It all started with the fish when the innovative shapers and board builders out there decided to revisit the past for some inspiration. In doing so they brought back some lost skills such as resin tints and hand foiled fins.The Fish Fry has been a place for these fine craftsmen to showcase their skills. We have seen some amazing boards as shapers have pushed the boundaries over the last few years. As this new look at the fish has evolved to its many forms, it has influenced other shapes and designs along the way.This has spawned a renewed interest in other board forms by this same group and a wider following.Notably the Mini Simmons, Hulls, old school Logs and Pigs. It is pleasing to note that there are an increasing number of people building their own boards as well.All of this is to be applauded and celebrated as a positive for surfing.So it is only natural that these shapers and board builders continue to share their skills with us and include these other shapes at the Fish Fry.It has truly become a melting pot of ideas for like minded people.

The Mc Tavish spoon

 Bob has always seen things a little differently from most people.

 George Greenough a good mate of Bob's was the originator of the spoon of course. George is quoted as saying " The best thing about two fins is to keep moving them closer together until they become one fin" Not a twin fin man.

" Back in 1974 when winters were long and surfboard sales were slow, I decided to make a small fleet of Greenough spoons to feed the growing family. Lots of labour, with not much materials outlay. 
There are 16 layers of fibreglass cloth in each one, with the original blank being ground away to almost nothing, just that thin rim of foam around the front end and rails.

All four sold fast, as these were as original as anyone could get. I’d lived with, surfed with, and shaped with George for most of the previous decade, and George never made a spoon for anyone but George. I made them in my little shed/shaping room in our farmhouse front yard on the edge of Lennox.
One of these 4 spoons is now on display at Surf World, Currumbin."

Bob Mc Tavish 

All 4 of these photos courtesy of Peter Green.

 Back in 1977 Bob made a batch of spoons just like he is today.

Spoon Part 1 from McTavish Surfboards on Vimeo.

Spoon Part 2 from McTavish Surfboards on Vimeo.

Spoon Part 3 from McTavish Surfboards on Vimeo.

Inspired , is what we like to see.

Stephen Taranto from Victoria has been bitten by the bug.
 " I was inspired to make my own board after last years visit to the Fish Fry.
I'm coming up again this year and I'm bringing the first board I've shaped in 30 years!!!
Nearly finished it. Should complete it by Thursday night.
Got into it so much,I've started another, and now I'm afraid  I've been bitten by the bug.
Here are some pics. Hope to have some more Thursday night."

This is something that is happening all over the place and just great to see. It is also why the Fish Fry has evolved to include other boards such as hulls, simmons and old school logs as this is what people want o shape and ride. Looking forward to catching up with Stephen on Sunday. Thanks mate for sharing.

Start to finish, what's involved...

Ordering a custom McTavish from McTavish Surfboards on Vimeo.

Check this out and you will see the whole process and have an understanding of what is involved and the man hours and skills involved in building your board. Or if you want to do it yourself , what you have ahead of you. In my mind one of the best , most complete videos of this whole process. Now you will understand why a board costs what it does , when you see how many man hours goes into building a board.

The colourful Thomas Bexon

 Thomas is typical of the young guys that are out there that are hand shaping and creating great looking boards based on traditional lines and flow. He has teamed up with Jake his glasser to build these boards here in Australia and a stint in Bali for Deus as well. A passionate man who is a very stylish surfer as well.Hope to see Thomas with his boards on Sunday at the Alley.

Check him out at :  or

Tyler Warren dropped by

 A couple of years ago Morgan Maassan and John Smart dropped by the Alley Fish Fry with Tyler Warren to check things and and be part of the day in the park. I must say we didn't see much of Morgan as he was in the water most all of the day for hours on end. He was only young then and now this is what he does all day long. Great eye and a great guy.

 Tyler chilling with Paul Mc Neil from Byron Bay.

