"Holy shit, look at that thing," I said to Julien as Eric plucked this board off the shop ceiling and passed it to me from the stepladder, breaking into a huge grin. This board is a key step in the transition of surfboard design from single fin, to twin fin, to the bonzer we discussed in our last post and finally the thrusters we know today.
Over to Eric for the story of this remarkable shape.
"This is rocket ship of a surfboard. It's a 5’4” Nectar Original Simon Anderson Thruster. It has a double winged swallow tail, channel bottom with airplane wing fins: another piece of history.
"In the late 70s Australian surfer Mark Richards was dominating on his version of the twin fin, making it the hottest board of the late 70s and early 80s. Simon Anderson had been shaping surfboards since 1972 and under the Energy Surfboards label since 1975. He had been successfully competing on the world tour and even selected to surf in the Pipe Masters. Anderson found he struggled with the loose riding twin fin, wanting more control. In 1981, he decided to throw three of the same sized fins on a square tailed surfboard design, creating the first 'Thruster'. That year, while only surfing in 2 thirds of the contests, winning 3 of them, he finished 6th in the world and was named Surfer Magazine’s Surfer of the Year. Surfers from all over the world started trading in their twin fin surfboards for Thrusters."
"It was the spring of 1984 and I was at University of Rhode Island. The URI Surf Club competed in contests in Point Judith, Cape Cod, New Hampshire and Newport and I qualified for the ESA Regionals that were held at the famed Casino Pier in Seaside Heights, NJ (RIP)."
"After the contest, I went to Grog’s Surf Palace and this board was on the used rack. I was riding a 6’0” HIC thruster at the time and wanted to go a little smaller and looser. I remember Grog saying, in his gravely voice: "You know what you’re going to be able to do with this thing?” Throwing the board over his head in an arcing motion, he went on, "bust some serious airs.” I rode this rocket ship for a while, never busting any airs, and retiring it when one of the airplane-wing fins sliced my heel open during an overhead session at outside Point Judith. It sat in my parent’s basement in NJ, all but forgotten. After I had opened the shop, I grabbed it while at home for Christmas one year. Now it hangs on our ceiling of history!"
Once again, thank you to Eric at Beach House Classic for sharing his board collection with two nerds who took apart the ceiling display in his store to photograph a few of the boards. Seriously though, look at those fins!