a jig John had to build to precisely remove a horrendous ill-repaired ding.
Matt Calvani claims Hap Jacobs claims Mickey Munoz was the first person to ride a Pig board. Apparently the first ride occurred at Manhattan Beach.
MB: Could you please describe the scene ...that board you rode in Manhattan beach.
Mickey Munoz: During the velzy paddle out, i have the 50's balsa velzy jacobs glassed by allan gomes. mickey sanded it in an open lot between two houses in venice for alan gomes.
9'8" or 9'7" i paddled it out. there were 100's of people in the water. i stayed out longer than everyone else. after my last wave i walked up the beach. hap was there, i walked up to hap and said....
this board..it actually works...hap metnioned that he and dale gave me the very first pig board we ever made, you went out and rode it and you were totally dazzled on how well it works. my performance on it solidified the design in their mind. its interesting that if you shrink the template down, it is essentially what contemporary boards are today.
MB: What events lead to the wide point being placed behind center?
MM: Im not totally sure. I believe dale originated that outline. i am not sure there was a real theory in mind. it made cents that when you trim a board you are centered, you stand up, you are slightly aft of center, you turn from aft of the boad...wether he thought that or not...he hadn't surfed in a while. he quit surfing in the very ealy 50's. he listened. he had a great eye for outlines. he was experimenting with different outlines. some of it was an effort to be different than the norm. try something different. he might of thought about it, i don't remember talking with him about the theory.
MB: It seems the pig board really gave birth to "hot dog" type surfing. It seems, given the fins back then, that the wide point back provided the template with this curve that has helped the boards turning ability. How do you feel about that?
MM: that could have been. up to that point, geoprge downing, people like that in hawaii, they were coming off the heavy redwood boards, you know the hot curl, finning was gettin going. hawaii was about controlling speed. were were about generating speed and then controlling it. here was kivlin and quigg, buzzy bent in la jolla. other surfers coming off the redwood , kook box design...the lighter balsa wood came around. in our case...we were riding malibu. one of the hottest curls in the world. the repitition gave us an opportunity to really see what is going on with a board. malibu gave us an opportunity to study the subtle aspects of board design. matt kivlin was a tall graceful surfer. he designed boards for his build. joe quigg was different in stature. he was a little more conservative in design. he was building boards for women. he was all about light weight. he built a 21 pound paddle boad that weighed a pound a foot. all this said, velzy is one of the first surfboard manufactures to make boards on a production scale. I personally surfing wise couldn't take credit for the surfing. Matt built more stream line boards for trim. malibu rincon statue-esk manner. joe was a little more animated because of his body type. there was a clientell that emulated him. then velzy came along and appealed to a younger clientel of riders...you know dewey was considereed one of the first hot dog type surfers. he could really turn a board. leslei williams at malibu was really laying the turns down. between the few freaks that werre that good. the pig boards were really responsible for introducing turing to the masses. its like what snowboard design did to ski's...so you are right..the pig board opened up the opportunity for the average surfer to turn like that 1 percent.
MB: Mickey, where did the pig board get its name?
MM: raddish, stupid out there outlines just to be dirferent. just like the stances were named after bull fighting.
I was saying something about that simmons board at the surfing heritage and you were saying.
During the early 50's, mid fifties say ..Matt Kivlin and Joe Quigg were building boards. They started making a board that worked better for Mailbu. that became the Malibu chip. It had the wide point forward. So then when Velzy started building boards he was using that same template type shape. He was building them with the wide point forward. In fact in 1955 when I went to Hawaii that was what I was riding. It was a good thing because a wide point forward worked better in Hawaii better than it did at the beach. Then Velzy was messing around and just took the template and turned it around. He put the wide point back and made the nose a little narrow. And that is how the pig came about.
I thought that someone said that putting the wide point back was an accident.
That some glasser put the fin on the wrong side.
