The Thruster in 2004

thrusters…Master Simon Anderson…Kelly Slater World Champion,australian rules surfing… bravo “Australian rules surfing” - another nice one, Ambrose. Assuming this whole thread is good natured, let me fire back with my own opinion. But first, a story…I may be repeating myself but perhaps there are new people. Once upon a time a friend came by my house to have me type up a college biology paper for him. It was several hand-written pages with no paragraphs and no punctuation, on the topic of “Estrogen”. After a bit I was getting frustrated trying to figure out how to properly break it up, and was constantly peppering him with questions. Eventually I had to ask why he chose this particular topic, and was told everybody in the class was given the same “estrogen” topic for their term paper. Not being much for brainless authority I ranted a bit about how stupid that was. My friend replied, “Not really”, and explained that if you have 35 papers all on the same topic, the good and the bad will easily stand out, making them much easier to grade for the teacher. And therein may lie the genius of the thruster, born of a need to compete. It is by nature of its design a homogenizer…the better surfers stand out quite clearly. If you don’t believe me, just go to any surf beach. Of course the thruster design has had huge value in cutting edge waveriding performance, in all its permutations, as had the traveling pro show in bringing a chance to really see new frontiers to various regions. How many times should we reinvent the past? I say “every time it’s necessary.”

The canoe pulls up the kid jumped off well before it was close to the beach…the board was made from ulu timber from far away curve cut by the heriditary master on the sunrise side o morea or Tahiti iti the board and style were from sufficiently far away to make it novel,extraordinary and…it was blessed …the board the kid the day…it was a day of revolution …no politix…no boasting ,that came later…the pure glide and silent closing of the seam of water behind the crafted curve…the board disturbed fish only because of the shadow… the slap and gush and gurgle were absent…the eyes in the canoe werent the only ones watching … every eye that watched …saw…fauna ,avian,human,and all denizens of the deep sensed this presence…like a dream…relived billions of times after by other student cultures that to this day vie for credit for elements in the progression that this Kid on this day at this place nailed down tight …teleporting you and me to this spot to sit in the channel, ten or more centuries ago. floating head above the water to watch in awe this kid live out the days most perfectly executed transit effortlessly flowing…pausing only to Sigh in empathic bliss… was it the lifted tail, the spalted breadfruit wood ,the fine oil mixture ,or the fuzzy soft deck prepared like fine fur on the baby seal holding the foot grip yet as the water caress passed by instigating no resistance? It was us the watching inspired that carried the image and polished the rough spots …yea revolution and verily we go forward !!! …to stratify and claim credits with our narrow concept of time…in our lives we may we take our place as squabbling kane IO in the shorebreak on alaia boards never allowed to taste the Alii Poi waiting outside the relm of our narrowed gaze… or we can search todether for a seamless path to transit this life like the pure form slipping silently through the water questing yet another ride on a wave…ambrose…in the channel waiting a turn at the wheel to inspire

Most thrusters being made today do not glide. I still have a couple that do, made some years ago when the rails were thicker and blockier, bottoms were flat, and rocker was much less than today. I can compare these since I ride the same long waves with them that I do with my modern thin rockered concave boards. The modern thrusters take a lot of work to keep moving (and I hate having to make that “double bottom turn”), although I really get in a lot of excitement and excercize with all the turns, but they don’t as often make the waves all the way down the line. The older boards take off, glide down the line, make all the waves, but don’t offer as much excitement or spontaneous fun (g-force turn feelings). My friends who have basically given up and ride tankers make all the waves with the same reliable gliding lines time after time, which I abandoned after getting bored to tears. I’m afraid some of them are actually dozing while riding, but that’s cool, I figure their hearts might not take much excitement these days. I always search for the board that can both turn quickly and glide, but have come to realize that: the worst boards offer neither, most boards offer one or the other, and only once in a great while a magic board offers both (for a while).

I surf the gulf and down here from wave to wave section to section I might go to the truck and change from a thruster set up to a 1+2+1 or a 15" cut out or a star fin it all dependes on what I want to do and what the wave will let me do

I have news for the aussie and anyone else wanting to be on top!! 99% of the surfing public could care less what you ride or how good you are.we just don’t care, it’s that simple. I hate to bust your bubble but ,most of us have families and jobs and girlfriends and LIVES.It is interesting that the thruster was born from competition.I see that in current surfing.Most of us just want to ride what we want and surfing is a recreation for us–that’s all it is .A very rewarding, beautiful one at that.Get over yourself.

December 1967: Surf is relatively flat. Tired from spending the night in the van,drinking all night. Have to leave in 3 hours to make the 2 1/2 hour drive back to school in time for my economics 101 exam. Must score well on the exam to pass the course. Swell begins to grow. An hour passes and surf is rising but still closing and chopped. Another hour and growing larger. One hour until time to leave and an off-shore front hits. Suddenly super clean and glassed. While the rest of the class is finishing the exam I’m bone tired and still surfing. The sun sets and I’m at peace. Wow, what a day! Got an “F” in the course and had to take the course over again the following semester. Later in life I was asked if it was worth it. “Dahhh, of course it was worth it, the waves got good!” That’s what surfing means to me. It’s a lot more than what kind of board you’ve got, or what contest you won, or who saw you do your thing. Or at least it used to be. A whole lot more! What’s your deffinition of surfing? Aloha, Richard

What if they gave a contest and no one came?

PS: Feeling guilty. In case any young impressionable wave rider happens to buy into my “ditch the exam” thing as a cool move, you gotta hear the rest of the stroy. I finally worked my cashews off, graduated, got married, had five kids, worked reeeeely hard, retired at 50 (good fortune had as much to do with it as hard work), and now I get to surf again. No bragging here, cuz I left out all the mistakes made. Just suggesting priorities. Get educated/trained, work hard, eventually quit work if you want, buy some toys, surf with your grown kids (be thankful all along the way). Works best in that order. Sorry for getting off track from board design here, but the right attitude is always part of the process eh?

Hey Bruce , what do you mean not everyone is on Thrusters in 2004 in the USA. Last time I looked they were! Of course there are some notable exceptions… some Longboarders prefer the walkable, nose-riding singles. and you have some guys on some Retro Twin Fin equiptment but outside of that EVERYONE here is on Thrusters… Just what are you talking about??

As a fellow Auzzie, I would like to apologise for BRUCE ‘Almighty’. What a KNOB I have in my own back yard. Bruce, its knob jockeys like you, that keep the conservative ‘never change’ mentality that is just so narrow minded. Youre a kook and I bet your style is ‘of kook’ nature. Just Fuck off.