Lightning Rods: Surfboards that matter
Words by Derek Rielly, Photos by Ryan Miller
At the Trestles contest a heartbeat ago, one shaper saddled the stallions. Matt Biolos of Lost surfboards. Y’heard of him? Have we mentioned him, previously? We have? A multitude of times? You wanna know why?
Ain’t nobody can make a surfboard drive and fly at Trestles like Matt. We asked Mr Biolos to describe, right down to the minutiae including the cubic volume, the two surfboards that lit up under Mick and Jules.
Mick Fanning’s Sub Driver
5’11” 18.88” 2.25” | 26.7 litres of volume
Rocker: More than average in the entry, much less than average in the rear, but there is a distinct curve in the rail rocker under the rear foot which keeps it from feeling too straight.
Bottom shape: Pretty much concave from nose to just behind the rear fin. There’s a tiny, barely noticable bit of vee in the last couple inches. The concave is deepest right at the front fins.
Shape of the rails: By Australian standards, they would be considered full for 2 1/4”. The tuck is carried way under to make it easier to control all the concave and volume.
Notable: The nose and tail are wide… not so wide at 12”from the tail… but the tail block and the hip in front of the front fins are really wide. The nose is well over 12” wide. That makes up for the exaggerated nose rocker. “My boards are measured on the straight line of the deck. Most Australian shapers measure along the bottom curve,” says Matt, “so my 5’11 is actually more like 5’11.5” in Australian terms.”
Here’s a video of Mick on the board described above.
Julian Wilson’s F1 Stub
6’0.5” 18.56” 2.30” | 26.30 litres of volume
Rocker: Lower than average entry rocker with no visible “flip tip”. Medium tail rocker with a noticeable release in the rail about six inches up.
Bottom shape: Much shallower concave throughout than the Mick board. There is a distinct double-concave through the fins that cut a speed spot through the tail rocker.
Shape of the rails: “Pretty normal, maybe a bit boxier than you would see on a typical Australian brand short board in a store.”
Notable: “This is a third-generation copy of the board he rode most of the WQS tour when he qualified – he made or three or four finals on it,” says Matt. “The second gen copy was the one he rode at J-Bay with orange on the deck. Pretty normal board. Basically, a very neutral (due to the shallow concave) board that has a flatter, more relaxed rocker throughout. It’s got a bit wider nose than typical but it’s actually becoming the norm. JW gets boards from JS as well and I think the JS boards have more tail rocker and a narrower tail block. Julian likes them in punchy waves like they surfed in San Francisco and Portugal this year.”
Here’s a video of Julian riding his Mayhem shapes during the Trestles event.
STAB: What makes a Trestles board work?
Matt Biolos: Built in speed and glide. Almost always more width than boards for say Snapper or beachbreaks where the water moving up the face is moving much faster, creating more lift. Lower rocker works well because the wave face is flat. But, by contrast, flat rocker doesn’t fit as well in a Snapper-type wave.
Of the 34 at Trestles, who had a board in their rack by you?
Oh jeeze, that event was crazy flavour of the month. Damo, Ace, Dan Ross, Kieren Perrow, Davostater, Dusty P, Julian, Mick and Brett Simpo all rode boards in at least one or more heats. Ol Taj was free surfing on a few of them pre-event but he never takes em out in heats. We have a lot of fun making boards together and it helps me make better boards for my Firewire collaboration.
Compare Mick and Julian’s boards from a shaper’s perspective.
Julian’s board is a pretty middle-of-the-road, modern high-performance board: moderate dimensions, rocker, rails, foil volume and outline. Mick’s board is a much more extreme design that’s not often used on the WT. It’s not versatile in all wave types – it’s more small-wave or Trestles specific. It has a wide nose and tail. It’s much wider all around than a typical board and has really deep concave and a really low tail rocker.
Is Mick your favourite surfer and maybe explain your crush.
He’s not my favourite. My favourite surfer doesn’t exist. My priority surfer is Kolohe, pure and simple. Everything that is so good about our little roll right now stems from him. Julian is awesome, too. He’s very intense and challenges me in a way that reminds me of Shane Beschen back in the late ‘90s. Julian loves to pit me against the best shapers in the world to earn his riding my boards. I love the challenge. He’s fun to tease as well cause everyone walks on egg shells around him. I really dig the kid. If you wanna play “Weird Science” then maybe we can build my “favorite surfer”. But, I wouldn’t say I have a crush on Mick. It’s just that there’s so few surfers in the world that have truly and completely iconic styles or techniques and when one of them (Mick) goes out on a dirty old borrowed board and proceeds to decimate your home surf spot in front of the entire world on it.… well, you get the picture.