The Hot Curl Surfboard
The Hot Curl Plank became the surfboard of chose for the surfers in Hawaii who liked to ride large waves. In the mid 1930′s there were two predominate boards in the Hawaiian Islands, the hollow and the plank boards.
Tom Blake designed and produced the majority of hollow surf and paddleboards at the time. The big hollow boards were not used much when the waves got big. They became too difficult to control on large waves.
Both the hollow and the plank boards would slide out on large or steep waves. The term that was used back in the day was “sliding ass”. Tom Blake’s invention of the skeg or keel was used on the hollow boards but not the plank boards. The plank surfers did not want anything to do with the hollow boards or “kook boxes” as they were known. Instead, the plank surfers redesigned their boards to create a completely new plank, The Hot Curl.
Around 1934 John Kelly and Fran Heath took an axe to their laminate plank surfboards and re-shaped their boards. The outcome was a revolutionary new template with a narrow V-tail. The V-tail was already in use with the plank boards of the era, the significant change was by narrowing the tail of the board, it made a much more defined V–tail on the bottom of the board. These new Hot Curls were able to draw higher and tighter lines in large waves. The template for the Hot Curls was later used in the development of the big wave guns of the future.