While we never set out to make this new design/shape into a new model, we are super happy with the current iteration and the few design tweaks we have made to the shape since the very first iteration.
I had felt the need for something to handle the beach breaks of the Northern Rivers of NSW over the Winter of ’23. Something that took some of the best parts of our Mid VISH that everyone knows and loves, but update things like rocker, plan shape, fin setup, almost everything! LOL
As with most of our boards, we wanted to keep the rolled entry in the nose as we know how well it grips the wave face and helps the board climb and drop, effortlessly creating speed in the process, ala our Mid VISH. After I had been riding a few different shapes from a close friend, we landed on a slight chine in the nose which would help us keep the rolled rail within the entry, but also incorporating a slight concave in between those chines, helping the water enter and immediately get under the board creating lift for the rider. This entry concave also flattens the rocker through the middle of the board in the nose, better paddling, but the chine allows the rail to have more rocker, so will handle steeper drops and also not bog down when hitting the surface of the water.
We then see a classic single to double concave starting before the fins, with a predominant vee also starting about 2/3 down the board, with the crown of said vee being right in front of your rear foot, helping the rider to effortlessly control not only rail to rail transitions but also the transition from being on the front foot hammering down the line, to moving weight to your back foot to engage the fins and rail and really lay into your turns. All while knowing you have a nearly infinite amount of hold on tap from a vee bottom, not just sliding around on a concave on top of the water.
We have 2 different fin configurations available. First one is a twin plus trailer, MR style. This version surfs everything and does it with the same twin fin flow you might be used to from surfing a Mid VISH, just with a more performance based approach, handling beachies and crumbling waves a whole lot better.
The next is a quad version which is aimed at much better, steeper waves. Not only just for reefs and overseas trips, this version also loves tubing waves at home and anything with a touch more open face to really feel the drive and speed that comes from the split-keel quad setup.
As we were super happy with the very first rendition, with it naturally being a hand shape, I took it straight into the CNC machine room and used our analogue probe to physically scan it to our KKL Machine for replication. The KKL machine is a vastly different shaping machine than many newer, more “advanced” options in the current market. More of a “replicator” than a CAD shaping machine, it needs a master hand shape to physically scan (with a probe) into the database. From there you can feed in your desired length, width and thickness and it will scale everything proportionally in relation to the master hand shape scan. Nothing is ever designed on a computer with the KKL machine, it exists purely as a tool to replicate hand shapes when one is happy with the design.
Once scanned in, we then cut our first one at the same dimensions as it was scanned, and check to see if all the design elements have translated into the replica. The KKL system gets it to about 99% in our experience, and that is light years ahead of any modern day CAD software we have used to try and replicate Hutcho’s hand shapes. Everything is there; rocker, planshape, rail feed and profile, bottom shape (concave, roll etc).
Once I had ridden the original, I figured it actually needed a slightly shallower swallow tail which would create more surface/planing area/float through the tail. The next one I rode, which was that first cut off the machine, felt a lot faster off the takeoff and seemed to hold a touch better through turns also, not wanting to dig into the water and pivot as much as the original.
The original was also a straight up twin setup, upright style MR twins. I felt this lacked a little drive off the bottom if the waves weren’t super pushy, so I ended up glassing some twin keels over the top of the plugs. this worked in achieving more drive, but it still felt a little unstable sometimes on the backhand or if the waves weren’t super clean on the face. With the first cut, I decided to utilise a quad setup to really take advantage of the Winter swells we were experiencing at the time. This unlocked the drive off the bottom and hold through tubes that I had been envisioning from the get go. Super stable off the bottom and under the lip, and never a chance of sliding out when coming hard off of a bottom turn and setting your rail for a full cutback. A winner.
After riding this quad setup for a few weeks, the waves started to lose some grunt while coming into Spring. What better time to try the next iteration with a twin setup with a stabiliser (ala MR style twin setup) This version I rode was 6’4″ with a little more meat and I immediately felt comfortable on this fin setup. It had the looseness of the twin fin we all know and love, but had the added drive and hold of a stabiliser fin in the middle, something which helps the twin fin feel a little more settled when coming off the bottom.
We have a 6'2" Quad and a 6'4" Twin in stock at the moment, as does Keel Surf down in Sydney. Go check one our for yourself!