Lee Stacey of Stacey Surfboards gives us an insight into the detail behind great surfboard design.
It’s easy to take for granted the history of iterations and blood, sweat and tears required to craft a surfboard that actually serves its purpose…let alone one that causes hoards of surfers to froth over the feeling that a given surfboard gives them.
If you’ve read the review of Stacey Surfboards ‘The Roach’ model, you’ll know that I have an unhealthy obsession with this surfboard. Curious to understand the source of its power, I was fortunate enough to chat with Lee Stacey over e-mail about the history and evolution of The Roach. Here is a snippet of the conversation for the hungry mind:
The Roach was born out of a project that I had worked on with Bob Hurley and Rabbit Bartholomew. It was a board that Bob had made for Rab back in the day, which took Rab to a bunch of wins. I think it was one of those pivotal boards for the both of them. Anyway, back in 2009, I got together with Bob and remade this board. We called it the ‘RAB 3’. Since then Hurley have made it for many of their family and friends, including some of the most amazing surfers in the world. I have had a bunch of them and they’ve always been super fun, twitchy, fast, etc.
When it came to designing a new model for this year’s range, I couldn’t look past the RAB 3 surfboard, which had brought so much fun to so many people. However, I needed to put my spin on it; I couldn’t just re-brand the ‘Rab 3’ under the Stacey Surfboards label. I wanted to modernise it without losing what made the board so special to start with. My main goal was to settle it down a touch so that it was a little more rounded and user-friendly so to speak.
The entry vee helps break the water, paddle into waves, rolled through to the concave under your feet, which one straighten’s the stringer to help with the speed of the board, but it also helps out with the sweet spot of the board. When I say ‘sweet spot’ I’m talking about being able to place your front foot in a bunch of different places and it still feels good. Maybe a better way to explain it is that when you have a board with a bigger sweet spot they never seem like you have to get used to them? They seem to work straight away?
Then The Roach bottom goes on through to a double concave (the double concave is inside the single, which keeps the bottom line of the board fast) and back to vee out the tail. The double concave does two things on this board, it helps concentrate the water through to the fins and simultaneously feeds the water out the back of the board as quickly as possible. Feeding water through to the fins helps with speed and control while going through turns and feeding it through to the back of the board helps to maintain speed.
The vee out the tail is a release mechanism and helps the board pivot on the rail line and loosens up everything else that is going on with the bottom of this board. The outline is pretty true to the original board, slightly adjusted to be a bit smoother and I’ve put modern rails on the board, along with a modern deck foil or deck line.
All of these small changes are meant to help the board feel a little more settled in the water; a touch more user friendly (I hate using that term as it’s been killed over the last few years but that’s the easiest way to explain it!).
I hope this helps, and please don’t hesitate to ask if you have any other questions.
I appreciate The Roach more now understanding a little bit about the time & effort that went into its design. I hope you will, too. Understanding is the key to enlightenment, grasshopper.
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- Lee Stacey of Stacey Surfboards Talks About The Roach - December 24, 2013