And this is the result the movie a number of us have been waiting for. Check out the site to find out more HERE

Tyler is a very talented person in many fields , from art , surfing and shaping.Here he is with one of Tom Wegener's Tuna finless hollow wooden boards. He is willing to try anything and that is partly what the movie is about. The Fish Fry over the years has attracted all sorts of people and truly is a melting pot of ideas and innovation that sees hardened shapers going home with things to think about. And more and more we are seeing the young guys checking it out and having a go at shaping themselves , which is very healthy for us all.
Here is a link to the trailer for "The Tyler Warren Experiment"

I look forward to the full release of the movie and have asked if we could show it at next years Fish Fry. Not heard back on that one yet. But that would be nice.

The 3ft 9" Piglet

Now we are getting funky. This must be the bastard single fin child of the Bar of Soap Simmons.

The Wellsy Simmons

Andrew Wells from Lennox Heads is a wooden board builder of note , and has turned his hand to a few foam shapes of late. This is a recent simmons with hand foiled Paulownia fins. Look out for this and others at the Fish Fry next weekend.

S / Double doing his own thing

Shawn Stussy at his Studio from Seth Epstein on Vimeo.

Great to see anyone willing to get in the shaping bay and experiment. Make old new again. Blend ideas , express long held dreams and create. We are certainly in exciting and adventurous times.

Build your dream,  ride your own.

Very innovative kneeboard bound for the Fry.

 Alan Bruce is a sparky by trade and a very keen knee boarder. He is also a very handy shaper. Here is his latest board that hopes to have at the Fish Fry. Styrene blank , hand shaped to perfection.

 Hull entry to a flat and then a concave out through the quad fins.

 Slight concave deck with recess for knee pad to be inlayed

 The Hull entry blends into the fairly rounded rails that then become 60 / 40 as per a body board. This ends as a flyer where one fin set will be.

As I said a very complex shape that will be very interesting to see finished on the day.

The boys at Rake have been busy

A nice lineup of candy bars from the Adrian at Rake.

Bob is into spoons

Bob Mc Tavish has built spoons in the past when Greenough was doing it as well. But he has always wanted to find some time to do it again. Well folks , the time has come and he is in the throws of building a limited edition run of them. Check it out on Bobs Blog

The chance encounter ...

From Left to right - Lopez, Ron Adler, Jack McCoy and Mick Dibetta
You can bump into all sorts of people when out surfing and this week was like that for a number of us. On Wednesday morning we were lucky enough to share our local break at the Alley with the great Gerry Lopez on his SUP. He sat on the point and spoke to a number of us about how blessed we were to have so many waves in such a great part of the world. Then out came Jack McCoy with his fins for his morning swim. He was keen to catch a few waves as well , so I donned his fins while he paddled in on my board. They were both here for Patagonia's launch of Gerry's book at the Surf Museum on Monday night which was a great evening and thanks to Keith from the Burleigh store.

That was my encounter , but for a far more entertaining rendition you need to read Tim Bakers version that was on Coastalwatch.

DVS Mr Fish ...

A great designer and hand shaper through and through - Pic by Sean Scott
Dick Van Straalen is the creative mind behind many of the gorgeous, eclectic boards we see under the feet of the open minded Dave Rastovich. Producing high quality, handmade boards puts Dick at odds with what he calls the “pop music” which is professional surfing. DVS thinks it’s time to ditch the crap that goes with modern day surfing and go back to chasing “the feeling.” So listen up…

SW: Tell us about your beginnings as a shaper. You went from Sydney to Burleigh in the late 60s, that must have been an interesting time on the Gold Coast.DVS: Shaping up here was a whole new challenge (compared to Sydney). Because in the early days in Queensland you could basically only sell boards for six months and then for the other six months you would have to go and do something else. Because it was still really a holiday destination, really seasonal.

So I guess there weren’t many local surfers around at the time.No, in the early days at Burleigh you would be lucky if you had three or four people in the water.

Sounds pretty good.It was unbelievable (laughs).

Was shaping for Gold Coast waves different to shaping in Sydney?I didn’t really think about it. Surfing was going through massive changes at that time. So you just went along with the changes and adapted what you were doing.

