Surf’s biggest influencer publishes era-defining surfboards capsule, “Hybrids disgust me. Modern surfing is an escape from the way we make it easy, easier, even easier. They ruin the soul of the art form.
VALS encouraged not to apply …
Necessity may be the mother of all invention, but when it comes to reinventing, Derek Hynd is a dad.
Hynd has worn so many hats over the past five decades that it can be hard to keep up.
Competitor. Writer. Coach. Director of the competition. Administrator. Defender of free friction.
There is a field of constant movement. A whirlwind of progression.
But look deep enough into the chaos and common threads will emerge.
The latest iteration: Hynd, the surfboard shaper.
Launch of 4/3/21 HyndLine.com will offer a series of thirty models of hand-shaped boards – or codes – representing 30 years of its progression in surfing from 1973 to 2003.
Ten shaped boards per code. Creations by the Campbell Brothers, Terry Fitz, Tom Parrish, Skip Frye, to name a few. All remodeled by Hynd.
Three hundred in total. Just over two thousand Australian dollars each.
Hynd’s career on fins, like surfing.
But here’s the catch: all the boards will be reproduced as they were fashioned at the time. No modern modifications or concessions. Faithful reproductions meant to be mounted warts and all.
It certainly doesn’t sell to the modern dilettante surfer accustomed to forgiving all-rounders and easy riders. But according to Hynd, that’s the point.
“These planks are true to shape and primarily require learning and acceptance, as most of these planks are not easy-to-pop pieces of sponge cake,” says Hynd. “It’s how I’ve always liked it, and how most modern surfers don’t like it.”
It may seem like a swerve on a straight lane. Who cares if Joe Blogs wants an easy runner for his weekend?
As with all of Hynd’s projects, HyndLine is part of an organic yet linear narrative, both in his own evolution as a surfer, and in his commentary on the current state of affairs.
“Hybrids, especially fish hybrids, disgust me. Modern surfing is an escape from the way we make it easy, easier, even easier. Hybrid cards do. They ruin the soul of the art form. Switch to the soft rails at the leg ropes to grip the cushion to the tail blocks at the pilot’s easy rockers, as well.
Hynd traces this gentle path back to the literal anchor of modern surfing: the palm.
“Tom Blake’s first skeg was a waste of surfing. the advent of the Americana of surfing, how to make things easier despite the nuances of difficulty and the challenges of mastery, which had left surfing for a few thousand years rightly unique to human activities. He didn’t need to be dazed. “
It’s a perspective that puts the seeming militancy of Hynd’s endless initial response into context.
“This is my seventeenth year to ride only on free frictions. I still feel the speed, I still have a thrill. The reason we got into this had a lot to do with stepping away from predictable board design as much as possible (as much as possible).
“I’m now going the other way, to harness what I knew so well before the easier toys took over. Give me everyday mistakes and the hard times that go with them, but give me something to work on.
Hynd has the knowledge. He’s been through all of the major design evolutions since the early 1970s. Ridden most of them too.
“I’ve never sat on a design,” Hynd says. “Once the tour was over and I took J-Bay seriously, I had enough of us to plug into the boards left by other people and come up with new ones. I’m coming back to improve my surfing. Lots of lost lightning can be found there.
This is the heart of Hynd’s agitations.
The common thread of its many facets. Use the past to inform the future. Whether it’s competitive formats or card design, many of the questions we face today have already been answered in one form or another, if only we looked.
“Anyone shouting bullshit that now is better at design than then hasn’t taken into account the fact that Impossibles doubles from six to eight feet with an 8’2” Parrish under your feet. The way it swiveled from the bottom and then stuck in a fin fin in the pocket, sliding over the foam ball, then biting into a locked groove… I’ve never felt so peaceful in a tough situation.
This extreme specificity at a particular time is the common thread you will find in these designs, which range from 4’10 “to 11’1”.
“Each of these HyndLine boards articulated on something unique. I know surfers under fifty insist modernity is king, but remember something. Simon sacrificed his master tube work, especially on the backhand with the layback hook, when he invented The Thruster. And then there’s the MP weaving, cargo training with unparalleled jitterbug precision, the TF, MR, and GT soul arch stretching over it, Sixteen-year-old Cheyne hanging out in pits like we’ve never seen again, Richo does everything in Black Rock on his chains, Kong the monster boy rewiring the works, Mikey Meyer gun riding at any size J-Bay, with a much better line than n ‘ any modern surfer. Why go back? “
It’s the ascetic quirks of the designs that excites Hynd the most.
“At the end of the day, the difficulty factor in wiring a card is the best thing for me. The eleven foot that Rich Pavel made to my instructions, ironing board, late 1950s elephant gun outline but with a tight swallow, was impossible to ride at first, until I changed my mind . It’s been my favorite board for over twenty years, first with fins, then without. Hilarious.”
Hynd is suspicious of the details of the remaining 29 codes, though he’s sketched them all out. And like any good shaper, he will test the job. Which also means that, for the first time in seventeen years, the fins will be back.
“I’m still in free friction, but not for long. One in ten boards made each year will be sold with dirty wax.
HyndLine is not just an altruistic gesture towards the world of surfing. Boards don’t come cheap. Dad has to eat. But a portion of the sale of each code will go to the original shaper.
It’s a fitting tribute to the avant-garde in the world of board design.
Mitchell Rae. Rod Dahlberg. Greg Webber. Roger Erickson. Bruce McKee. Col Smith. Again, to name a few.
And while it will never have any appeal to the general public, the conversations it should initiate around board design will be invaluable to the surfing world as a whole.
“Why HyndLine? I guess the historical record, knowledge, is the impetus. To bring what I knew then to what I know now is reason enough. Providing real, unmodified boards to anyone interested in traveling with me seems worthy enough, be it a person or a ton.