Barnfield Asks... Are Clark Blank Specs Private or Public Property

As the other thread clearly demonstrated the legalities are either and or, not conducive, expired, limited in scope, expensive, or do not apply. I have an alternative, a proposal, that I can post, but only if you wish to hear it. I think it can be made to accommodate all your wishes and expectations or as close as possible. It came to me yesterday and the more I thought about it the more it made sense. Humbly submitted for your approval.

Send it on Mark. But if it has a bunch of lawyers and legal requirements attached it isn’t going to fly or be able to enforce.

But really, this isn’t about “an agreement”. This is about shapers simply saying that they think the blank designer has made a significant contribution and they think it should be recognized by the new blank mfgs and that they shouldn’t rip off the designers.

Think of it as a preformed unbaked pizza crust that popout manufacturer Popa John's uses. If I started using his specs and recipe on my pizza crust, would I be infringing on his design if I added a few more things like baked in cheese, after all it is an unfinished baked good until you.................. just kidding I just couldn't help myself.


Pizza dough would better describe the foam formula not the blank design.

It doesn’t matter what is done to the blank afterwards, or by who it is done.

It only matters that the new blank manufactures are capitolizing on the blank designers, design specs, blank name and reputation and good will.

Kind of like buying a CD that says it is Jimmi Hendrix only to discover that it is other people playing like Jimmi Hendrix. The issue is not the legalities but rather the obvious attempt to scam on the reputation of others actual real efforts.

No. It is not ethical to copy a designers plug without agreed upen compensation. Legalities are frequently out of line with ethics and shouldn't be substituted one for the other. Mike


American Blanks will be compensating the designers for some of the blanks that will be offered. I have committed to certain designers to pay a small royalty for their designs, more as a token of respect than a big money issue. The compensation should allow them to take their "significant other" out to a nice dinner once in a while. The cost for these rocker templates will be added to the cost of the blank and isn't enough to break the bank. You the consumer have the choice. There will be the generic version or a close tolerance blanks....
      More to come... 



That is exactly the kind of formula that brings a clear light to the issue and keeps it from deviating downward to the point where everyone has to come up with excuses for what they are doing instead of just being up front and noble as you are being.

Actually, I somewhat agree. If I had designed a major Clark blank, I would contact EVERY EPS blank producer I could and offer them the opportunity to use my name and the Clark catalog blank name in advertising the shape of the blank, in exchange for royalty compensation.

The thing the Clark blank really brought you of worth was name recognition and people using your blank. They will look for that blank name again, and you can provide it and your name as designer for marketing/sales purposes, and that is worth something.

What’s fair…what will the market bear…dunno, have to guess a buck or two a blank, but that will add up VERY fast for the 6’2"C. But remember, the KEY here is using the trademark names, that is the value added. The shapes themselves, well, I don’t want to be insulting to their designers, but legally ain’t nothing there.

Then, anyone that doesn’t want to play ball, make it clear. The blank bears my name. You can’t use it. The shape, well, you can use that, but you can’t use the Clark catalog name, because it uses my name…

I also agree that shapers would be better off spec’ing finished rocker shapes instead of Clark rockers, you can really get the entire rocker/foil finished in the blank for no real additional cost with EPS since you are not making a concrete mold for the blank, you are CNC cutting rockers with a hotwire.

Thank you Bill,

I had been thinking how can one turn back the clock?

This time get it right? Afterall it is a new day.

I would really like to see all the shapers get credit for thei r designs in a way that reminds everyone of the past in a respectful way. Templates, bottom contours, rockers, outlines, tails, concaves all had someone that was first. A lot of this is documented and that which isn’t can still be accredited with proper authentication.

Then I thought, there has to be a way to do this now and for the future. And then it dawned on me. Yes.

First a little background. How I combined a couple key concepts to create a new idea.

