The Shapeshifter Roger Hall Image Credit: NZ SURFING MAGAZINE
The Shapeshifter Roger Hall Image Credit: NZ SURFING MAGAZINE

The Shapeshifter Roger Hall

From Splendid Isolation to Social Media Overload: The quirky evolution of surfboard shapes.

Many would consider that the surfboards of today are simply state of the art; I mean how could they not be? End of story! In reality, the boards we ride owe much of their existence to the unpredictable pathway that lead us here. The journey to get here was just a tad haphazard at times, often influenced by quirky happenings as well as both internal and external influences. We talk of evolution and indeed revolution but serendipity plays a large part too. The thing is we could have travelled down an altogether different path just as easily. Would we have landed in the same place, likely not and if that’s the case the modern surfboard may not look like or ride like the current status quo. You could argue that it’s a moot point anyway, yet for me, it’s something I just can’t help but ponder.

As far as we know surfing has its origins in ancient Polynesia. Hawaii seems to be the place where surfing flourished as an art form. Incidentally, it is thought that the peoples that first inhabited Hawaii were banished from Tahiti taking there surfing skills with them. As it happens they found Hawaii to be an idyllic wave rich paradise, blessed with a warm climate. Having an abundance of food at hand and with shelter less of a concern meant there was plenty of time to surf. There was also plenty of time to carve out surfboards from a ready supply of materials growing close at hand. I would imagine that surfing and surfboard shapes evolved at a sedate pace o

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