I'm glad that happened. No..He did it on purpose to make the board surf better on beach breaks. Because that is where he lived. A beach break. So..that is what you shape the board for.
so when I came back from 2 years in the coast guard in 1957, he had the pig boards. I bought one of them in '58 and we went back to New Zealand. Well we sailed to Hawaii and we sailed to New Zealand with the pig boards.
yeah and that is that shot.i am honored by that. thank you for sharing that with me. Marc Andreini is working with me on this article and he is inconsistent with what you say about it. About how the wide point moved back.
well a lot of it is ...when you go back that far...50, 60 years...you take 2 or 3 guys that were at the same place at the same time and you are going to get different stories from every single one of them.
that is exactly why I am trying to get this done. I want ot figure it out. I want to get it out there.
i might tell you one thing some one else might tell you another. i am telling you what I know. what my memory tells me. Velzy did it, he did it deliberately. Maybe someone did it before Velzy. I don't know. Velzy made it popular.
right. there is no disputing that.the pigs that you shaped...were they even refered to as "pigs"? the name wasn't even associated. it was just ..."here is a surfboard".
velzy didn't call it a pig.
but he did eventually atribute that name to them.
yes he did. I really don't know when it happened , but he did eventually attribute that name to them.
back to New Zealand. didn't you guys shape over there?
we did. we copied the velzy.
below is bing's email interview:
1) what design elements cause a surfboard to be referred to as a "pig"? The basic element of the original "Pig" shape was the wide point being pulled back of center and having a narrower nose.
2) Why did the surfboard transition from a "malibu chip" into a surfboard that has the design elements associated with the word pig? The so called "Malibu chip" was first designed by Matt Kivlin and Joe Quigg who both surfed at the point waves of Malibu. Velzy made many balsa Malibu style boards from around 1951 till 1957 when he decided a better board for the beach breaks we were riding would be to turn the template around making the wide point aft of center which would make the board easier to turn. It really opened the door to so called "Hot Dog" surfing.
3) What came directly after the pig and why did it? I think that the wide point aft really influnced most surfboards up until the Noseriding era in the mid 60's. And still lots of board designs like the "step deck's" mostly had modified pig style shapes all in the attempt to lighten the nose and improve turning.
the term "Pig" refers to the fat rear end for starters!!! Basically this design became the first "full finned" board where the fin evolved from Tom Blake's first runner:
(insert first hand drawn sketches here) into a bump into a "skeg" 10" x 10" deep!
the larger fin kept the board from sliding out in steep sections or larger waves, which is why they (fins) kept getting progressively bigger. Since the original surfboards were finless they required straighter outlines in the tail for speed and holding. The addition of a fin created a hold from tail sliding but simultaneously created a stiff or hard to turn situation. To compensate the tail out line was curved into a "rounded back" template which allowed the board to "turn around the fin" if you will.
Alaia: Finless to first runner: straight outline from chest to tail, flat rocker lets board run straight ahead full steam while trimming.
(insert second sketches: waikiki and Alaia)
Hotcurl: Flatter bottoms in the tail were faster but slid more, so Blake's runner/keel helped some.
(insert third sketch: hotcurl and blake's runner) Hot curls used rounded botom to hold in tail.
Quigg, Downing, Woody Brown, and Simmons continued to evolve foiled rails, smooth sleek outlines, larger fins coupled with flatter down rails in the tail and belly and increased rocker forward for lift, speed and ability to bank the board over during turns. during this period (early 1940's to late 1940's) outlines still used a squaretail with no hips in the template back by the fin as a carry over from the finles era. The fin allowed the surfer to turn and maneuver without fear of spinning out or "sliding ass" and therefore became standard equipment by the early 50's. Maneuverability was enhanced by the conversion to balsawood in the 40's and 50's/ Between the new light weight and no fear of spinning out, the new generation of rippers were throwing turns at will and hot dogging started to bloom. Dewey Weber, Phil Edwards, Miki Dora, and Mickey Munoz took these machines to legendary levels.
Enter Dale Velzey! Dale was open to try just about anything that he could think of to see how it would work. His boards were primarily balsa and built in the 50's in Manhattan Beach, down the street from Malibu. The combination of light boards, warm water, small performance waves and youth with idle time and girls on the beach led to the demand for more radical maneuvers. The straighter outline template in the tail made the board stiff and hard to turn, but Dale figured it out! It is said that his glasser glassed the skeg on the front of a rounded -nose board by accident.
(insert 4th sketch: nose! more curve)
They decided to leave it that way and see what it would do! (editors note this is the board Mickey Munoz rode first) To everyone's surprise, the board was effortless to turn and would not spin out! More importantly, it was good on the nose and was still fast! Up to this point in time it was believed that the back end of a board needed straight lines in order to maintain speed. this alleged "accident" shed light on the fact that curves do not impede speed, but can actually enhance it by letting us place our boards precisely in the best part of the wave which generates the most power (which equals speed). Well, the tail didn't make a very good-looking nose on that board but the concept stuck and the pig was born!