Someone I know with a lot of old super8 and video of early surfing and skating (70’s and 80’s) recently sold his company and is looking at a large capital gains tax bill. I suggested donating his film archive to the East Coast Surfing Hall of Fame. I spoke to one of the HOF governing committee members and was told yes they are a 510 (c)(3) tax exempt corporation with the ability to accept archive material in exchange for tax writeoffs.

I had been carrying this idea for over a year and even spoke about it with the gentleman in queston but I guess in the course fo the year he forgot. But nothing like a huge capital gains tax bill to open your ears:-) Well I just started looking into it last week so I know a little about it. So that was one influence. Point is it was on my mind.

Next,as I mentioned, I had gotten into a conversation/debate with Sean Smith of SIMA. One point I was making was that SIMA seems to me be out of touch with the needs of the industry. How could everyone get caught so unaware by Clark? And why doesnt SIMA get out in front of the polyester issue which is going to slam home in April of this year? I hear Curtis drove this point home and gave it a twist last week. Anyway my point in general way to Sean was that SIMA needs to get out in front and lead. Be a spearhead. Well, now I have an idea that could serve SIMA by combining both your idea with the Kokua twist and the 501 (c) (3) and with an added bonus to boot.

I’ll put it up for commentary in it’s own separate post on this thread.

Just a reminder it is a fresh idea. The paint isn’t even dry. So, please really read it a few times first before jumping on it. It’s not even a draft of a proposal but a basic outline. Very rough. And even then give it some time in the air to just look at it. It’s really a nice solution. But then I’m partial.

Thanks again Bill.

Here’s my proposal that builds on Bill Barnfield’s and Kokua’s ideas.

Basically it’s an Underwriters Labratory concept.

An overseeing body might to be chosen containing a panel of judges, to

be decided upon (my suggestion: anyone who has had a Clark blank be eligible),

that would control the use of blank and board designers names and their

contributions to both long and short board design. This overseeing body

then permits the placement of their stamp of approval on the blanks and

boards of companies that reimburse the organization and thus the designers for the features they have

contributed to their surfboard and blank designs.

The overseeing body serves as a licensing body, collection agency, and official authorizing

body, with limits placed on it, to only use the names in it’s control for

surfboard design and construction recognition related purposes.

This way surfers buying boards can be sure they are getting an officially

sanctioned Yater Spoon Nose, Rusty Rocker, a Beatty Rocket Fish template, or a

Loehr Concave bottom, Anderson Thruster, Loehr Potato Chip etc. Just basic examples.

The proof would be a laminate the shaper would purchase with the blank and

would be permitted to place in the area of the board that contains that feature

or some other place on the board. It would be totally voluntary in the sense

that shapers would not be required to purchase the laminates, but then they could not use the

names of the inventors either. There is no legal precedent or protection

available for ideas that are in the public domain past the statute of limitations,

other than for the use of the licensing of the names associated with them, but companies

could lead by going along with this and seeking official authorization of free will.

The laminates design would contain one or two

Copyrighted or Trademarked logos which ever is more appropriate. A fee would

be charged for the laminate. Or they would come with the blank.

The governing body that I suggest initiates this is SIMA.

Here is what makes it work. Since Trademaks are a few hundred bucks

only a SIMA logo need be registered and contained on the laminate.

It’s inclusion on the laminate

along with the designers name and design feature, the permission to use

granted by the designer, would make it an official trademarked stamp of


SIMA could simultaneously establish a 501 (c) (3) charitable not for

profit corporation for the collection, holding, and dispensation of

funds that could be disbursed based on criteria yet to be established to

former professional shapers. glassers, sanders etc. with health care

needs not covered by their insurance. If for some reason a shaper wished

to donate a share of his or her royalties to this fund it would be a seamless

contribution for which they could receive tax credit instead of a check.

