Greg Loehr

Greg, While browsing thru the Surfer Mag Design Forum, I ran across and interesting thread involving questions for Aussie shaper Greg Weber. On one post Mr. Weber points out that one of your concave bottom boards he saw Bill Hartley riding in Oz in the mid eighties influenced his involvement with the evolution of that design. Pretty cool reading. He was hoping youd drop by that site or maybe he’ll drop by this forum.

Thanks foamdust, can’t believe the timing, just posted a note to GL to the same effect, one minute after your one. (I think…getting pretty tired)… just did some amazing curve bending with Biolos on the Brazilian program. Pretty much put the previous Webber shape in a wind tunnel/time machine. ie you know,lovely old nature over long periods of time, blending even densities of matter until they get female. GW

Bill Hartley, HAS to be one of the most UNDERRATED surfers of our time. He shuns the spotlight, the guy has the best positioning, as deep as possible, on edge rail turns. If Kelly ever reads this, I’m sure his take on Hartley would be the same, even name him as a mentor

Hartley was the last of my proteges, and perhaps the best. The talent was there for him to exceed all that had come before him and procure all the WCT accolades that laid in front of him. He chose a different path, one that would allow him personal happiness and freedom outside the confining bounds of sponsored life. Bottom line, Bill just LOVED to surf and still does. He never felt the need to prove himself to the world, just to himself. The surfboard designs we created together, along with the rest of the Ocean Avenue legacy, were a special part of a great relationship we all shared for many, many years and led to many great outcomes. The gambit finally fell to Bill and Kechs protege Kelly who fulfilled the dreams of many of us here in the East. The dream to cast off the mantle bestowed on us by the Western media and to be seen as equals in the eyes of the world in much the same way Australia did two decades before. GW, its nice to see you here. I have been a fan for many years of the open minded creativity of your work. It’s nice to see that your eccentricity has placed you in a position of reward. Doesn’t always happen that way. Also nice to see from your post above that the fire is still burning and the desire to progress beyond today hasn’t left. Thanks too for the many kind words over the years. Credit is sometimes all we get in this biz.

so what i’m reading is that GL was pretty much the guy behind the chip design? why did Al get all the credit from the mags? GL had it in 85 and I can’t find anything about it until the emergence of Kelly starting in about 92. GW, what was happening those 7 years?

Hey Greg, sounds like you’re still into the the creative bit, too. I’m starting a board design magazine and will be doing heaps of profiles and interviews, so you will be in the first issue…if you want to. I’ll email you about it soon. I had to have a year off, was getting fully jaded with the whole thing. I opened a surfing mag one day and realised that all I was looking for was my logo. Made me sick in a way. Went and lived on an island off new south wales, where only 3 guys surfed regularly.I only shaped 40 or 50 boards that year, mainly Taj. had a bay on the lagoon looking out to the coral reef. Was good. Back into it now, playing with the big machine that is ‘surfing’. Got to be objective about it all. At least the board is being looked at as a marketing tool more and more. I know that sounds sellout-ish, but as a consequence at least, the designer will be worth something in relation to the turnover of the big clothing companies. Not in terms of profits from boards of course, but by being able to say for example: “Quiksilver makes the best boards in the world”. This will destroy the frustrating comparison (for them)between the board and a pair of board shorts, and will give them a perpetual marketing campain. (eg exciting and well funded R + D programs)The Rusty phenomenon led to a need to keep the board maker in his place in terms of profile, but in their defence they were helping the board maker by riding the back of the huge ad campains…for modest gains by comparison, of course. As soon as one major embraces one top designer to do ALL of their team riders boards, and enhances his ability to do that(money, technology, management), then a distinction will be made between that clothing company and its greatest rivals. It’s not so much that all three needed to change their approach to marketing, it’s just that when one does it well then the others will look soft if they don’t have ‘one of the best designers in the world’. Sorry for this rave but if all shapers get on better and add to the mystique that the act of surfing already provides, then the sooner will all levels of clothing and other associated companies need a board designer of their own. It should filter down. The board is the best icon for the whole surfwear industry to use. Even more than the wave as a symbol, it specifically represents the act of surfing. They look amazing,are loved when they are good, photograph well and attract incredibly heated debate when they’re method of construction is toyed with on the larger scale. Unlike apparel, they can genuinely be described as magic. Some or all of this stuff is known, but by identifying it at this sort of level, and not whinging about our pathetic state, maybe some bigger change will come. Then reefs, then wave pools will be the next tools to attach a big name to. eg “the geatest man made wave in the world” Again, capital growth will fuel the development of these potentials,(eg massive property value increases at pefect wave sites, especially where little urban development exists prior to reef construction). I think surfing is our planet’s only hope to diminish materialism, and bring us back to nature, by getting tubed like crazy.Man woman, young old.(they can ride the belly boards!)Religion and westernised spirituality isn’t doing it, so what else is there? Don’t feel obliged to get into a big discussion on this, am I dreaming??? just a small response would be great.GW

I have run into the frustration of many years of being constantly questioned and critisized about my views on boards from the more conservative corners of the sport (that’s what happened to my 7 years, El Santo). Being known as “the mad scientist” does have some trying moments. In some ways it’s nice being away from the day to day grind of shaping for the first time in 30 years. Wish I could say I’m surfing on an island, instead I’m working in a polymer plant in Arizona for the time being. Just see this as the place to make the greatest contribution. Along with this wonderful website where we get to talk boards as well. This place is like 6-8 ft. glass everyday. I would be honored to be included in your mag. I love writing about these things. They are infinitely interesting and a subject that seems to have no end. Interesting slant that the major clothing manufacturers might be interested in “giving back!?!” to the sport??? Certainly this would be a boon to them, to actually be seen as “hardcore.” Perhaps there is positive movement where they will give some the opportunity to advance a stagnant industry instead of simply trying to figure out some way to control it (SIMA).

I say you are lucky that your clothing gave you a name for surfboard making…Why are you an authority!!!

GW… check out Stu’s response… This is the conservative skepticism I was talking about in my last post. Welcome to America. Land of the free, home of the paranoid skeptic. Free creative expression is something to be feared and preferably STAMPED OUT! Understanding inevitable change is not worth the time. There is true comfort in the ignorance of history. Building beyond creativity of the founding fathers (Greenough, Velsy, Hobie , etc.) is blasphemy. Need I go on… Sincerely, your heretic friend…GL

What came first the chicken or the egg?