Your boards are of a real high quality. How long does it take to shape one?Not that long. Mentally it takes longer than the physical side of it. Mentally you need to get prepared and think about how you are going to attack it. Having done it for fifty years it’s in your DNA and it surprises you a lot of times what actually comes out. I’ve been through every era and every combination since surfing started. In the computer in your brain you have a lot of information. You just think about what you want to do and what you want to make and it just all comes naturally.

Dick Van with good mate PT, picking up a board dick has built for him
We’re seeing more and more good surfers like Rasta, Alex Knost, Ellis Ericson and Rob Machado riding a huge range of boards. Do you enjoy seeing that?
I think it’s healthy for surfing because the professional thing is so caged. You look at professional surfing today and everyone is surfing the same. Everything is so conformed and manufactured and a lot of kids don’t like that. They like the freedom or riding whatever they want.
Has that conformity pushed it to the point where people just have to get out there and explore different sides of surfing?Absolutely. Surfing’s turning into gymnastics. They’re really good at what they are doing but you look at it and sometimes it just leaves you cold. They’re giving the same scores for an air as they do a tube ride. I just don’t know where they are going with it.

So you’re obviously more interested in good barrel riding than airs and that type of thing?I’m more interested in surfing the wave and surfing what’s in front of you than worrying about what trick you are going to do. You listen to guys like Jim Banks who are really good surfers and they are talking more about using the wave and flowing with the wave rather than just going, "Oh, look at this I can do an air here." Surfing is a lot like music and I liken professional surfing to pop music. It’s here today and gone tomorrow. Whereas other guys surf like jazz or classical music. And the same thing goes for boards. You look at what we could call classical boards and people are always going to go back to riding them.

Do you think people are too quick to write off certain boards, sometimes before they have even ridden them?Definitely, Wayne Bennett said, “Don’t go in with any expectations and you will never be disappointed.” And that’s the thing I love about Dave Rastovich, he doesn’t have any expectations. He will ride things with an open mind. His mind is open to ride anything. Other guys say, "I can’t ride that," and they are already beaten.

And going on from that, what do you think of the new technologies which are just pumping out the same surfboards?They’re just pop outs. It’s no difference to the way they manufacture cars. And it’s the biggest problem we are having in the surf industry; the more you go into mass production the more likely you are to be overthrown. It becomes price consciousness. But we are starting to see people going back to buying handmade products in all markets because they are better. I’ve never shaped more than ten boards a week, I’ve never gone into mass production. I’m concerned about quality, I’m concerned about the footprint we are leaving on the earth and if we make quality surfboards they last a lot longer.

Rasta in full flight test mode
 Is there not enough concern for the environment in shaping surfboards?For who we are supposed to be, you know we’re supposed to be really groovy, going to the beach every day. But everything you buy is packaged. You buy a legrope and it’s packaged. I don’t understand it; we’re not very switched on about our environment and the ocean. To me it’s ridiculous hearing about professional surfers going through one hundred boards a year. If they are that good at what they do then they can ride anything and adapt to what they are standing on. On my surfboards I don’t even put measurements. People say an eighth of an inch or a sixteenth of an inch makes a difference. We’re not going through the sound barrier or anything (laughs).
We’re just surfing at the end of the day.Yeah, and there is nothing to prove boards go a certain way. It’s all hearsay. You get three people riding the same board and they will all say different things. No one has ever put a computer on a surfboard to say this is what’s happening. People say certain boards do this or certain boards flex like that but there’s no proof. It depends on the person and how they ride it. It’s about the feeling. It’s such an individual sport. – Steve Nicholson - Surfing World Magazine

This little green carbon board that Dick shaped for Rasta was truely the proving point that the fish could be a high performance board in the true sense of the word.
 It is a great honour to have Dick come along as our guest speaker on the Saturday night before the Fish Fry this year. He is a very talented hand shaper and always has been. He has a very interesting movie to share with us as well.

Saturday night the 3rd of March at the Gold Coast Surf Museum. 6.30 for 7pm start.
So join us for a few beers and a BBQ , check out the surf museum and meet other great shapers as well.