Since shapers, glassers and sanders are the workhorses that are the very

foundation of the entire surf industry and many toil without insurance

and many from the early days of this group are reaching retirement age,

other members of SIMA such as the billion dollar clothing and surf apparel

giants might be encouraged to contribute a share of their profits to

this fund, thus allowing them a stamp on their label stating this fact

and rapidly building a nest egg for the future health of the people who

founded and literally built this sport one board at a time.

Maybe this could be called the Dale Velzy Foundation or the Bob Simmons

Foundation or the Simmons/Velzy Foundation if either of their families

are willing to grant permission or something along those lines. If not,

I’m sure an anagram like “SIMA” could be created.

Picture this:

joe blow blank design

rocker or template

officially approved by the

Simmons Velzy Foundation ®

a SIMA® approved design

Something along those lines.

Licensing surfers names is not new.

Licensing shapers names is long over due.

The movie and other sports industries have done something similar.

This proposal written January 27, 2006 by Mark L. Spindler. Updated January

28, 2006. Humbly submitted to the public on January 28, 2006.

Thank you.

I have an interesting question. Initially, the 10-1Y blank was a pretty good design but many of us complained that it did not yield a 10-0 (deck measured) board and the nose was too thick. Otherwise, it was a great blank. Rather than try to make a longer plug, it was decided that a better solution would be to lengthen the plug and cast a new mold. The project was given to Yater, but it sat around his shop way longer than a bunch of impatient shapers were willing to wait for. So in 1994 I volunteered to undertake the project. I spent the better portion of a week extending it to the present 10-3.

The plugs have been returned. I got two of the three that I designed; the third apparently was destroyed during the mold making process. I assume that Yater got the 10-1Y back. Now, suppose Yater decides to provide some blank company with this great plug, but for compensation. You can see where this thought is going.

Howzit Rich, Maybe that blank should be called a 10-3Y-H then the compensation could be split in half between you and Yater,pretty simple.Aloha,Kokua

What good are these plugs doing anyone, including the designer, if they are only "intellectual property?"

So Surfthis… that’s an excuse to rip off the designers? The blank mfgs need only to call the designer up and get permission. Many not even attempting to do so proves my point. They are not “ONLY” intellectual property, they are a real physical thing that is the result of the knowledge and efforts of some very skilled designers who’s reputations alone sell zillions of blanks.

I see where you’re coming from, but builders need reliable blanks now, not after a startup company goes through a testing phase to see what’s most functional or marketable. I believe that Clark deserves as much of the credit as the designer, as he had to create the mold, in hopes that it would gain acceptance and be a marketable commodity.

No one is trying to take away any of Clarks contributions. But the design and name recognition stands independent regardless of who molds it.

Since Clark isn’t around, how would one go about coming up with fair compensation for a blank design?

Why do you ask that? Clark has nothing to do with a new guys making blanks and them compensating the designers of their plugs.

I think you touched on it in your post, and that is that the blank designers didn’t create the plug for compensation, it was more for their own need for a reliable, easy to shape, close tolerance blank.

Of course, as Walker Foam is in the best position to rebuild these molds, maybe he will compensate the designer if he chooses to use their plugs. However, if Walker, the ozzie, brazilian, or any other blank manufacturer can produce functional blanks of their own design that are readily accepted, then your point will be moot anyway.

Agreed, no one is saying that any one is forced to use the designers plugs. Just that if they do they ought to compensate the guy for it.

i think the whole thing is an over reaction …

a rocker is only as good as the outline you combine it with or the fin setts , rails , bottom contours , the whole list of variables …

the guy who shapes the finished product (surfboard ready for surfing) is the designer …

ive had guys work for me and use my exact close tolerance machined to the millimeter eps blanks and still made duds because they combined a poor choice of outline and rails with the rocker lines …

if you design a finished surfboard , you should be compensated when the customer pays , if you design a surfboard to be reproduced with your name on it , then its obvious its more about branding and logo compensation , like surftech and the 50 buck a board royalty …

but if you supply a curve to a blank manufacturer so that your life as a shaper can be made easier by not having to mow as much foam , your not really giving away anything special , if someone else uses that curve , its no guarantee they will get a magic board without all the other curves harmonising …

then even if someone would copy a shapers board exact , it will only work well within a 10lb range for a certain individual , if its a high performance board …

any curve is only as good as the total package …

i hardly think simon would want his name on every backyard hack job that had 3 fins , or what about gregs name being on a hideous creation just because it had a concave …

if i shape a board from a Y.H. longboard blank (which i wouldnt , coz i dont do urethane ), who really designed it ???

