The “Hot Curl” was a board shape created in 1937 on Oahu by Honolulu surfer John Kelly. A finless predecessor to the big wave gun, it represents the first customized surfboard constructed exclusively for riding larger surf. Reshaped from “plank” surfboards, these boards had narrow vee-bottom tails that held in larger, more critical surf conditions. So named for keeping the rider in the hot part of the curl. “John Kelly, Wally Froiseth, Fran Heath and later, Woody Brown and George Downing, were among a small group who all but invented big-wave surfing at Makaha in the 1940s and early ‘50s while riding “Hot Curls.”
The Performer “was the first surfboard given a model name, and is the most popular single surfboard model in history.” Shea Weber believes the reason “the Performer is so popular is this: my dad and Harold (Iggy) had a goal, to design one board that would work for a variety of people in a variety of conditions. Shea estimates that over 10,000 Performers were produced from 1966-68, and he has built over 5,000 more since 1994. He’s seen many vintage Performers priced from $1,000 to $10,000 but they hold a different value for him, “because of what that board means to the history of our company and the history of surfboard design. My dad would be so stoked that the brand is still around, still family owned, and that the Performer is still our best selling board.”
Pictured here is Kelly Slater’s "Millennium" board. Kelly Slater has won 11 World Titles on Al Merrick and Channel Islands surfboards. Then there are his 55 World Tour wins, seven Pipeline Masters victories, and 19 Surfer Poll Awards. Kelly arguably remains the world’s best surfer to this day.
"The driving force behind Channel Islands Surfboards is the demand on design created by the world’s greatest surfers, allowing for the highest performance surfing possible. To provide the most dedicated surfers with the most advanced, performance designs is my passion" – Al Merrick, Designer/Shaper
An Excerpt from the Surf Documentary, "BoardRoom - Legends of Surfboard Shaping".Watch on Youtube
A conversation about surfboards, with Eric Arakawa, Matt Biolos, Darren Handley, Britt Merrick, and Rusty Preisendorfer.Watch on Youtube
This film explores the thinking of Tom Blake, one of the great pioneers of surfing in the early and mid part of the 20th century.Watch on Youtube