Board eat board

Bleach Surf Festival starts this weekend

Bleach* Surfing the Fringe will host over fifty-five art and photography installations, film screenings, music, talks, fashion, theatre and food events staged across the spectacular beaches, foreshores and major venues unique to the Southern Gold Coast from 11-26 Feb 2012. For 16 days, across 10kms, over 80 artists and musicians will be on display.

Bleach* Surfing the Fringe Festival Schedule:

Feb 7 -12 – Breaka Burleigh Pro

Feb 11 - 26 – Bleach* Goldspace and Bleach* Collective exhibitions – Kirra Hill Community & Cultural Centre, Kallalu, CafĂ© Dbar, Bambi Deluxe, Little Lido Espresso Bar, and well as reclaimed shopfronts in Coolangatta and Tugun. Opening times vary. 

Feb 11
Bleach* Street– Tomewin St Currumbin 11-6 pm 
The Surfer and The Mermaid – Surf World Museum Currumbin 1pm, 2.30, 4 pm – entry by gold coin donation
Bleach* Groms – south side of Elephant Rock, Currumbin Beach 11am-3pm
Bleach* On The Rocks Projections – Elephant Rock Currumbin 6.30- 9pm
Pop Up Bleach* Galleries – Currumbin, Tugun, Kirra, Coolangatta 3pm - 8pm
Opening Party feat Goons of Doom – Neverland Coolangatta (ticketed event)

Feb 12The Surfer and The Mermaid – Surf World Museum Currumbin 1pm, 2.30, 4 pm – entry by gold coin donation
Bleach* On The Rocks Projections – Elephant Rock Currumbin 7- 9pm
Bleach Travelling Music Truck Concert – Various times and locations
Pop Up Bleach* Galleries – Currumbin, Tugun, Kirra, Coolangatta 3 - 8pm

Feb 13 - 14
The Surfer and The Mermaid schools & family program – Surf World Gold Coast Museum, Currumbin (by reservation, gold coin entry)

Feb 15

Oceanscape – Kallalu Coolangatta 6.30pm
 Feb 16Public Debate: Is Surfing an Art or a Sport? –  Surf World Gold Coast Museum Currumbin – entry by gold coin donation
Pop Up Bleach* Galleries– Currumbin, Tugun, Kirra, Coolangatta 4-8pm

Feb 17-19- Kirra Teams Challenge

Feb 17Retrospect Film Night – Surf World Gold Coast Museum, Currumbin – entry by donation
Pop Up Bleach* Galleries – Currumbin, Tugun, Kirra, Coolangatta 4-8pm
Tijuana Cartel– SoundLounge, Currumbin RSL 8pm (ticketed event)
In Natural Flow feat. 3lla – Komune Coolangatta 7pm  – by donation

Feb 18
Kirra Dreaming – Lucas Proudfoot with Circular Rhythm children’s workshops, acoustic performances, Kirra Hill C&CC 11am-3.30pm
Tim Baker writing workshops – Kirra Hill C&CC 12.30-2.30 pm (ticketed event)
Patagonia Summer Surf Films – Queen Elizabeth Park, Coolangatta 7-9pm
Bleach* On The Rocks Projections – Elephant Rock Currumbin 7-9pm
Pop Up Bleach* Galleries – Currumbin, Tugun, Kirra, Coolangatta 3-8pm
Depths of Balsa – Never Land Bar Coolangatta 9pm (ticketed event)

Feb 19
Disabled Surfers ‘Let’s Go Surfing’ Day – Len Wort  Park Currumbin, 9am
Bleach Travelling Music Truck Concert – Various times and locations
Summer Surf Films – Queen Elizabeth Park, Coolangatta 7-9pm
Bleach* On The Rocks Projections– Elephant Rock Currumbin 7-9pm
Sway on Sunset bikini retrospective feat Matt McHugh– Komune, Coolangatta 4-8pm (ticketed event)
Pop Up Bleach* Galleries– Currumbin, Tugun, Kirra, Coolangatta 3-8pm
Feb 21 Tugun Chats – Tugun SLSC, Tugun 6pm

