The Little Zappa has been one of my star performing designs the last 6 years and I thought was worthy of being modified and kept alive in my new 2015 range.

What will really make a big, big difference however, is the introduction of the new Thruster Mimic quad fin positions now available in the new Little Zappa. Brooko tested this new quad trailor position and was sold on it. The new positions are a little north of a centre tail fin position but not up as far as normal quad trailors.

The big change is that they are much closer to the stringer than the rail- 2” to be precise out from the stringer. They also run parallel with the stringer just as a centre fin does. They should still be the same size as the standard trailor the result is they pivot more like a thruster, but grip better and go faster like a quad- best of both really. This fin choice is for the days where there is little wall on the waves and you just want more vert or if the waves are that choppy you want more pivot to avoid that too committed rail plunging common to quads that can catch too easily in severe chop- should you be so desperate!


The normal quad rear plugs are still in the board for the days a true quad run is desired. So in affect the Little Zappa has 3 fin modes. Thruster, Quad and Thruster Mimic, not to mention the inclusion of the min keel. This board that has been in the Bourton inventory for over 6 years has become even more versatile. The 2015 Little Zappa is ahead of the curve!

Perhaps the main feature of the Zap was the more parallel planshape through the centre of which we are seeing currently popularized with the Daniel Thompson movement. The speed you can get on rail particularly in quad mode with a straighter rail is a real turn on so I decided to exaggerate this facility even more, to the point of nearly making the board look uglier than it already is!

Coming off a straighter outline and punctuating it with a pulled in hip does exaggerate the hip look and also gives the board a little more sudden release which will endear it to smaller waves more so than bigger ones, but in defence this design has always been aimed at the small wave market anyway. Another slight modification to the older Zap is that I have moved the tail vee a little more up the board to give it a better tilt mechanism particularly for those with smaller feet. The extended vee is not as extreme as the bullet series however, because this models main boasting function is it’s get up and go, so it still needs the squirt of a deeper concave between the front and back feet. These are only subtle changes but believe me they will make the difference!


Never have I ever designed a board off a video clip before, but this one I did. Somebody showed me a clip of Shane Dorian absolutely ripping the bag on a mini quad with a pulled in swallow tail. It was shaped by John Carper and was along the lines of some of the stuff Kelly was riding. I have been obsessing on the roundtail quads the last few years but I saw something in the projection he was getting from his turns and this sudden projecting had him zapping all over the wave face so much so I had to make one . After studying the planshape as he carried the board up the beach it was apparent that there was a noticeable parallel section through the middle and the tail pulled in suddenly about 22 inches up into a small swallow.

At the other end the nose was quite wide I guess was needed as the board was only 5.2 if I remember. The way Shane laid over his turns and pushed on the more parallel (we will call it straight) rail, he instantly pinged off. It was this straight rail that least resisted and let the board run early. The tail plan curve allowed him to screw around and then push on the straight to generate instant reach with supersonic speed (if quads aren’t fast enough as it is).  Armed with this revelation

I designed my own and called it the “Little Zapper”. In my view the planshape may be functional but it is plain ugly with the wide nose and broken curve into the swallow.This model is not as small as what Dorian was riding but still a fish size so the nose rocker is not excessive and a concave runs through from the nose to tail and is suddenly punctuated by a vee with a double concave built into it close to 10 inches from the tail.


I am a believer that quads need some sort of central clarification through the tail which a vee provides, but it also decreases tail pressure and sends water trapped in the concave rail wards. This allows the surfer to keep forward over his fins which are also forward, without a tail that wants to lift and slide (due to extra width or deep concaves). There is nothing worse than having to be too attentive to the tail of a quad because it is too wide. This problem therefore does not exist due to the presence of the tail vee and the pulled in swallow.

I have trialed this board recently and the sudden burst of speed out of the turn is astounding, together with the screwing tail feel due to the excess plan shape curve in the tail. I have added a little more flip in the tail as well because of the reach already achieved with the straighter rail, so the board can go pretty vert as well.

