Tuesday, May 25, 2010

marc andreini ...pig discussions...

o.k. where do i begin? marc andreini's stoke is difficult to measure and is quite contagious. my first introduction to the way of marc was back on 99 or 2000. i was around the "beach house" and he made putnam a 7'11" vaquero. some how i acquired it after kp. i owned the second vaquero marc rebuilt. at least that was the story i heard about this particular board. i hated it. i could not figure out how to ride it. it wouldn't swing from a drop knee ( there is no weight ), it wouldn't drive from the front foot, and it was not responding to my back foot on top turns. i was lost. i am a complete and utter kook to the way of this type of board. i kept it around for those days that didn't require much more than sliding in the barrel...cuz that was all i really knew how to control the thing in. so...time passes...i roll with the morrusk crew. there are andreinis all over the place. none of the designs scream " heloo mr. black..i am a board you lust for..i am a board that will fit your mind" they do say " heloo mr. black.. i am a board that is well designed...i am a board that shreds...i am a board that other people understand " . i mean look at marc's lines. his power, his mana is in the simplicity. he purposely does not over complicate his boards. marc is a proven surfer and contributor to our obsession. i am humbled by his availability.
After I finished the Jazz the Glass article in issue 14 of SLIDE, ryan gave me an opportunity to submit something else. he nonchalantly mentioned "you aught to write an article about pig boards". that hit me hard. i have something to say...yet my mind does not eloquently...nay...grammatically diffuse (non mathematical) ideas. i went into my little corner and put my thinking cap on. i know some rad dudes...people that were there when pigs were first birthed ... i have friends that are knee deep in modern pigs ...I am blessed to have Gene Cooper in my life...i have this blog where people all around the planet contribute awesome information about pig boards...i love pig boards.
back to ryan proposing this article. i get fairly excited. i think to my self "man! i made lance's web page..he'll contribute some great info. I know so and so..they probably have something to say!" i was quickly consumed by the shear intensity of this article. i was fortunate to have the opportunity to get aquatinted to the likes of greg noll, mickey munoz, bing copeland, and david platt. so many people generously ... enthusiastically ...came forward. humbling... i have had conversations with lance that were awe inspiring. i am SO LUCKY to have experienced time with him, and to have heard what he has to say about pig design. he toiled over my pig. lance is passionate about design and craftsmanship. he is a true artist. i only wish i had a tape recorder for some of the conversations i have had with lance. Gene....gene contributed some eloquent, concise knowledge for this pig article..i was so grateful for that.
back to marc. during the preliminary stages of this article , i reach out to EVERYONE i know..and ask them about pig boards, or rather "who should i ask about pig boards?" my good buddy john mcCambridge said "talk to marc andreini". so i did. feee-YUCK am i grateful i did. FEEEEE-YYYYUUUUCCCCCKKKKKK!!!!!!! jah praise john mcCambridge and marc andreini! then when marc hurt himself earlier this year....anyway...before his injury i had contacted him and asked him about pig boards... you have to understand..he doesn't know me from ANYONE. I contact him and ask him some questions about pig boards. straight scientific method shit. bland shit. after speaking to marc i had passed the same questions by T-muck-luck...and he made fun of me. he said my approach was limiting. thank JAH! he said that. i probably would have been limited by logic otherwise. T-moe's contributions effected my approach to all other contributors.. however..with marc...i emailed him 4 or 5 questions. marc takes the time , and writes...and draws the below shit for me. COME ON!!!! fuck. actually he hand wrote it and gave it to his wife and had her type it. she typed it and left room for the drawings. eventually marc sends me a large envelope full of this shit. you KNOW i am going to frame it and put it on my wall. this shit is the sacred shit. it is so sacred i am not going to threaten to take it off of surfapig after some time. i transcribed this writing for the article...we had so many contributors, re-iterating some of the same stuff...i couldn't include most of Marc's writings. heck...truth be told ...marc's contributions could have been the article. anyway. here they are marc andreini's "pig discussions". pardon the shitty photos. my transcriptions of his writings follow:

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:

Typical Dimensions:

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

low rocker

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"!

marc surfing a pig style board above.

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


  1. Dood, this is a treasure. Thanks for posting/sharing it!

  2. thanks CG!

    right! i can't believe he took the time to spell it all out...then draw it out...then have his wife type it. CLASSIC.


  3. Marc is the man! I ordered a board from him. he met me in the parking we talked about board history and he paddled out surfed shitty waves with everyone. he is a legend to me and when i met him he was extremely humble and willing to take the time to talk to a random noob. he's also an amazing surfer! Thanks for sharing Mr. Blacks! After reading this i think i might ask marc if he can shape a pig for me.

  4. NICE ERIC! thanks for sharing the story.

  5. Mr. Black, i didn't order a board from marc but I used this discussion to make my own. Had the board out twice and its the bomb diggs! Thanks for the inspiration!!!!!

  6. Just two minor points.
    1. "the term 'Pig' refers to the fat rear end for starters!!!"
    For what is apparently intended to be a technical article on surfboard design, this is a somewhat less than rigorous beginning.
    Surfboards have three possible templates.
    From the centre point, the surface area is either (approximately) equal (in the vernacular, a Cigar, Sausage, Double-ender), the fore > rear (Foil, Gun) or the rear > fore (Pig, No-nose,Lazer-Zap).
    These were first identified by Leonardo da Vinci around 1515.
    2. "Basically this design became the first 'full finned' board where the fin evolved from Tom Blake's first runner."
    This is arguably incorrect; the early 'full finned' fibreglass and balsa wood boards were slightly foiled square tails (certainly the most popular template over the last thousand years), and attributed to Joe Quigg and Matt Kevlin (and not Bob Simmons).
    The "Pig" template was a later development, attributed to Velzy-Jacobs.