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Long plywood racing surfboard

Date: 1950s
Dimensions:
Overall: 210 x 5130 x 470 mm, 12.5 kg
Medium: Coachwood ply
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Maroubra Surf Lifesaving Club
Object Name: Surfboard
Object No: 00001231

User Terms

    Description
    This long racing surfboard dates from the early 1950's, and was used by members of the Maroubra Surf Lifesaving Club. The flat-bottomed hollow board was made of varnished coachwood ply, which is both strong and light, and features the common 'needle' tail and square rails, used in board design from the 1950s.

    Use of this style of board was not confined to carnivals, where its extreme length made it easy to paddle and very fast. It was also a popular recreational board, though perhaps not as good at angling as solid hardwood boards. The advantage this board had over its predecessor was its light weight, being both hollow and made of ply wood. It durability was reasonable, with some maintenance required and repairs having to be immediately effected.
    SignificanceAlso known as needles, toothpicks and longboards, hollow surfboards such as this were popular in Australia until the early 1950s.
    HistoryPlywood had been used as a lightweight and cheap building material since the 1800s and was the material used by Californian surfer Tom Blake, who in 1931 patented a design for a hollow timber surf board. In 1934 one of the first hollow surf skis in Australia was made by Dr 'Saxon' Crackenthorp of Manly, New South Wales. Also built from plywood, the board was around four meters long.

    The racing board was constructed in a manner similar to aircraft wing construction of the 1940s period. Ply ribs hold light timbre battens over which is sheathed waterproof timbre screwed ply. The ply was screwed to the solid timbre sides with an elastic sealer called vulcatex to waterproof the joint. Later, when efficient water resistant glues were developed the accepted practice was to use waterproof glue and copper nail the ply to the sides in lieu of screws. These boards were superseded by the faster shapes being created with the introduction of fiberglass.
    Additional Titles

    Primary title: LONG RACING SURFBOARD FROM THE EARLY 1950'S. HOLLOW, MADE OF COACHWOOD PLY WITH SQUARE RAILS

    Web title: Long plywood racing surfboard

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