I have also included a thruster option with the tail fin up a little further than normal which should hang on due to the narrowing of the pod and the vee. Keeping that fin as close as possible to the position of the rear quads is pretty important when converting backward and forward from quad to thruster.Experiments have proved when riding this as a thruster the rear fin should be bigger than the front side fins because of its forward position. Brooko got excited with this model particularly with the way the tail screwed around then launched off. For an ex pro surfer it was still a little wide up front he reckons, but quite frankly this is not aimed at that market so the wide nose stays.  So finally I have an answer to the rountail quads albeit an ugly one, regardless, it probably has more accelloration than its counterpart and screws around almost as good as the roundtail but definitely with more grip. If you are the sort of guy who wants to flash around on the wave face this little  Zapper could be the answer.

5.6 X 19 11/16 X 2 5/16………27.64 Ltrs
5.8 X 19 13/16 X 2 5/16……..28.52 Ltrs
5.10 x 20 1/16 x 2 3/8……….30.29
Ltrs 6.0 x 20 5/16 x 2 7/16………32.17
Ltrs 6.2 x 20 9/16 x 2 ½…………34.2
Ltrs 6.4 x 20 13/16 x 2 9/16……..36.33 Ltrs


Hi Muzz.
A short note on the 5’10 Little Zappa you made for me. I’ve ridden it for a
month now in a range of conditions, including 1 day of 4 foot, which I feel
is the upper limit for the board.

First off, thanks for the fantastic service and communication regarding my needs, what I liked and didn’t like about my last board, it was great. I’ll admit I was a little concerned that the volume might be too big but when I unpacked the board I was struck by how well you’d managed to fit the volume in this board. On the packing, wow! I think you’d almost need to run the box over with a truck to damage a board you pack! The board is quick, searing speed off the mark with that lovely drive that you get out of a quad.

Decide to change direction though and off it goes! As you say it zaps around. It draws a tight turning arc and although loose has hold with none of the slidey wobble a quad like this can have. It feels sure footed if that makes sense. Pulled in tail addresses the issue with my last board, namely the fat arse end, very noticeable on my backhand where you turn off the vee through the fins.

All in all exactly fits the bill. I now need to talk about my next board to you. Thinking a Little Pirate tweaked to suit.






Hey Muzz,
Finally surfed the little zapper on Friday; surf has been crappola lately.  Mate the board is amazing, it is so light and buoyant and I can really throw it around.  Claiming already it is the best board I have ever had.  It has me surfing better than I have in years.  Because of my height and hence weight, it has always been hard to find good boards to ride.  The EPS little zapper you have shaped has found for me the perfect combo of paddling well and being loose enough to put the board anywhere on the face of the wave just like you said it would.  Can’t wait to surf it at Straddie. Thanks again I am so stoked with board; will be getting another one soon just to have as a back-up.


Hi Muzz,

I’ve had a couple of surfs on this board now, and I’m really happy with it.
Just been surfing a rippy beachy on it today which gave me a chance to get
to grips with it.
My thoughts:

Possibly the easiest board I’ve ever had to catch waves on- I was a bit
worried about the beef in the middle of the board when I unwrapped it, but
it works!
Its faster through flat sections than my batfish(faster full stop)- I
thought it may struggle with the extra tail lift, but I’m guessing slightly
deeper concaves negate this.
It turns up from the middle of the wave without dropping(skidding) the rail
out, which the bat didn’t- stoked.(narrower tail helps ?)
I’m not catching the front rail in steeper sections like the bat does, again
what I was looking for- thanks.(narrower nose?)
The thing I was loving about the board today is how quick it would go rail
to rail, I was doing this cutbacks today and taking them further back(and
up) into the
pocket than I usually would, and then just whipping the board round through
about 180 degrees straight onto the inside rail in the top third of the
and able to drive out with speed- really loving the feeling of doing that.

Set up with the k-fins, I’ll leave it like that for a while as I get to know
it a bit more.-

In short

I’m really happy to be getting new boards that address the shortcomings i’ve
identified in the old boards.
And i’m the happiest i’ve ever been with the boards I have.

Thanks heaps,

Marc Hand

I just wanted to let you know that I am more than happy with my new board the little zapper. I love both of the boards that I am currently surfing which you have made me namely my 7’2” Crowd Pleaser and the new 6’6” Zapper. I still have my old Fat Bullet which I will surf occasionally. I love the quads and think that the new Kelly set up works really well and I am thinking that bigger rear fins are probably the go as you get better drive and you can push a bit harder. Thanks mate.
Kind Regards,
Nick Hatcher