Sunday, February 4, 2018

Skip Frye, Gliders, from an interview

Skip Frye, Gliders, from an interview for an article about big boards in TSP, 2010:
Pardon typos and the like as it was just a transcription of an interview.
All the spots I surf are so expanded the paddling alone, the ****’s 300 yards,
I think it’s versatile, I think I ride tighter on a bigger board than a little board you out manuever yourself a lot on a shorter board, they’re so into up and down back and forth that they lose it. With a big board everything is really set
I think it expands your whole realm that you’re in the first time I took one out at ****, it was march of 90 when I made the first one, I had two breaks in my command at all times. I was going all the way to the beach. Which you can’t do on a shorter board, you don’t have the glide. You just get longer more complete rides,
If I see a set coming down the **** I could run over to the next break and grab the wave and then catch the set at another break down the line.
I didn’t want to get stuck in one place and wear out the welcome, kind of like the SUP guys are now. They’ve kind of taken the heat off of me. But I try to be conscience about that. Especially since I still dabble in shortboards.
I mostly do the cc sessions at the ****. Six breaks is a normal venture for me. I’ve done up to 14 breaks. All the way down to **** and then back up to ****. You probably could do twenty breaks if you decided to.
Riding 11’ and above boards got me into cross country surfing with all boards. It helped me get to know more breaks.
**** pretty toast, it ‘s gone through the stages. Back in the 70s it was pretty intense, then it kind of regressed and now it’s just packed with all the kids. I used to hang out there all the time, like in the 70’s I was like, this is it
People get locked into one wave and they don’t think about anything else, maybe it’s the social structure or friends but they forget to explore.
I just made a 7’11 fish. I kept taking my fish up. They’re normally 5-6 feet. Rawson made a 6’9 blank and as asoon as I saw it I was like, yeah maybe I can still do it. As I get older the 6’ realm is pretty much out of my comfort zone. I do’t even ride a 6’9 much anymore. That’s when I made the 7’11. I got a Japanese order for a 7’11 fish and I was kind of balked at it then when it came out I was like, wow! I ride it as a true keel.
I got into ****, but there was this one older guy who wouldn’t give an inch. I started to get an attitude but then I thought, forget it, I’m not going to get mad, so I paddled down to ****, and surfed the 7’11. Then some sup guy came down and started to take all the set waves. So I kept paddling down. It just kind of burned me on shortboards. It’s so much work and it’s just not as smooth and complete and flowing. And that’s a big part of my surfing.
I make boards for speed and flow and less resistance. That’s why you won’t find many boards with big round noses. They’re all kind of sleek and streamlined. It goes from Phil Edwards, who influenced me in the 60’s, that was his take. He used to say he wanted to make boards like a javelin.
Pintalil came from quigg, who was before Edwards. Quigg made the pintalil to get across Rincon and fit in the hollow sections there. Then from the islands…downing and all, we’re all reflections of each other as far as shaping and designing goes.
That was all stevie lis. He was the godfather of all that. I get a lot more credit for that whole movement then I should. I just saw stevie. He went faster than anyone I ever saw. In our realm. He’d pop off a turn and get like a hyperspace compared to everyone else. He'd just fly. I’ve always been a guy streamline speed and that captured my imagination all the way.
It was the early 90s. I was tired of the same old shapes. I studied Bob Simmons, and didn’t pay much attention to the history of design until I got older then my love of surfing took me to learning the history and the design and the whole makeup of the sport.
I learned about simmons and saw that he had the training and education and I looked at his boards. They’re all really straight. I was talking to Carl Ekstrom about Simmons and something that sticks in my mind is “nothing under a ten inch tailblock.” Cause any kind of curve you have on a board, rocker, template, contours, any curve you have means the slower it’s going to go. The straighter the faster. Curve helps you turn, but slows you down.
