In his 1970 film, “Pacific Vibrations,” John Severson explores the purely endemic and handcrafted surfboard industry of the late sixties. A montage of surf history heavies weigh in on the art of board building, research process and development in the fast-evolving transition era. The ever bitingly-critical shaper Chuck Dent laments that by the time his ad runs for a summer-geared board model, the standard for what’s perceived as functional has already changed.
Dent’s experience as a shaper is a stark contrast to Dale Velzy’s pre-transition era board-building. “Very loose, a dollar was a dollar and a wave was a wave,” Velzy, aka The Hawk, casually explains how he ran his surf shop through a mustached grin and ascending stream of smoke emitting from what is probably a Cuban cigar, “I enjoyed myself.”
After the entertaining roundtable of shaping’s who’s who of the time, a heavy Pipeline section unfolds with Jock Sutherland and other pioneers of “The World’s Deadliest Wave.” They toy with the maneuverability provided by vee out the back and the lightness of 4 oz cloth, all the while collecting data that will be relayed back to their shapers in an effort to help them create tools better engineered for longer and deeper tube rides.