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"!
p.s. marc introduced me to mike marshall (r.i.p.) and mike introduced to me EVERYONE in order to get this article finished.