(insert 5th sketch: before pig after pig)
Basic design elements of a Pig:
nose: 15 1/2"
5" behind center = 21"
tail = 16"
tail block 5 1/2"
length 9' to 10'
fin 1 1/2" inch up from tail 10" high with 10" base
rocker 3" in the tail 3" in the nose
thickness = 1 5/8' nose , 3" in the mass, 1 3/4" tail
Primary design elements:
the nose is wider than the tail
wide point behind center 3' to 5"
fin set right on tail
semi flat bottom and tail
60-40 rails throughout
The benefits of the aforementioned design elements:
Increased outline curve in tail allows greater, even radical, maneuverability. Trim speed is unaffected. Wide tail planes up quicker at slower speeds. Wide tail stabilizes the nose and the added curve helps hold the tail, which opens the door for nose riding! Overall the Pig design is best suited for small waves. Due to the wide tail the board really turns well at slower speeds, and planes up quickly. Lend itself well to radical turns and cut backs in small performance waves. As the long board era emerged from the prior trim based speed boards into the early 50's, the "Pig" design introduced what we now think of as the long board era. Everything we associate with "long boarding is tied directly to the Pig's whip turns, drop knee turns, nose riding, and trimming. All with supreme style of course!
The greatest surfing images of the post modern generations come to us by the masters riding Pigs: the Kemp Aaberg arch of Rincon; the radical drop knee cutbacks of Dewey and Phil; Miki climbing and dropping at the Bu; the bottom turns of Johnny Fain; the El Spontaneo of Mickey Munoz; Phil hanging ten; Nuuhiwa at Huntington; Lance Carson at Malibu, etc.
As long boarding progressed into the 60's the modifications were few:
*more slender fins with rake (thanks to Greenough)
*more parallel outlines caused by wider noses for easier nose riding
* a little more nose and tail rocker to help turning and avoid pearling
These variations took place from the birth of the Pig in about 1950 to the end of the long board era in 1967 1/2! The history of the transition from longboards to short takes place between 1967 and 1982 with the introduction of the standard thruster. I would like to address this period at length but that is another story and another book. Suffice it to say, the design elements of the "Pig" have carried over into the modern surfboard as the basic platform for performance:
*wide point back pushes curve into tail
*nose is narrower than tail, helps keep it out of the way
*fin/fins set on tail for supreme holding
These results are duplicated: wide curvy tail creates lift at slow speeds; curved template makes tail loose and compensates for the stiffness created by the fin/fins. Same result: a great hot dog design. Further enhancements are few. First, a brief transition history: the vee bottom with a Greenough fin started the revolution, a short version of the pig with Vee in the tail for quicker turns, (Bob McTavish) in 1967. By 1968 the mini gun of Dick Brewer moved us back to the Makaha based designs of Woody Brown with a tear drop template (wide point forward, narrower tail than nose, down rails in back, up rails in the front) for speedier, larger waves. The mini gun was a smaller version of the Makaha, as the Vee bottom was a smaller version of the Pig. both designs benefited from the Greenough fin and dropped tail rails of the Makaha.
Score:4 for the Yanks (Velzy, Greenough, Brewer, Woody) Score 1: for the Aussie (McTavish). In 1971, Wayne Lynch pulls the nose in on his Vee bottom hull so the nose is narrower than the tail. This brings back less hang up on the late takeoffs and makes for better turning. It was called the "no-nose" design. In 1981, Simon Anderson adds a third fin to his twinnie so he will stop spinning it out. He put the third fin right on the tail! Three fins on the tail made the board stiff. So, that was cured by combining the no-nose template with the wide point back which pushes the curve of the template into the tail to loosen up the turns. At the same time, the pulled nose stays out of your way on the late drops, while turning and while tube riding. That is two more points for the Aussies: Wayne Lynch and Simon Anderson.
All of these ingredients mirror the break through of the Pig (i.e. boards planes up quickly at slow speeds, great maneuverability with curvy tail, lots of fin area keeps board from spinning out). The ideal hot dog board!
Long Live the "Pig"!