In Unequal Measure: Are Asymmetrical Surfboards the Past, Present, + the Future?
Surfers by and large are a very traditional bunch. For all the talk of creativity and open-mindedness mostly they want everyone to look the same and surf the same. So it’s no surprise really that asymmetrical surfboards have yet to really catch on with the public even through the design has been proven (in certain conditions) to be amazing. TSJ looked into the past, present, and future of asymmetrical surfboard design.
“This corporeal asymmetry is exaggerated during short, clean arcs, which are easier to do off the toe side as opposed to the heel side. Think about weak waves—say, small Bells Beach—and how backsiders have an advantage when turning off the top, their toe side. They can lean forward and use bodyweight to wrench the board back down the face. Natural footers can struggle to get the board off the top, as short arcs are much harder to perform off their heels. Also, any error in weight distribution is harder to correct. One turn isn’t better or worse than the other. They’re just different.
Snowboarders have long known this—hence asymmetric designs have been an accepted tenet in the mountains for nearly 30 years. Their reason for asymmetry is the same as ours: a disparity between toe-side turns and heel-side turns. The snowboard solution is a deeper side-cut on the heel-side edge, which initiates and controls a turn off that rail.
Though asymmetric boards have been around in surfing for more than 50 years, they’ve never captured the wider imagination of surfers. They’ve come and gone numerous times during the past half century, each time presenting a solution to design but ultimately proving too difficult or confusing for the buying public to wholly embrace… “