That’s were quigg and kivlin diverged from simmons. They wanted the manueverablility. And simmons wanted fast and straight ahead. I looked at simmons' principles, he was one of the first to use concaves and stuff. And I looked at the fish, and that’s really in line with simmons thinking. And over the course of a couple of months I thought about it and then put it together. I went to simmons min. 10” tailblock, first one was 9’3 with single, double, vee, then I was thinking about the fins as an anchor and decided to use a tri.
I’ve always thought that a tri with small profile fins are faster in a straight line than a 9’half inch single. I had an argument with parmenter about that one time.
I just started to outfit these boards with 2+1 s and tris.
That’s a whole new breakthrough. I just asked mike lobel who has the fin company, I just want smaller side bites. And he comes back with a drawing and he has two smaller ones, 3” and 3 and a quarter and he even makes two smaller 2.75 and 2.5 . And I was just about to go there and he beat me to it. So now I don’t even ride anything above 3 and a quarter. And as times progress, fin wise they’ve gotten smaller and smaller. I would say 75% of the surfing public is over finned.
With the alaia bordsa the fins are really in everyone’s minds. Quigg made phil Edwards a hot curl with no fins and a deep vee and phil stated that he wasn’t so sure that boards needed fins. And now we’re seeing these alai boards. I don’t know about those boards at sunset, you might need a little rocker, but it sure is interesting.
Today I rode an 11’3 and used a 6” fin and 2 ¾ sidebites. And it was plenty of fins.
The flatter a board is the less fin you need.
I’m probably experimenting now more than ever with rocker on the big board. I’ve never been an exact rocker afficianado. A little bit hrere, a little less there. But with the new blanks after Clark closed I've been changing rockers a bit and I’m finding I like a little more rocker. Just as long as I don’t lose speed. But with the bottoms the way they are, with the concaves through the denter. And my soft rails I like that.
I use those rails because I like the way they feed through the water. They negate chop and just flow better than the hard rail.
Greenough and simmons were similar in their hul design, a lot of spoon and roll up front to negate chop and weird undulations so everything spreads out so your boards travels on a smooth surface. I like a little roll up front. It just goes through the water in a smoother way. So the center concave is my way to add in lift and planing leading up to that soft roll in the front. It’s kind of yin yang. I don’t know it would probably go just as good flat!
I just made a 10’6 at 3” for a lady shaper. It’s probably one of the best 10’6 I ever rode. I glassed it light and it just cut through the water.
The first time I ever tripped on weight, I was about 150 and my daughter was about 50 pounds and I took her out on a beefy 8’er and it just bent and floated funny and I really tuned into how weight and volume have to be worked on in conjunction.
Lance Carson rides like me a bit so he dabbled with the big boards a bit. He’s kind of old school with the soft tail and rail. That’s the way Edwards was too. One of the last times I talked with him he looked at the rails and said, well, maybe this is the way to go. I’d like to sit down and talk to him about rails. All I know is oyu need the breakaway. Those curved rails kind of suck the water. It’s not my thing. I want speed and flow, a to z.
In ’68 when the shortboard revolution hit that’s when all the open mindedness hit. We really were all pretty standardized before that hit. Greenough set the tone for all of that both here and in oz. He’s probably had as much influence on the sport as anyone in the last 50 years, since simmons died.
GG looked at fins as tools of flex. He said we ought to be more like fish. It makes you more fluid, faster. In the old movies, the boards kind of clunk around, and part of that was fighting the fin.
I don’t especially spread the big boards to other shapers intentionally. Josh and others showed an interest and I was happy to share. You know we’re all reflections of one another. All my stuff didn’t come from me. I’m a reflection of brewer and hynson and lopez and Edwards and Carson and midget farrely
in fact the first bands I ever went wow, look at those bands, were a midget farrely boards. He was working for G&S for a while, he stopped right in the middle of his bands and went home for the night and I took a good look at them and just went wow! It definitely left an impression on my mind as far as how to put a rail together.
