A magic board is a valuable asset if you are lucky enough to have one.

In this case I met up with Fred Bass, long-time France Rip Curl main man from the Hossegor region. Fred showed me his quiver of Bottled Lightning Simon Boards, 1 in particular was the one.

His 5’10 19 7/8 2 ½ or 2⅜ thick in the concave at the stringer 30.4 litre board was magic for him.

This 5’10 was a stock board shaped by my finish shaper Jeremy at Euroglass and sourced from the rack in Surf Odyssey.

Surf Odyssey is located in the nearby light industrial suburb of Soorts just inland from Capbreton which is situated at the southern end of the Hossegor Lake.
Fred is stocky, middle aged, around 50 and fit, so the Bottled Lightning BL model suits him right down to the ground.
I checked out his quiver of BL’s including the magic 5’10 and the other 2 BL boards, a 6’0 19½  2½ 30.4 litres and 6’4 19½ 2½ 32.1 litres, the 6’0 and 6’4 boards were not displaying the same characteristics of hold thru turns and general good feeling as the 5’10.

Fred had narrowed it down himself noticing the difference in plan shape from the 5’10 to the other two boards.
The BL model was developed in association with Jay Thompson a number of years back and has since been discontinued, but remains popular in the US and Europe.

Jay preferred a tight tail wide nose BL and I was of the opinion that maybe a more balanced outline would be a better all-round model.
So I mixed up the styles within the same model framework with some select dimensions having one version, a Jay narrow tail wide nose, or the other style a Simon slightly narrower nose and slightly wider tail.

In short, the tight tail BL would surf up a little and the more balanced plan-shape BL would perform better in smaller, lighter surf.
Pretty unprofessional of myself but I figured market forces would sort it out.

Fred’s magic 5’10 was in the Jay alternate style design as it turns out, a bit of luck for him to be matched up with just the right ingredients.
Or maybe it was his good judgement in recognising that the Jay style BL would be good for his needs.
You never know if you’re on the right path necessarily to a magic board and sometimes fate can lend a hand, and in Fred’s case finding the Jay style Bottled Lightning model sitting in the rack at Odyssey was it.
From here Fred ordered step up style 6’0 and 6’4 BL boards, however they were designed in the more balanced outline style…..why I hear you ask??   I guess because of the tyranny of distance and the fact that the magic board was a stock board and I fell foul of my 2 version model ploy.
So I did what I thought was right with a beautiful balanced customised BL model design but they failed to be magic for Fred.

Anyway Fred is so enamoured with the old magic BL 5’10 that he has waited for me to turn up in France and we can now begin again.

I have the 5’10 board in hand and have retrieved the original file from the archives and submitted it along with a generated 6’4 and 6’8 Bottle Lightning file in an attempt to recreate and transfer the magic.

No guarantees, but we will see.

Moral of the story is stock boards can be magic too and the path to them can have a few twists and sometimes involve a bit of luck, but also don’t give up on a dream quiver.


5’10 looks frisky with pulled in roundtail & widish area nose


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