Shaped by Todd Proctor | Kookaburra Model
By Shawn Tracht
Before I had kids, I was surfing 3-5 hours a day around my teaching schedule. My surfing life now, however. Today, my time is being split between work, hanging with the family, and sneaking in a surf session. I wanted an everyday rip stick that worked in any condition from blown out two foot to epic 12 ft bombs!
Todd Proctor’s mission statement states, “what we get stoked on here at Proctor Surfboards is building relationships…making the board that’s right for you. My number one goal is to work with surfers who are serious about getting the board that will take them to the next level…It’s your board, talk to the shaper.” It’s this attitude and commitment that makes it obvious why his label has been strong since 1992 and become known locally and worldwide as one of the best surfboard lines around.
The Kookaburra is a brightly colored happy songbird….no really, it is. And so I thought it resembles, well, a board that makes life happy, and surfing so fun that you want to burst out and sing like a songbird. This design is meant to be ridden as an everyday board that thrives from small mushy point surf to punchy beach breaks as well as overhead and hollow powerful waves. My heart in designing this board was for a shape that would bless the working class surfers out there that are holding it down being responsible providing for their families, diligent at their jobs, a blessing in their communities, etc…people that put forth effort to make the world around them a better place. There are a lot of these kind of people out there that when they get a chance to jump in the water, when a little window of opportunity opens up and they can go catch a couple…the waves may not be that perfect blend of swell and tide and wind…so they need a board that runs the gamut; a super versatile fun machine you can take along on any given day no matter what the conditions, and get a good stoked smile surfed out ion fix going.
This board has a flatter rocker throughout so it gets into waves with ease as well as being super drivey. Kinda like the speed of a fishier shape, but with high performance built into it. A one board quiver so you don’t have to tote around a bunch of different boards and try to decide which one to ride. The rails are a touch fuller and boxier than a typical performance shortboard shape, yet less volume than a full on fish….this gives you a board that has a nice pushback through turns so you never feel like you are bogging halfway through an arc. I use plenty of heavy concaves throughout the bottom which gives the board plenty of get up and go, yet has incredible grip so you’re holding positive through manuevers no matter how hard you push, or how much speed you’ve got from the wave. I like to use a single wing roundtail for the tail shape. This lets it surf on rail with the hold of a roundtail for classic carving style surfing, yet the wing at the front fins creates a nice pivot point so you can break the tail free and keep things nice a snappy too. The one I made for Shawn has a composite stringer which, unlike wood, is shatter resistant and yields much more flex….this allows for more torsion in the board which creates a slingshot like effect leading into and coming out of maneuvers. There is also a layer of carbon/ kevlar hybrid mesh material (the diamond pattern) under the glass. This allows for the board to be glassed lighter, yet be structurally reinforced from beneath…making the board stronger than if it had been glassed with multiple layers of standard fiberglass…it also makes it lighter and gives it a more dynamic flex characteristic (i.e. whippier in maneuvers). Shawn’s was made in epoxy construction with our own uniquely formulated resins and epoxy core that is more resilient to dings, dents and water absorption than typical epoxy constructions…and the density of the epoxy cores we use set into the water lower creating a more dampening feeling under the feet allowing them to surf even in larger and more choppy conditions and still run clean and hold a rail without that weird pop-corny rigid-on-top-of-the-water feel associated with other epoxy constructions.
Having a less time in the water means less rhythm with the ocean, and less rhythm means the need for making adjustments to my equipment. If you look closely at the template, you can notice a slight bump (a wing) near the fins. This wing narrows the pivot area of the board (the tail) from a wider front foot template. As I’ve said so many times, width and a little added thickness over the front foot is a great cheat mechanism to surfing faster without needing to be nimble. Added foam helps the board stay alive and keep planing high through slow sections. Surfing progressively usually calls for a narrower tail, however, so the wing in the tail of this board narrows the pivot area over the fins. This board also has a nice round tail. Remember round equals stick and hold in round or hollow waves. So laying down a hard turn or massive layback in the pocket with this board is what it’s all about because the tail design will allow you to push as hard as you can in the pocket without the board sliding out.
I rode this board as a thruster, quad, and five fin set-up (quad plus the nubster). My personal favorite was the quad set-up, as it combined the perfect amount of drive down the line, stick in the pocket, and release off the top for some nice fins free tail wafts.
If you’re a surfer who is still looking to really rip, but you work all day like me and basically just surf whatever is out your door each day to get wet, then this high performance working-man’s shortboard model is for you. A perfect combination of a shortboard that can help you cheat to go faster after a long day of work juxtaposed with a plethora of performance elements that’ll allow you to still rake some of the hardest turns of your life. This is the board that the workingman ripper surfs to continue holding it down on the peak for years to come! Cheers boys and girls!
Shaper: Todd Proctor
Board Shape/Design: Kookaburra
Fins: 5 Fin Set-up; Ride with 3,4, or 5 fins
Board’s Specialty: Get into waves easy, extra hidden foam helps the board go faster, and high performance outline for some real heavy ripping.
This Board is Perfect for: Surfer’s who still want to rip, but need a little help from the board to surf faster and catch more waves than a little potato chip shortboard.
Surfboard Tester, Shawn Tracht’s Normal Shortboard: 5’10” x 18” x 2”
Tracht Ordered This Board: 5’8” x 19” x 2 3/16”
Email: [email protected]
Available at: Proctor Surfboards (1920 Goodyear Ave. Suite A Ventura CA), Online @www.proctor-board-shop.com, Rip Curl (Ventura)
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photos: Jon Reis