if im looking for a certain curve to combine with the outline and other variables i want to run , then i would look to find the closest bottom rocker i could find …

whether those curves were a bunch of simple numbers or a persons name would be irrelavent , i just want a certain curve …

all the clark curves were so generic …

who could claim a curve where it was possible to get any number of variables from ???

if you made a plug , it was to make your life easier …

if you were paid to make a plug , then you got paid …

if you got some recognition by having your name on it , a bonus …

coming down to computer profiled eps , the foam companies will keep all your curves in seperate files …

ive dealt with companies where ive seen there files of different customers , some guys had 2 or 3 different sets of specs , mine was chock filled with 2 or 3 different designs for every inch or 2 , i know i would be pissed at the foam company if they allowed the curves i had designed to be used by others without my permission or knowledge …

because they can be cut to the millimetre in rocker and thickness distribution , so much more work has already been done …

i would say copying a clark in eps would be no great crime , in fact it would just be a waste of foam and actually make the shapers job harder …

but copying a close tolerance design , that was created specifically for eps would be like using a digitally designed file from a shaper , like those used on shaping machines …

in this case the foam maker would have to see where individual designers stood on this before they sold any of there designs to others , it would be the designers right to either have the files kept secure for personal use , have them made public in exchange for either naming rights or an ongoing compensation style royalty …

many shapers had rockers which were secret rockers and were not open for public sale or even seen by anyone …

so the morals of the foam company and those handling secure information would be where it finished …

i do see a difference between a generic chunk of foam and a close tolerance digital design …

but we also tread common ground , so there is always room for double ups …

ive measured merricks which were to the millimeter with curves ive had in my files for a decade , who copyied who???

neither , it was just a logical progression …

nev recently sent me a digital design of a 7’-6" gun , when i overlayed it on my 7’-6" rocker , it was exact , except for a 3mm difference in the last 3" of the tail , one was refined in hawaiin waves , the other in the southwest of australia …

i would say if curves are published publicly there public property …

if curves are meant to be guarded and they end up in the public realm , then there is an issue between the designer and the foam producer …

curves can be indentical from different shapers in different places , so if a curve was made public that matched what was supposed to be kept secure and the foam company had no other designers who could have originally designed that curve , then there could also be an issue …

it all comes down to dealing with reputable people in the end …

which pretty well makes it clark season , so if your the real deal and your in amongst the woodducks , chances are you may just cop a slug or two in all the mayhem at the moment …

i say they are public property , but being so generic , it would be petty to make a claim on an oversized chunk of planer fodder…



I think it is easy to call them generic now, for someone who never shaped a board before the 1980s. But the point BillB keeps coming to is that these rockers were not at all generic when the blanks were done. In fact, for many of the earlier models, the blanks defined the genre of boards for decades after. This point cannot be overlooked by someone who shaped through the evolution of rockers, but could be easily missed by someone who started in the 80s. As an example, a 1974 big wave gun came through the shop. I spoke with its shaper, and asked him if I should ride it.

He said it was a piece of crap, state of the art for its day, but it used a mid 70s gun rocker, and we now know that those are WAY too flat which makes the board difficult to control.

The other thing being brought up is being moral and ethical while someone tries to achieve compensation for something published freely for decades. That is just silly. There is no copyrighted intellectual property in those blank shapes. Or in those you have on file Bert (although they may be considered “trade secrets”, which is a different class of IP).

