Today starts the Designing a Board series with Kirk McGinty from L41 Surfcraft.  Part 1, today’s installment, is our opening conversation about design and the current L41 models.  Over the next week Kirk will be sending me some ideas hitting my target dimensions, which I’ll be sharing with you all, and then we’ll decide and build one of the boards.  It will be my board for our upcoming California trip, I’ll journal on the ride and then Kirk will come back on the show and we’ll discuss the process and performance.

Kirk isn’t your normal shaper.  He’s an industrial designer at Google.  He spends his days designing and building state of the art technology and in his free time he designs and builds surfboards.  He’s just the guy I’d like helping solve for the future of paddle surfing.

We discuss a few different models of his boards on the show.  Here are a few so you have an idea of what we’re talking about:

The Original SIMSUP


The Popdart


The TV Dinner


In our first discussion we’ve agreed that we don’t want to shape a board similar to what I normally ride.  This is an experiment in performance for me, and Kirk thinks it’s going to blow my mind to surf a sub 7 foot board.

I’m leaning towards the Popdart or the TV Dinner, as I still do want some aspects of performance.  I’ve ridden enough Simmons surfboards to have a general understanding of their strengths and weaknesses, what I don’t know is how the paddle will change that.

For dimensions, I’m going to opt for a bit more foam than normal.  There are a few reasons.

1.  I’m going to be using the board for the first month in California.  I haven’t put on a wetsuit in 10 years, but if I remember correctly they’ll add a few pounds.

2.  We have a lot of small, clean, mellow days where I live, and I’d like a cruisy board for those conditions.

I want to go as short as possible.  If we can come in at 6.8 or around there I’d be stoked.  Width will likely be 27-28.  I’ve been on the trend of narrower is better, but I had some magic sessions on my Starboard Airborn, my first small SUP, and that was 28.5.

Check back in a few days to see the first designs that Kirk’s come up with.

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