Go check out the surfboard section of your local shop and then try to make the case that retro-style surfboards aren’t making an impact on surfing. Everything from twin-fin “fish” to 70s single-fins to mid-60s longboards are taking up at least a-third of the surfboard stock at most shops. In Southern California you can’t have a paddle without seeing a guy on a fish, or a 70s style gun, or an 80s replica thruster. In 2004 these boards surpassed the status of “trend” and it became obvious that they’ve become part of the fabric of surfing … again.
This movement is the product of a few things: Rob Machado, Joel Tudor, and Dan Malloy embracing older equipment in front of the lenses of surf mag staff photographers; a larger surf population with the money to afford resin tints, hand-made wooden keel fins, and twelve-hundred dollar longboards; and a reignited interest in the history of surfboard riding. It’s almost as if the greater voice of surfing has switched tones. Five years ago it was saying, “Airs are cool. It doesn’t matter what they look like, just do airs.” Now the voice is going, “Yeah, yeah, everyone can do an air. How about a turn?”-J.P.