs, refine surfboard “deck patches” with his own company “Astrodeck,” make a series of surf movies promoting his products, have two sons that have become legends in their own right (Christian and Nathan) and become a sought after artist with a recent showing at a well-known gallery in New York City. Herbie is full tilt and just keeps coming.
Carl Hayward was a local hot surfer in the lineup at the Huntington Beach Pier and would open his own shop and shape his own line of boards back in the early 1970’s. He was one of the few combo expert surfers as well as expert shapers. His most recognized contribution to surfboard design was his “Rocket Fish,” which was his own take on the “twin fin” design and is still a valid part of surfboard technology even today. Carl was not only a great surfer and shaper but was incredibly popular with everybody that ever was lucky enough to meet him. One of those people who died way too young.
Bill Frierson is another guy who came up surfing on the Hobie Surf Team with us back in the mid 1960’s. He lived in Virginia Beach on the East Coast and represented the Smith and Holland Hobie shop there. In 1967 he started shaping for Wave Riding Vehicles (WRV) and that began what is now an incredible career of building boards that is 52 years long and still going. Bill and his wife live and continue to make boards in the Outer Banks area of North Carolina.
Rounding out the list is Nev Hyman. This is a guy that I really don’t know that much about on a personal level but have respected from a distance. From Western Australia, got well known building boards in Queensland in the 1970s and known for a great sense of humor as well has his shaping talents, stuck with it for decades and finally hit it big with “Firewire” Surfboards in the past ten years.
That’s it, bit class this year. Hope you make it to the ceremony.
CORKY CARROLL firstname.lastname@example.org
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