Far be it from anyone to say that we don't try to educate on all things surf here at The Bunker. So along with the normal 'what's going on today' and 'consumer blurb', here is a bit of interesting surf history about a guy who probably influenced surfing more than anyone on the planet, yet did not surf and had probably never even heard of surfing.
Intrigued? So was I.
The long story involves the Mafia, rum runs, boat chases and the other cool stuff, but knowing that most of you have the attention span of a walnut I will attempt to sum it up for you.
Lindsay Lord or Professor Lord I should say was a naval architect with an MIT degree in the 1920's. He was employed by the Mafia to design uber fast speed boats that could out run the Coastguard boats of the time. The boats he designed were successful and were used in rum runs from Cuba to Florida during prohibition in the States. He either did not mind getting his hands dirty or had little choice and wanted to keep all his digits.
During World War 2, he was employed by the US Navy, relocated to Pearl Harbour, Hawaii and given a blank cheque to design fast, manoeuverable boat hulls. The man was a genius and made a number of models that he towed in the water and measured the resistance of each. What he was looking for was the perfect aspect ratio. He found it. He wrote a book, publishing all of this called 'The Naval Architecture of Planing Hulls', a copy of which never left the side of a now well known shaper, Mr Bob Simmons.
Bob pioneered surfboards that were 10-15 years ahead of their time, and was one of the first people to look at balsa, ply, foam and fibre-glass as a means of board construction. His boards all carried the planing hull calculations made first by Prof Lord, a feature that was lost in surfboard design shortly after his early death in 1954, at Windensea, while surfing.
To cut to the chase, all performance and traditional equipment in some way owe a 'tip-of-the-hat' to Professor Lord and all incorporate his calculations. He was a man we know little about and probably never surfed.
Today, two shapers who work using his designs and who are professed students of his work are Daniel 'Tomo' Thompson and asymmetric guru, Ryan Burch. While Tomo is trying to bring these designs to the masses, Burch prefers an ongoing experimental approach which incorporates asymmetric design.
There is a lot more to this story, but I will have to save it for a Part 2 as I can hear some of you snoring already. Shoot us a comment if you want to know more on this or read more articles like this, otherwise we can all go back what we know people want to read, like guessing the colour of Alana's pants or taking bets on when Gabriel will lose his virginity.