Feb 22
Surfing Australia Greenroom Conference – Twin Towns Resort Coolangatta (ticketed event)
Bleach Pop Up Galleries – Currumbin, Tugun, Kirra, Coolangatta 4-8pm

Feb 23- March 6 – Dreamland Claudio Kirac Exhibition, Comb Artspace, Coolangatta, from 12pm

Feb 23Quality Vs Quanitity– Surf World Gold Coast Museum Currumbin 6.30pm
Pop Up Bleach* Galleries– Currumbin, Tugun, Kirra, Coolangatta 4-8pm

Feb 24
Sons of Beaches ’72 movie and installation – Komune, Coolangatta 7.30pm
The Break & Windy Hills –  SoundLounge, Currumbin RSL (ticketed event)
Pop Up Bleach* Galleries – Currumbin, Tugun, Kirra, Coolangatta 4-8pm

Feb 25- March 7 – Quiksilver & Roxy Pro

Feb 25
Sea Salt Sunrise – Kirra foreshore, 5.30 am (ticketed event)
Bustin Down the Door, Teahupoo Uncut movie screening – Queen Elizabeth Park, Coolangatta, 6.30-9pm
Bleach* On The Rocks Projections– Elephant Rock Currumbin 7-9pm
Pop Up Bleach* Galleries – Currumbin, Tugun, Kirra, Coolangatta 3-8pm
Sure Cut Kids – Never Land Bar, Coolangatta 8pm

Feb 26
Vintage Surfboard Swap Meet– Underground Surf, Coolangatta 10am
Bleach Music Truck Concert – Currumbin Alley 3-4 pm
Pop Up Bleach* Galleries– Currumbin, Tugun, Kirra, Coolangatta 3-8pm
Bleach Music Truck Concert – Various times and locations
Bleach* On The Rocks Projections– Elephant Rock Currumbin 7-9pm
Blue King Brown feat. Tabura – SoundLounge, Currumbin RSL 3-8.30pm (ticketed event)
Luau Closing Party– Surf World Gold Coast Museum, Currumbin 6pm (ticketed event)

March 4 – Alley Fish Fry, Currumbin Alley

In case of rain, events will run regardless; bring a ‘brolly! Schedule subject to change.
Visit the Bleach* website filled with event descriptions, ticketing information, artist profiles, and venue details:

 So if you are heading for the Gold Coast in the next couple of weeks there is plenty on. The Burleigh Breaka Pro surf contest kicks off this weekend and it goes on from there. Plenty of art music and all sorts going on. Great to have been a part of the team making this happen for the first time.

Fancy stepping ...

DP from Andrew Gough on Vimeo.

The Kelvinator

This is a great little board form the guys at Yahoo Surfboards for Dunsborough Western Australia. The table that they have created is a handy guide to have for reference as well and a great idea. Check out what they do and a nice range of boards at :

Shaper Mark Ogram is another ex pat Kiwi making great boards in the land of Oz.

Ryan Lovelace down under shaping trip

Ryan Lovelace who was at last years fish fry will be down again next month to do some shaping in March. I am not sure he will be here for the fish fry , but I believe he is heading to Noosa for the Festival the week after. So if you would like to get a board , you need to get in touch and in line.
Great guy and talented shaper that will hone you out a something special.

Contact him direct : ryankentlovelace@gmail
Or : hello@the

Your big chance for free...

So what is this all about you might well ask. Essentially, it's a call for people who would like to learn some board building skills to submit their idea for a board, sketches, written, whatever...  The best entry, chosen by Classic Malibu, get to work with Peter White to refine the design, and produce the board, being introduced to all the skills along the way, and obviously be the proud owner of their own new board...

What a great opportunity to learn your skills from one of the great masters of the industry. Peter has helped many young guys into the industry that I know.

Noosa is not a bad place to hone your skills and test your board. So come on get off your arse , it is being handed to you on a plate.

For information, terms and conditions and to submit your design , email the guys at Smorgasboarder :

A big thanks to the guys at Smorgasboarder Magazine and Peter White of Classic Malibu for this great offer and a once in a lifetime experience.