THE BAT TAILED QUAD TOW
Originally I made this board for Ry Craike for up north WA four or 5 years back and we refined it together to where it is today. Although Ry has moved on the design is still blowing away all that strap themselves in. I have made a few for other notables like Joel Parkinson, Mick Fanning, Brooko, Ryan Hipwood, Jeff Rowley and Antman to name only those that I can remember.
The feedback has all been positive with one complaint from Hippo saying that Shipsterns had its measure. Apparently when he got launched by that step he reckons landing a quad safely is a lot harder than a central finned thruster. Two fins on each rail means you have to land both wheels at a time which is not easy when staring down what evil is up ahead. On the other hand Yanabe Bombie in SA was he said, the perfect tow wave for the Bat tailed quad with its big long open faced walls he reckons he could put it anywhere he chose.
Tombstones was Ry’s favourite testing ground for it and being a goofy he threaded that sucker with time to burn. Tow boards in Australia do not really have to be made like they are going to be surfed often in waves like Jaws and although there are some fricken big waves pounding our coastline at times this board is aimed at sizes a little less extreme. It is not weighted down as much but is still heavy enough not to get bounced around on some of the more woolly days. Like most contempory tow boards this has the mother of all concaves running right through the bottom nose to tail, making an already flat rocker even flatter on the stringer.
Brooko reckons it slips around the surface almost friction free, so much so, you could almost hang on to your tow rope with just one pinkie. I guess you have to understand that the width of a board is designed for what speeds it is expected to sustain. A fish is wide because it is meant for slow waves and a water ski is narrow because it is flung around at Mach speed. Width is a control enemy at high speeds consequently most serious tow boards are 17 inches or under so they can be tilted from rail to rail by the human foot at ridiculous speeds. Contrary to the gun principle where the tail is pulled in the Bat quad is not so pulled in and this is because the centre width is not wide and by keeping the tail width out; the plan becomes straighter in the back half which in turn hugs the wave face better and takes the pressure off the fins.
Add to this; quads grip like a pit bull by nature so there is a facility to move the whole cluster of quads much further forward from the tail, and where they can be controlled by the surfer who must be strapped in further forward as to take full advantage of the forward plane. It is no use being stuck on the tail on these boards. I have elected to use future boxes in my tow boards because the whole base of the fins needs to be clasped with a vice like grip to deal with the pressures they will face. In addition when you have 4 layers of 6oz glass sitting over the top of the boxes they are not likely to roll. Having secured the base I have elected to use the G10 epoxy 2 oz compressed Gerry Lopez quads which are very close in size rear and front, but as I said placed right up underneath the guy in his straps.
These fins are precision foiled to prevent cavitation and like I said they do not need to be very deep since they are both out on the rail. Particularly on tow boards that travel so fast, quad fins will lock the rail to the face almost too much, if they are too deep, so I have found these fins to be the best fit for this model. The Bat tail claws like a swallow but perhaps has an added advantage of a centre pin as well, but I am sure this board would probably work equally as well as a swallow. I set most of my tow boards straps up so they can be surfed by goofy’s as well as naturals and many customers request bright colours so they can spot them when they get unhinged.
This particular one is going to the Caribbean. 5.9 x 16 ½ x 1 13/16 has been the most successful size but I have stretched and condensed this model on many occasions when required.