Sharp criticism of board design

PASCAL DATTLER, 10, suffered a severe head injury after being hit by a pointed-nose surfboard.
PASCAL DATTLER, 10, suffered a severe head injury after being hit by a pointed-nose surfboard.

BROKEN HEAD surfing legend and inventor George Greenough says there is absolutely no point to pointed-nose surfboards.

“If you look at the basic design of the pointed-nose surfboard, (it) really is a fashion statement,” he said in a letter The Northern Star to be published on Monday.

Mr Greenough is advocating for round-nose surfboards after a week of public debate about surf safety following the shocking head injuries sustained by 10-year-old grommet Pascal Dattler at Byron Bay’s famous surfbreak, The Pass, eight days ago.

Pascal’s skull was smashed open after being hit by a stray surfboard belonging to an inexperienced surfer.

He required emergency neurosurgery in Brisbane and was only millimetres from death, according to doctors.

“Injuries caused by pointed noses can be very dangerous. You have the mass of the surfboard focused into one tiny area,” Mr Greenough said.

“How many parents buy their kids this style of board, looking at fashion, not thinking about safety issues?

“How easy is it for some kid to fall off the back of the board and shoot the pointed nose into their brother’s or sister’s eye?

“It doesn’t make the board surf any better. In fact it adds extra length and increases swing weight and wind resistance. It can also be used as an offensive weapon to intimidate other surfers.

“A round-nose board will surf better because you have reduced the swing weight and wind resistance. It is shorter, turns quicker, and pulls off moves you couldn’t do before. It gives you more confidence to go for new moves because it is safer and less likely to cause injuries.”

Mr Greenough joins a growing list of surfers speaking out against pointed-nose boards.

Legendry shaper Geoff McCoy described the design as the greatest abstract in surfing history.

“We’ll look back in 20 years and just laugh,” he said.

Long-time local surfer, shaper and former instructor Chris Brock said surfers had long questioned the design logic, but it had taken a serious accident for people to pay attention.

“There is absolutely no performance value to sharp-nosed boards,” he said. “You’ve got to hand it to Kelly Slater, who has just cut the noses off his boards and now the kids are catching on.

“There’s better displacement on a round-nose board and once you go back to a sharp nose they just feel stupid.”

Local surfing writer Ben Bennink agreed, describing pointed noses as completely irrelevant and purely aesthetic. “You get a much better lift off the lip with a round nose,” he said.

Kye Fitzgerald, son of Hot Buttered Surfboard’s founder Terry Fitzgerald, said his father had advocated for round noses since Derek Hynd lost an eye from the tip of his own board when riding for Hot Buttered in 1980.

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