The Heritage Range has been evolving since the beginning.
That was October 1980, when down at North Narrabeen Beach between the car park and the surf club, I spotted Frank Williams with something different.
A twin fin with a 1 inch stub at the back, this was the spark that directly lead to boards with 3 equal sized fins.
Anyway that’s another story you can read about it in the book Thrust written by Tim Baker.
The Heritage Range is a throwback to the formative years 1980 through to 1984 when the Thruster was first of all accepted and then evolved.
We, (the board making industry), have moved on since then a ridiculous amount, to the point of pretty much going full circle with a lot of retro and hybrid style boards becoming popular.
The reason for this is a common summation that the high performance Thrusters and Quads have gone beyond the abilities of a large percentage of the surfing population.
Kelly Slater led the push for smaller, low volume, ultimate or high performance craft from as early as the 1990’s.
And I think pretty much everyone has had a shot at this style of board over the years with mixed success.
I know personally my surfing has remained at a level that I’m happy with, despite my advancing age (64 now), as a result of adapting the latest high performance shapes to my lower performance needs (adding volume).
Trying to surf the latest WSL proven performance boards is not the way to go for us mere mortals.
And that is what has fuelled the move to more user-friendly surfboards.
So in line with that, after 38 years, it’s as good a time as any to reintroduce 80’s style Simon Anderson 3 fin Heritage boards.
The idea of the Heritage program is to reignite your 80’s experience and feelings within your own surfing from that period.
Or if you missed that time (1980’s) in surfing to now introduce you to the feel of surfing from the era of your Father, Mother, Uncle or Aunty.
Pretty much everyone who surfed through the 80’s has a story of their first good Thruster.
That is the first 3 fin board that took them to a new level in surfing.
It may have been providing a stable but still manoeuvrable and fast Thruster alternative to their zippy and loose Twin Fin, or new spark and hold through turns compared to their reliable Single Fin.
When I look back at old ’80’s Thruster boards they at first appear cumbersome and unsophisticated.
But on closer inspection you can see the subtleties of design within the low rocker, deep vee, thicker nose and tail, flat deck and low chunky rail.
All the elements that define the period.
The new shapes in the Heritage range feature all the same elements of design but wherever I feel the need there are slight adjustments and improvements ?
Hopefully I would like to recreate the feel of the 80’s but soup it up a little.
These boards are meant to be surfed and are not collectors items.
I’ve done a lot of work over the years refining prototypes to this style of board.
At times not working to a definitive plan but just going over older elements as a design exercise.
In particular vee bottoms in association with plan shape, rocker, rails etc.
I’ve always felt that we hadn’t completely nailed the vee bottom Thruster before the next couple of jumps in board evolution.
That is primarily 4 and 6 channel and the concave bottom innovations.
In the Heritage range I’ve taken my ’81 quiver as the starting point –
- 6’1 double flyer Rounded Square targeting 1 to 3 feet surf,
- 6’2 single flyer Rounded Square for 3 to 5 feet (both these boards are on display at Onboard Mona Vale) and
- 6’6 Rounded Square step up or semi gun for 6 foot plus (this board on loan at the Surf Coast Museum Torquay Vic).
I’ve been reproducing these ’81 Original boards as full-shapes, or replicating them as near as possible on the AKU software primarily as Charity projects and the occasional Collectors item.
So it wasn’t a great leap forward to refining/developing this similar style Heritage range.
The double flyer rounded square (DFRSQ) and single flyer rounded square (FRSQ) are essentially the same as the Original boards.
The Heritage step up flyer rounded pin (FRP) is a slightly different tangent to the Original 6’6, which has no flyer and a widish rounded square.
Flyer rounded pins have been around from the outset.
Some of my mates back in the day were round-pin specialists, so we made boards in ’81 to keep this fringe group happy.
I chose the FRP as the Heritage step-up tail because I wanted to keep the flyer on all boards across the range.
The flyer definitely has an impact on performance.
Good or bad the jury has always been out, but I think it defines the era and maybe compliments these boards.
Anyway feels good to me so far and I guess I wanted to appease the rounded-pin lovers.
I think it’s easiest to go through the design elements 1 x 1 and state the differences from the 2019 Heritage to the Original ’81 quiver boards;
- Rails – are similar boxy with a flat deck but not quite so low and a little softer, the rail through the tail is not so low and pinched.
- Plan shape – is similar but in general not quite as wide in the tail with flyers in a similar position.
- Rocker – nose rocker is pretty much identical and the tail rocker is medium as opposed to low in the ’81 boards.
- Vee – is moderate as opposed to deep in the original with the apex in the same place around the front of the forward fin position.
- Fins – the first boards had the fins way back, something like 2⅝ and 9¾ to 10. The fin placement on the new boards is 3¼ and 10¾. You can use your regular fin template with confidence.
- Thickness distribution is similar to the old boards with a beak nose and thicker tail.
From my experience I think the key point is that you can surf more volume in the Heritage range than your regular high performance concave all-rounder board. This is because of the vee bottom helping in the rail to rail transition, and also to initiate the sinking of the rail in turns.
The general rule of thumb is not surprisingly – better surfer same volume, average surfers can add a bit but keep in mind the rail is boxy so don’t go too thick. You can expect a board that feels good to paddle, is silky smooth in the turns with reasonable speed and hold.