Ian Walsh on a radical carbon 10’4” Jaws gun designed with the help naval hydrodynamic and aerodynamic engineers.
A couple of days ago big wave legend Ian Walsh posted an image of a new gun he had picked up for this winter at Jaws. However this wasn’t any ordinary surfboard. Made from carbon and featuring a raised nose it looked more like a clubbie paddle board from 2045 rather than anything that you would even consider riding at Jaws. His caption read, "The future or my worst wipeout yet??” Now that didn’t provide a whole lot of info so Tracks checked in with Walshy at home in Maui to see just what he was up to.
Tracks: Walshy, what the heck is going on with that surfboard?
Walshy: The big hog is a 10’4” made for me by my shaper Chris Christenson. Chris worked with a naval hydrodynamic and aerodynamic engineer to come up with the design. They ran about 75 different computer simulations of what this nose layout with its huge beak would do in big waves.
What is the thinking behind the design?
The whole point is to reduce drag and use the wind to help us down the face of a really big wave. Usually the wind is our biggest obstacle at Jaws, so to try and harness it rather than fight it could be a theory that changes everything. I’ve been doing a lot of sailing recently and had the opportunity to hop onboard some of the best racing yachts and it seemed crazy not to look outside surfing to see if we could find any advantage.
From the photo it seems it the nose design is nothing like we’ve ever seen on a surfboard?
Yeah for sure, the big old beak on the board is a new design and probably the weirdest thing about it. This nose is so completely foreign to what I’m used to looking at. I mean the snoz on this thing would’t be able to drink a cup of coffee, but the engineers reckon it might work.
What’s the board made from?
Chris wanted it to be made 100 per cent from carbon. It is so much lighter compared to my normal boards, but its feels so tough and durable. Again we’ve used weight on boards to navigate the chop and bump at Jaws, so to have a board that can do that but be lighter and more responsive could make a huge difference out there.
Any other design features we should know about?
The bottom design is similar to a lot of the boards that Chris has made for me in the past, just with a few modifications that he has done with the concave in the back third of the board. I’ll ride it as a quad fin when the day comes.
And what do you reckon that day will bring?
Well, we will just have to see when I take on a big day at Jaws or wherever the hell I bring it out at. Who knows what could happen? I could easily get the biggest wave of my life, or get my biggest ever licking. Either way it should be entertaining.
Well, good luck mate.
Cheers, I may need it. I’ll let the Tracks readers how I got on.
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