Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Shaping Change on Waves

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Shaping Change on Waves

Article excerpt

Byline: Bill Hoffman

THE next big thing in surfing may have emerged from a shaping shed at Cooroy.

Certainly, the design world gets the possibilities of the Seaglass Project Tuna, awarding former Surfing Magazine Shaper of the Year Tom Wegener with an Australian International Design Award last week.

Wegener drove the finless alaia board rediscovery, which has seen state, national and international competitive divisions created to accommodate it.

Backed by manufacturing giant Global Surf Industries, he is now counting on the design award for the Tuna helping the surfing public understand not only the elements that make it work, but also what a practical board it is.

Wegener says the new boards were designed to provide the general surfing community access to the special feel of the thin timber alaia craft, which only a few can surf.

When he won the shaper of the year accolade in 2009, he told Surfing Magazine that he hoped his legacy to the sport would be that people remembered him as the guy who brought alaia boards back.

The thicker, more buoyant Tuna boards, made of EPS foam, will open a whole new direction for the sport.

They tail slide quickly into a parallel track and, with no fin drag, develop real speed quickly.

Surfed off rails that flex and a bottom-shape that sucks onto the wave surface, Wegener says they take the sport to a three-dimensional level where just about anything is possible.

Importantly, they are as fun to surf on messy on-shore days as they are in perfect point conditions and a lot easier for the average rider to surf.

In complete contrast to what holds true for traditional finned surfboards, shorter Tunas (5'3a, 160cm) work better in waves over head height than the longer moder (6'2a, 187cm), which are more suited to waves below that height.

The boards are only 17a (44cm) wide, but at 2.5a (6cm) thick are more buoyant than the thin alaias and much easier to catch a wave.

aFor me, I can ride any surfboard in the world,a Wegener said. …

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