As a shaper I find it very important to ride all different types of boards including ones I might not have shaped myself. What makes a surfboard work well is the combination of rail shape, fin placement and rocker in regard to the waves you're testing the board in. There's a board in my quiver that usually seems to stick out more than most. It may be partly due to its unusual appearance or the sheer fact that most surfers in America haven't actually seen one in person (especially in NY). The board I'm speaking about is my Flex-Tail Fish shaped by the masterful hands of Mick Mackie. Its evident that Mackie was largely inspired by the flex spoons of George Greenough and the radical "Winterstick" of Dimitri Milovich (who's snow surf designs, made for mountains, referenced the outlines and movements of surfers). The most interesting part about this board is the concept of adaptive rocker. The flex range of the tail tips intuitively adapt to the wave your surfing, making it a great board for a very wide range of waves. The more critical the wave or the harder the turn, the more flex you get. Its as if the board has a personality of its own. As something flexes it stores energy which is then released, when the pressure of the resistance is released. It feels like the board is boosting speed with every swoop, a feeling much easier understood when the board is under your feet. Mick Mackie is an amazing shaper making boards in Ulladulla New South Whales, Austrailia. His flex tails are an amazing marriage of concepts that have come full circle, borrowed and reborn into a class of their own. The legend that is Mick has been featured in Andrew Kidmans book/film "Lost in Ether". In my opinion he is one of the most innovative board builders around today. If you don't know of him you might consider adjusting your focus because you're missing out on some of the most interesting stuff that has graced surfing quite some time.
(Below; Old photos from 09', out front of Mollusk Surf Shop in Brooklyn, the first day I received the board in the mail from Richard Kenvin via Kirk Gee the legend behind Consafos Press.)
After being blown away by the feeling of this board back in 09', I made these fins for it in order to compliment the idea of "stored energy and flex" and that they did....really well.