The thing of great value, which may not “sound” so great to a craftsman, are the NAMES of the craftsmen and the blanks. That is where the compensation would be due. I think it is in the best interests of both the plug designers AND the EPS blank suppliers to utilize this to the greatest extent possible. And the names are a form of trademark IP, and they are not without value and merit. The names are associated with the shapes, and used to identify them, and cannot be used without the original designers…

I think Bert has got it right. There are just so many ways to draw a bottom curve. I tried an experiment after chewing on this thing for a few hours: drew the rocker for a 6’4’ according to what I thought would be best to surf my local wave. Only measured the ending and beginning rocker and the rest by the eye. Result, the center curve was almost identical to a 6’4" r – all points were within a 1/16 and at most 1/8 – and the ending rockers were where the + #'s I would have added shape anyway. It just aint rocket science and there are only so many ways to skin a cat. This took a whopping 15 minutes to draw. My first reaction was to post the offsets and make a point. Then it struck me how much I liked my own curve and I decided I did not want you to have it - the 6’4"s2 is mine (evil laugh added for emphasis). A lot of talk about what these designers want, got the opinion of Rick – that is real among a lot of blather. Who knows what they want. Maybe they want money, recognition - maybe they want no one to use it. Maybe 25 years from now the doctors will be about to pull out the plug on one of their life support systems and they are happy that everyone still use a blank designed by them with their name attached. But again, this is their fight – people need to let them speak for themselves and respect their word. Sorry, but it is about the law and the rules. You make and set rules before situations arise to prevent chaos and emotion from ruling the day. Think about it. Lets not set any rules for surfing – we just surf and work it out in the water – no inside, outside, snake or bait. Opinions about justice are many and diverse. Rule by opinion is a lynch mob.

Whether you can draw that rocker line by eye now is not the point. 40 years ago the impact of Clark blanks on shortboards did not exist. If you were living then, could you have drawn that rocker line without the impact of Clark blanks? If you could you would have been one of the greatest shapers of that era…

It is easy to say these things are trivial…rockers haven’t moved much in about 20 years. That is because they were largely solved in the 20 years previously. And many of the people who solved them were the blank designers for Clark, and the people who started with their solutions became the rocker designers for a new generation. These guys had an enormous impact on the consistency of delivered surfboards!

It is truly disineguous to say those were without worth, it indicates a clear lack of understanding of surfboard design history.

However, it is also silly today to claim that those Clark catalog designs should be protected or protectable as groups of numbers specifying a design. Clark gave those shapers names a clear advantage - they were listed with each blank. And that has value, and those shapers should use that if they want credit for their work.


Loehr knows where his influences came from. He has to the best of my knowledge never shyed from giving credit. Most recently even after Surfing mag and Greg Webber singled him out he still gives credit for the concave idea to Brewer. I pointed out his was different than yours. He agreed, but he acknowledges prior art. I/ we have discussed the necessity of prior art before. Everyone should declare prior art. Unless their memory is fading, which is all the more reason we need to get this info straightened out now. If for no other reason than historical. I know more about conversations A. Lincoln had on the day of his death than I do about which shaper invented what. But if shapers can’t agree on who invented what? I mean really agree, then I guess it’s not important and shapers can pound salt. But if they do care, then they should do something about it.

Finding the originators of certain designs would not be as hard as everyone makes it out to be. And these curves did not magically appear. They all have roots and sources.

Establishing a time line is a good starting point. Knowing when each shaper started learning his craft and who they trained under and when each innovation came on line would serve as a first level elimination test and the rest could be deduced from there. This is nothing less than archeological excavation of facts.

Having exact dimensions to work from would raise the level of the so called “backyard hack” who just may be shaping for a major label. This is real good opportunity to standardize

curves and how they apply to bottons, decks, and tails. Having this information would really raise the bar on standards and practices. It’s really just applying engineering to what up to now has been closely held mystical beliefs.

