Chris O'Rourke and Jim Banks....

I came across this article on Jim Banks , and the late Chris O’Rourke . [Surfer , May 1979 … used without permission]. This issue also had an article on “the bronzed clones” [Cheyne Horan and Jim]…THAT was the article’s title , not mine , by the way !

I hope it reproduces ‘readably’ [word?] , and is of interest …


good stuff…

jim banks is still at it too…

(that’s one of his in the avatar)

thanks for that link , ‘Toot’ !

I might email him , and ask about that "colour of thought " board I had … maybe he might still have the logo design ? who knows …

Jim Banks made the cover of ‘Surfer’ in the 1970s, as well as “Tracks” … AND won the OM Bali Pro in c 1978/ '80 ?

I would be keen to hear from people who knew / surfed with Chris O’Rourke …he features in a video I have called “Changes” …some good footage of him at what may be "big rock " ?

cheers !


Chipper what was the fin like on that board? when i spoke with him about a year ago he said he liked brewer style wide bases on his singles.

I dunno Josh …hard to tell from that photo eh ?


I would be keen to hear from people who knew / surfed with Chris O'Rourke

Aloha Ben

I made boards for both Chris and Jim. I found them to be great guys and good friends. No regrets knowing either one of them and that is saying a lot, if you understand how crazy the surf business too often is. Only regret was losing Chris so early.

cheers for that Bill !

…maybe you can answer Josh’s question then …did you put fin boxes or glassons in Jim’s single fins ?

If glassons , WERE they the brewer broadbase fin ?


Aloha Ben

Likely they were glass ons. They wouldn’t have been “Brewer” fins. They would have been “Barnfield” fins. Imagine that! Ha! Ha!

At the risk of sounding terribly arrogant (which I may be, but is not my point at all) I know it is sometimes hard for outsiders to understand what is happening at the elite level of surfers and board designers.

To keep this from being “personal” to anyone, I will create a famous shaper… we will call him “Apollo”.

At the elite level of board design and shaping there is little talk about stuff like “Apollo” fins or “Apollo” rails. These are labels that get ascribed by outsiders to new things that they see. At the elite level people aren’t trying to copy, understand or grasp those labels. They are just making boards with certain features and those features are changing, evolving and morphing so fast that no one can really lay claim to them or tag some label on them.

Other people see these features or things and need a simple label that they can be comfortable with. But they are rarely described at the elite level with the labels that are often very common to outsiders who get their information primarily from the magazines.

So, in a given era, if an Apollo board from some tiny slice of time in that era, winds up in a shop in Florida and that board has say… fuller angular rails. Those rails will be forever called Apollo rails. Even though 2 months later Apollo isn’t making those rails anymore. Or in fact, maybe they were never his idea anyway but the result of some ghost shapers attempt to follow his instructions on a board that just happened to wind up in Florida.

Additionally, tons of other guys may have been making boards with the same rails but their boards didn’t make it to Florida in that era so they were never credited with the look nor would they care to be, as they also had moved on to other stuff and never even knew there was going to be a label or contests to see which shapers name became the label describing that feature.

This is certainly not to take away anything from anyone who’s name is associated with any features or designs. Rather it is just a reminder that what is known in one area is not necessarily universal or global. For example, I have heard people say a board has “Barnfield Rails” yet I have no idea what those are? Ha!

Some may know my friend George Hansen who made fins, for years, on the North Shore. He is about 81 years old now and I see him every couple of days. I remember when he was making fins in the bushes up behind my house at Log Cabins. Simon Anderson was hanging around the shop in those days and I remember George saying to Simon, who was working on a new fin. “Hey Simon what is the idea behind that new fin your working on?” Simon, looks up kind of blankly, thinks for a minute and in his classic laid back Simon way…says…“I don’t know, I saw it on another blokes board and I thought it looked good, so I am making one like it!”

I used the term Elite and I am sure it sounds arrogant and self serving, yet as you can see by this simple example that very little is as “elite” as one might think and when it appears a few months later in the magazines it is often not what it appears to be.

Jim , in 1979 at Cape Hatteras . The first shot was the Surfer cover …the second a follow up sequence shot…

…Would this have been on one of your boards by any chance Bill ?

Hard to say for sure, but I don’t think so.

 Howzit josh, Found one of those brewer fins in the shed a couple of weeks ago, didn't relize I still had one around. Will try to take a pic and post it.Aloha,kokua

Thanks Kokua!


Aloha Ben

Likely they were glass ons. They wouldn’t have been “Brewer” fins. They would have been “Barnfield” fins. Imagine that! Ha! Ha!

Damn! Nice fin…Is that a Brewer fin? HaHa!!

So…show us the rest of that board.

I can’t remember where I snagged these photos though. I only wish it was mine. You’re the man!

Darn! I thought you were the owner.

Here is where you got the photos

Luckily, I still have one of those from the late 70s. A clean 8’2" Pipeliner. Near perfect condition. Red tint bottom, Yellow tint deck. It was my personal board…the last one before mutifins.

The purpose of those rather straight fins with slender tips?

When the wave really sucked out in front of you at Pipeline, as it often did as these type waves produced the longest tube rides. The water would accelerate up the face of the wave faster than you could correct for it. So, if you were triming deep in the tube with a long parallel rail set deep in the face to hold in on a long high line, and a big suck would hit. You had to release the inside rail by tilting the boards outside rail slightly downward. But this would have the unwanted effect of setting the fin deeper in the face.

Since it was often hard to quickly point these longer boards more down hill to compensate and keep from getting sucked up the face and over the falls. It was important that the fin was very easy to slip past the extreme force of the upward rushing water. Hence the fairly straight fin templates with minimal tip area.

Fat tips would get caught in the upward rush of water and … well you get the picture! And it is an ugly one! Ha!