Curren and Merrick’s beauties have been on the block for years now; where did they come from and why are people still frothing on these old school shapes? Read on to get the low down…
Chapter 11’s new flick ‘Out of the Rafters’ had us all ogling over rare and storied CI thrusters, but the undisputed star of the show was Tom Curren’s Red Beauty. The board that scored Curren a perfect 10 and five 9.5s leading him to victory against Cheyne Horan in the 1984 OP Pro was hailed a hero by all and cemented its place in the surfboard hall of fame. For most boards a victory of that nature ensures a few years of steady sales. We mere mortals blindly hand over our savings to secure a go on the board that won the world tour in the hope it will give us even a fraction of the skill of our heroes, before it is replaced by a newer, shinier model and destined for the bottomless pit of Facebook Marketplace. The Red Beauty, however, has been steadily churned out by the Merrick factory for nearly 40 years now and as proven by Dane and MFeb in ‘Out of the Rafters’, has still got it.
The longevity of these boards must be accredited to their mastermind. As hard as it is to separate the Ferrari from Enzo or the Sunflowers from Van Gogh, it’s impossible to think of either of these boards without evoking images of Tommy Curren on rail. Curren was the master in the late 20th century and his relevance has never faded. As much as surfers think they are free thinking individuals, we buy what our idols ride and there’s no style people want to emulate more than the style-master himself. The irreverent effortlessness of Curren’s bottom turn lights a fire in all surfers, so it’s really no surprise you can still buy a board with his name plastered all over it.
The longevity of the bump squash must be in part accredited to the success of its pin tailed sibling the Black Beauty. Brought to life in the mid ‘80s, the Black Beauty was fading into obscurity when Conner Coffin used it as his weapon of choice to decimate J Bay in his 2013 film ‘Highline’. The step up stole the show and was featured under Conner’s feet on a classic Surfer cover entitled ‘A return to form’. These timeless shapes are a benchmark for all shortboards.
Anything surviving 40 years through the ever changing world of the surf industry is an achievement and is testament that even in such a dynamic market, quality never goes out of fashion.
Which serves up a beautiful segue for a humble brag, with Wavelength, Europe’s longest running surf mag, still going strong forty-two years later.