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As a surfer, Gordon saved many a wiped-out surfer from grief when he developed the first leg-rope. Sure, it was a primitive device by today’s standards, but anybody who has had to scramble over the rocks at Burleigh Heads on a big day owes Gordon a schooner.
In 1973 Gordon and Rena Merchant began producing handmade boardshorts under their flat overlooking his beloved Burleigh. They were tough as teak, able to withstand not only the elements, but also able to absorb the sort of punishment that local juniors Guy Omerod and Rabbit Bartholomew would put those first issued trunks through.
From those humble beginnings, Billabong was born.
During the 80’s Billabong went International, firstly exporting to California, Japan, New Zealand and Europe and then finally licensing, but only after each international licensee had achieved Gordon’s benchmark of dedication, honesty and prudent business savvy.
Gordon surrounded himself with some of the finest minds in the industry, both in Australia and abroad, who helped steer the good ship Billabong on a course which would take Billabong to the helm of the world surfing.
In the water, surfers of the calibre of Joe Engel, Mark Occhilupo, Luke Egan, Wayne Bartholomew, Munga Barry, Shane Dorian, Taj Burrows, Sunny Garcia and the late Ronnie Burns have given Billabong international credibility, not to mention Worldwide exposure.
Billabong is involved in many promotions, but one thing that underpins the respect the company enjoys in the marketplace, is Billabong’s commitment to pro boardsports and its team riders. Billabong sponsors many events around the world, with a heavy emphasis on Junior athlete development, but the Jewels in the Crown are The Billabong Pro contests held at Teahupoo, Tahiti and Jeffreys Bay in South Africa.
We've been doing this since 1973, follow along and know the feeling. Shop here for some quality wetsuits and surf accessories.
THERE ARE MANY ASPECTS TO SURFBOARD SELECTION THESE ARE THE POINTS TO CONSIDER
Typically surfboards are measured in inches. The length is measured from the nose to the tail. Choosing the length of the surfboard is dependant on your size (weight, height), board type and waves conditions you wish to use the board for.
The widest point of the surfboard is measured from rail to rail. Generally the wider the surfboard the more stable the board, while a board with smaller width maintains better speed and performance.
Surfboard thickness is measured from the top deck to the bottom. The thickness again has a bearing on the board’s performance. Professional surfers will tend to go for the thinner boards as they are lighter and offer better performance.The thicker boards are stronger and because there is more foam under the surfer the boards are more stable.
The bottom curve of a surfboard. Generally the more rocker the surfboard has the more loose (manoeuvrable) the surfboard will be. Where the flatter rocker surfboards will be faster, although they will lack the looseness. The nose is the tip of the surfboard, the nose can vary in shapes and size. Basically the thinner the nose the more response the board will perform, while wider noses are better for stabilization.
Used to increase the strength of a surfboard, a stringer (normally made from wood) runs down the length of a surfboards (typically in the centre of the board from the tip of the nose to the tail).
Boards built with Epoxy, Carbon Fibre and soft boards generally don’t have stringers.
Generally heavier surfers require larger fins to hold the waves better. Although if you prefer to ride a looser (less hold in the waves), smaller fins would be a better option.
Fin configurations have an effect on the ways your surfboards perform.
The following are some of the more common fin configurations.
The single fin was the original fin configuration for surfboards. Based on the idea of the sailboat keel. Single fins are added stabilization and control on the powerful, larger waves, although lack manoeuvrability
Are great for small waves, being fast and manoeuvrable, but when put into tight spots on larger waves, they become hard to control. Popular with Fish surfboards.
THRUSTER 3 FIN
Widely recognized as the standard fin configuration, the thruster answers the shortcomings of the single fin and the twin fins configurations.
The thrusters give you stabilization, control and manoeuvrability in all types of surfing conditions.
This concept was the brainchild of Australia’s Simon Anderson
QUADS 4 FINS
With four fins in the water, Quads boasts an extraordinary amount of holding power in larger surf.
You may think that having four fins would sacrifice speed by creating more drag, but this is not the case.
The both sets of fins are working together on the rail, which makers believe they creates less drag than a board with a centre fin.
The manoeuvrability isn’t sacrificed either, with fins directly under your back foot, the quads are very responsive.
Similar setup to the Twin Fin, although smaller (low profile) fins are generally placed wider (closer to the rails) on the surfboard.
Popular with Fish and Egg / Retro surfboards.
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