The design premise isn’t that new actually. “The whole idea started early during the shortboard revolution when Midget Farley developed a stringerless board,” says Rusty Surfboards General Manager Peter Johnson. “It felt really alive, but didn’t last very long. People have tried to get a different flex with epoxy boards, but those didn’t catch on because they just didn’t feel right. Now we’ve developed a board with a tapered stringer. It’s got a different flex pattern and makes the board feel alive. This board really snaps through turns.”
In the Flextail, Rusty worked with Clark Foam to develop the foam blank with the disappearing stringer. It actually starts as a standard double stringer at the nose and then tapers to an end at the fins of the board. With a unique look, there’s actually no stringer — just foam — across the back of the board. However, strength was added by using a heavier S Cloth fiberglass. And to compensate for the added flex, the rocker is flatter.
To develop the board, Rusty has shaped more than 150 versions in the last year. Southern California local pros like Matt Coleman have been testing them extensively, and Rusty took the new design on its shop demo tour, which made 32 stops around the country this summer. Locals in each area tried the boards and gave tons of feedback.
Johnson says Clark Foam actually gave Rusty the structural characteristics of the boards so they could quantify what was going on with the designs. The company has been playing with the flexes of the boards for a while. In standard production models, it shifted to double stringers about eight years ago to make the boards stronger, but most pros felt this made the boards to stiff, so they still get mostly single stringer boards.
Rusty won’t come out with production Flextail models until the spring of 2001, in regular thruster or C-5 versions, but the C-5 model is the preferred.
“We’re always pushing the technical and innovative level of surfboards,” says Johnson. From the board manufacturer that developed the C-5 and backed it up with two contests and tons of cash prizes, it’s good to see the development continues. Johnson promises more is on the way from Rusty.