Even with a feature in the NY Times 9th Annual Year In Ideas, Swedish designer Thomas Meyerhoffer is still facing opposition to his hourglass surfboard shape. But just as shaped skis took awhile to catch on and are now the norm, Meyerhoffer is betting that mainstream surfers will eventually realize his new hourglass surfboard can bring better maneuverability to a longboard design.
An avid surfer, Meyerhoffer wanted a more agile ride with his traditional longboard. Since the longboard is normally ridden from either the front or back, he reasoned that he could reduce bulk from its midsection, creating the hourglass surfboard shape and making it lighter and easier to pilot while paddling for a wave. Needing the tail to balance out the long, rounded nose, he tapered the tail to a point, making for better drive and speed.
A shortboard like shape is hidden in the tail of the hourglass surfboard, making it a hybrid of both longboard and shortboard. The Meyerhoffer surfboard paddles into the waves easily like a longboard but at the same time, turns like a shortboard while riding. When you are on the front of the board, it handles like a traditional nose rider but as soon as you step to the back of the board, it turns very quick, is very loose and has a lot of speed.
"Instead of surfing the wave, the wave surfs you. You become one with the wave. The three main sequences of longboarding-turn, glide and nose riding are all pushed to a higher level. The total experience is a board that is faster, turns better and delivers a higher level of surf experience," says Meyerhoffer.
The hourglass surfboards are available in four sizes. The two longboard sizes are 9.2 and 9.6 with the 9.2 delivering great paddle performance and the 9.6 for the larger surfer. The 8.0 and 7.6 feel more like shortboards or fish surfboards. The Meyerhoffer surfboards have been launched so far in Australia and the US. Click here for technical schematics and a list of your local surf shops that sell the boards. The hourglass surfboards should be available in Europe by January.