And thank you Dave for bringing further emphasis and clarification to my claim that it is the names that have the value. The value is still in the labeling. Not just in the traditioal sense, but in a forward thinking sense, future licensing for real money. That is what needs to be hashed out.

This is good work. If anything comes out of it the proof will be here in these archives.

Thank you for proving my point.

A Rusty rocker is a Rusty rocker.

It may seem logical now, but it wasn’t then. He shaped a lot of boards for free and gave them to his pros and battled it out with Al Merrick and his shaping ability and his top pros. Don’t think for a minute it came cheap. From that came a body of informatino we all take for granted now and use freely. Everyone’s understanding of what comes natural now did not come natural. There was progression…progress. Tht is what Bill is pointing out. It was hard fought and hard won. So to use a Rusty rocker now and tell one person just one it is a copy of a Rusty rocker is something you still don’t have the legal right to do. His name is Trademarked.


There is a progression in ownership here. Can anyone decipher the code besides me? You don’t even have to know Rusty’s history to figure it out from the uspto info.

But it does help.

there seems to be a giant gap between the value of a blank design and the value of finished board design…and that gap is as large as the Grand Canyon!

Ignoring this gap for a moment…

So assuming the blank designer is entittled to a small royalty,

are end-users/builders supposed to pay this indefinitely until the end of time?

even the most profitable patent protected intellectual property have expiration dates.

Is an arbitrary time frame of 20 years reasonable?

OR, should the blank designer be compensated for how much design effort he put into the design project?

Say it took 1,000 hours to refine the design…how much is that worth? Is it worth twenty years of $1/ea royalty payments?

The simple matter of the fact here is that in biz, most often, you get fair and reasonable, sometimes lucrative compensation for IP. If you have a patent any/all compensation is protected.

Outside of this any compensation would be considered Goodwill.


The IP here is trademark and that leads to market recognition, and there is no expiration on that. There are no protected inventions or expressions, just the names of the creators of blanks. And there will certainly be nothing to prevent any shaper from ordering his own custom rocker lines, which may be identical to those in a 6’4"R, without specifying a 6’4"R. And, it will be greatly expected that the large cookie cutter shaping outfits, like Merrick and Rusty and Lost, will not pay any blank royalties ever, but will choose to specify their own custom rockers instead.

But don’t undersell the value of a good trademark…the only thing separating Merrick from Canyon is the name and associated history, the products are near copies, yet people still routinely spend much more on a CI instead of buying the cheaper Canyon.

It’s not the design that’s proposed to be protected. It’s clear that it cant be. We have pages of debate on that issue and the results are clear. Designs are public domain. It’s the name of the designer we are talking about now. And no one can trade on another person’s tradename without permission.

You’re still paying for the name Coke aren’t you. You don’t think that you’re buying anything more than less than a cent of sugared water do you? It’s the branding and all that that entails that you are paying for.

Copyrights and Trademarks have fees that can, yes, can be extended indefinitely.

“Say it took 1,000 hours to refine the design…how much is that worth? Is it worth twenty years of $1/ea royalty payments?”

That could be one way of looking at it. But there are many other ways of looin gat it. Just need to find a way that works for this particular industry.

I don’t think we are at a stage yet where we can assign value. We can look first at how other business assign value to their product. I think suggestoins are in order. Let me lead off.

Bill Gates formula is simple…it’s based on how much should a customer pay for each day to use his software for one year? If the figure is just 85 cents a day then that software package costs $310. If the formula is just for business days that is 5x50 or 250 times 85 for $212 which is just about right for a wholesale price that can be keystoned.

His method is not based on how much he invested in R&D. His record on R&D is horrendous. It’s so bad I don’t even want to talk about it, because it will take me hundreds of pages. And I’m not even going to begin to discuss the ten year legal battle over the stolen propety he built his company on. That is a matter of public recond and anyone can Google that if they wish.

But this highlights how nice it would be to settle these issues.