It hasn’t really gravitated. There was a little surge here. But more for the bigger guys, who finally got something that would take them along and they could paddle and manage. It’s a really sparce thing. I think most people want to focus on maneuverability. I like to do it too, but for me personally, the big boards are where I get the most pleasure.
Josh is about as close and Larmo dabbles a bit.
I made a few boards for a guy in France. In his country he’s like what I am in SD. When I was over there I made boards for him in 93. 94. He’s kind of followed up since then and I’ve made him a few more since then. In fact I made him an eagle just last year.
I don’t ride sketchy places. Most of the waves I ride are long walls.
It’s old style surfing. IT’s kind of like a lost art. It will probably disappar after a while. Trim being at the essence of the surfing experience. You’ve got to have a controlled, casual style to function with these boards.
First time I rode sunset, hynson made these 4 pintail guns, 106 106 108 1011, I’d never ridden sunset. I rode it the night before. The next morning in the contest I just wanted the most paddling I could get. I went out in my heat and just rode the biggest one I could. It was 65. I did get a drop, that’s all I remember.
Sunset is so expanded. To me I’d want a big board. Paddle power to get into it. The first time I saw sunset it was like a house rolling down a street. It was just like you were going to be run over by a house.
That’s one of my favorite rides on the big board. Above 6’ and a nice 300 yard ride. Longest wave I ever got there was **** to the other side of the canyon. On the 11’0 fish simmons.
I kind of have personal records for any spot, any spot with any length to it.
Rincon used to be my favorite spot, but there’s so many shortboarders it’s a whole nother ballgame. I’m kind of done. I’m not motivated to go up there so much. If I could stay a week or so and catch the in between times. I’ll probably do it again. After it get’s smaller and the shortboards dissapear it’s still pretty fun. It’s the most perfect wave I’ve ever surfed.
San o is my main travel place. July and August that’s what I think about.
Just don’t hog the waves. There’s guys that do. The young guys tend to no matter where you’re at
Never. I think the main thing Is the boards are so gross. The boards are not streamlined. I like streamlined. Those things are the grossest thing. To me it’s the pig farm. The best thing is that they rake the heat of fof me on my boards. They’re not really nice to watch. They’re just ugly. The best guy I’ve seen ride one is tudor, but he rides everyting well. It just doesn’t appeal to me at all. I want it simple. You’ve got two paddles, one on each arm. That’s all you need. I just don’t like it. I’m not against the guys that do it unless they abuse it.
Life’s short, ride longboards. In the overall scheme of the history of surfing, I like to think that I’m in tune with how the ancient Hawaiians might surf.
At one point scorp bay was a destination I thought I’d really like to do but now they’re building houses, and everyone goes, tis just like Malibu or Rincon. I’ve got my little realm and I’m pretty much satisfied with it.
It grabbed me like nothing has ever grabbed me in fifty years of surfing. It was the most dynamic thing that ever grabbed me that first eleven footer that I ever rode. And for three years that’s all I ‘d ride, 11-12. 10 nah, it’s too short, it’s just the sensation and the glide and the whole speed. Nothing ever held my attention and stoked me as much as that first three years in the early nineties with the big boards.
The first one was a big soft squaretail.
It has so much planing and paddling power compared to other shortboards. I tried some of those little shortboards a bit but didn’t know what to do with them. It’s just too hurky jerky to me
Our fish are pretty close. I just pretty much copied what he did. As fast as he went I didn’t need to change anything.
Pendo-He’s really cutting edge and experimental. Flextails and such.
I’ve tried just one quad, josh made me a quad. It came and went in the eighties but I never felt like revisiting. One thing is they’re faster, just straight ahead faster.
It’s fun to do. You don’t have to power out boards. For a lot of time it was overburdening to do. I had to get so many boards a day. Now it’s fun. I don’t burn my self out. Everyone is a little different and I like that. It’s been so established from the history of the sport. It’s probably more relished now then ever.

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