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Slab kneeboard designed by Peter Crawford

Date: 1980s
Overall: 1680 x 60 x 70 mm, 5.56 kg
Medium: Polyethylene
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Peter Embrey
Classification:Vessels and fittings
Object Name: Kneeboard
Object No: 00030836
Place Manufactured:Sydney

User Terms

    Polyethylene 'slab' knee board with separate fin, elongated fin box and 'WindSea' leg rope attached. The board was designed by Peter Crawford and made in Australia under license by the Dulmison Windsurfing Pty Ltd in the early 1980s. The elongated fin box allowed adjustments to be made in the positioning of the fin. The fins were set back near the tail for use on large waves and to anchor the board, and forward towards the nose for smaller waves which allowed for side slipping on the wave.
    SignificanceThe board is an early example of knee boarding technology designed by a leading figure in surfing. Peter Embry purchased and assembled the board in the 1980s, and used it to surf Sydney's northern and southern beaches.
    HistoryThis knee board, designed by Peter Crawford, was manufactured in Australia under license by the Dulmison Windsurfing Pty Ltd (later known as Sailboards Australia) who manufactured most of the early 'Windsurfer' brand sailboards in the 1980s. It has been made using the same techniques and materials used to manufacture 'Windsurfers', though this 'pop out' style was not popular with surfers who preferred handmade, customised boards that were crafted for an individual surfer's needs.

    Peter Crawford became one of Australia's finest knee boarders. He grew up in Bondi and later lived in Dee Why, where he watched and emulated his hero, the knee boarding pioneer Brian Tetstall. When American surfer George Greenough began knee boarding in Australia in 1966 and experimenting with his flexible spoon boards, he inspired Peter Crawford to work on his own designs.

    As with early surfboard contests, early kneeboard contests were forums where surfers could compare each other's designs. The first contest for knee boarders was held at Dee Why in 1970, and Peter Crawford won, taking home a Shane Steadman designed 'shoe' kneeboard, which was produced in reaction to the 'spoon'. Crawford won this contest on a 'slab' design, which is what he continued to use throughout this period. The 'slab' came about when Crawford could not get Greenough's flexible 'spoon' boards to work in the conditions at Dee Why. In response he developed a wider board that could plane across flat spots, but was thin in sections so that the rail could be used for turns.

    Crawford dominated early kneeboarding contests in Australia and influenced kneeboard design with his 'slab'. He went on to become a professional surfing photographer documenting Australian and international contests, and contributing to all major Australian and international surfing publications. He died in Bali in 1999.
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    Web title: Slab kneeboard designed by Peter Crawford

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