BOTM Reimagined

Not gonna lie, I totally dropped the ball on BOTM. Migrating SWAYLOCKS distracted me and I also felt like there wasn’t strong community buy in with the way I was handling it.

That said, it’s a new day and now that the dust has settled a bit, I’d like to open the floor for ideas on best way to handle this going forward. Specifically, here’s my questions:

1. Should there be requirements for submitting a build? If so, what are they?
2. How & where can they be submitted?
3. How is voting handled?

Thanks in advance for your input. Obviously, I can’t please everyone with a contest like this but I’ll try…

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I’ve missed the BOTM. I think the way it worked before was fine, no need for any conditions I don’t think. It’s just great (and inspirational) to see others creations. Funny thing is I discovered a board builder locally here in NZ that I didn’t even know about!!! I look forward to seeing a return!

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It would be nice to know how much experience the builder has (number of boards built?)

I think the contest would generate more interest if it were tied to a build thread. Post pics of the work in progress for discussion, as has been done for years. Finished boards are eligible to vote on. That way there is a foundation of explanation and participation for each submission. Maybe just twice a year, or 4 times (seasonal), I don’t think needs to be every month.

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It would definitely be nice to have some Q&A with the builder.


If it doesn’t have a build thread, it can not be considered.

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I agree with you, Mako.
Also, only hand-shaped boards should be admitted. Nothing against machines for production but CNC pre-shaped blanks are no shaping anymore, only finish sanding.
Just my opinion.

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For the most part I agree.
However, if it’s an original/novel shape (not stock) that requires math, science and CAD for design and CNC for precision hydrodynamics, IMO that is original and creative design work that requires many hours of hard work to get it to its final 3D form.

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If there is a legitimate build thread explaining the process then the voters can decide, pretty sure that approach would be respected. This is why you need a build thread for each entry - so you have the back story a little more in depth.

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Would there really be enough build threads each month to have competition? I suppose if you build it they will come.

Ha ha! If you build it they will come…if you market it well!!

I think your right about not having enough build threads per month so that calls into question the name. May have to change it to BOTQ or BOTY

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I think that would certainly elevate the best builds

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There is a guitar forum I used to go on that did an annual contest. You had to post a build thread and there were two categories, one for the quality of the finished product and the second category for how good the thread itself was. That way a first time builder tinkering at his kitchen table could have a shot right along side a seasoned pro with an incredible workshop.

This is an excellent idea because it combines the two facets of a great build thread, rewarding both. And it keeps the enthusissm level high for posting entertaining content.


I think we should definitely keep BOTM going but on a three month basis. I won in april and have been looking forward to the BOTY in February with the old format that was announced. As mentioned by multiple people, we should include more then pics of the final result, maybe buildthreads and maybe a little story behind the inspo/ the ideas behind the project. In all cases, i miss the BOTM and i hope we will still get a BOTY as promessed!

I dig this discussion. I agree a thread should be necessary and think anything should be eligible via any means available. Let the masses vote and decide what should be rewarded. I like the idea of an award for the thread. As a newbie it can be pretty intimidating putting your creation against a 40-year pro. Good stuff!

I’m probably going to sound like the old grumpy (that I am), but I would like to insist on this: only hand-shaped and self-glassed build threads.
Can you imagine a thread with photos of a guy clicking on his table-top, then photos of a KKL machine running and last, photos of the guy dropping his CNC-shaped blank at the glass shop?
If that is the future of Swaylocks, I’m out.


That’s a little too inflexible. There are clear exceptions. Leonardo da Vinci and Michael Angelo used coordinate geometry and mathematical ratios for their artwork.

What you demand would be like me insisting that you derive and provide mathematical equations for all the curves in the board you shape.

I derive mathematical equations for the outline curves of my templates and for my channel contours — hours of tedious work plotting points and deriving curve equations as well as angles. You have to visualize the curves and shapes before you can derive an equation. And there is lots of CNC prototyping before arriving at a final shape — reshaping is done in the “mind.”

These curves are needed for the precise hydrodynamic performance I want. CNC cutting of those curves insures the desired performance and precise replication for each board made. Furthermore, these equations are my “secret sauce.”

Not to worry though, I don’t enter contests — I have no need. If I feel the urge, I just post a solo build thread.

What makes a shaper is the ability to do with his hands what you do with a machine. Before that, a well-trained eye (one who has seen hundreds -thousands?- of different surfboard curves) will easily detect irregularities in a curve (a bump here, a straight line there…)
Besides, we are not building supersonic planes. Supersonic planes may need mathematically produced curves, surfboards don’t. I would love to see you able to point out differences in performance between one of your computer-drawn and CNC-shaped board and one I would have designed and cut the template out of a piece of plywood then shaped with the good old Skil, surform and other hand-tools.
Sorry, nothing against you or your way of doing things but this has nothing to do with shaping. Why don’t you create your own forum? I am sure that many people will enthusiastically follow you.
We are not doing the same thing.
I’d like to read a lot of other opinions on this topic.

We all must come to the reality that computers and technology will change the way we do things.

I think as long as it’s a unique shape with the designer’s spin on it, it should be allowed. HOWEVER, I think that the design, finish sanding and glass work should all be the work of the person that posts the thread.

In terms of shape, I think the poster, inside of the build thread would/should be explaining the design. What is the use, why does it look the way it looks, what’s unique about it, etc…

I totally agree that it would dilute the contest to have a generic CNC shape be dropped at a glassing shop and then submitted here.

I also think that the entire point if VOTING on a winner is also to put this up to a democratic process. If you think CNC boards don’t meet the cut, don’t vote for it. Once the court of public opinion weighs in, that will persuade or dissuade folks from further posting their builds up.