late 60's experimental shape. heavily influenced by the smaller v-bottom boards the aussies were riding during that time. this board features a not so subtle tri-panel vee that grows into a hard vee right behind the tail. bob mctavish gives a great explanation of the function of vee in fantastic plastic machine. vee basically allows the surfer to control the board from the mid section. eliminating the need to walk back to the tail to turn. making the board more maneuverable and allowing the rider to place it in the more critical places on a wave.
i am under the impression that this particular board was only made for a short period of time. by 70' and 71' boards had become considerably smaller, likely making designs like this obsolete at the time. being that is an ' 'experimental' board im not sure how many were shaped. ive attempted to research it. apparently the strato series was a series of weber experimental boards from the late 60's. several versions were done according to the waves of particular regions (hawaii, east coast, and california).
i found this board on craigslist. i called the number and spoke to a gentlemen for some time before realizing that it was my parents next door neighbor of 15 years. he had a few of his old surfboards that he was trying to sell, this being one of them. on my next visit home, i stopped by to see tommy and check out the board. we visited for a short while, during which he told me all about his boards and surfing/living on the outer banks during the 60's and 70's. tommy bought the board brand new in 1969 from a hardware store in virginia beach. he said it was the first 'shortboard' he'd ever seen. it originally came with a greenough style fin but he rode it with a smaller fin, shaped like a porpoise's dorsal fin. both of which have been lost. he told me the board nose rides great and that it was fun to make the tail slide out and do 360's with the smaller fin.
i've only ridden the board once since i've gotten it. stomach high waves on a very full tide.it wasn't the best day to judge. my first impressions were that it paddled like a board of a much bigger size. i had never ridden a vee bottom before, or not one this pronounced. you can feel the board shifting from panel to panel. almost teetering as you shift weight from rail to rail. i dug rail a few times because of this (likely combo-ed with the fatness of the surf). all though the conditions were not ideal it was still a ton of fun. very different.
crazy bat wing tail.
tommy and the strato-series. note his fingers reaching over the nose. he called my attention to it as i was taking the picture, saying that he and his friends used to trip out over the fact that the board was short enough to do so.
rang in the new years at the soapbox yet again. friends in the love language, gross ghost and last years men provided the tunes. the crowd was good. libations tasty. total success. i was well reminded of something eric of posterhound family workshop said on this same evening last year. "we are lucky to have such a talented group of friends". time and time again it proves to be true. whether it be music, art, athleticism, etc etc. i am glad to be present and bare witness. thanks for the entertainment guys.