S.K.I. (Synthetic Kinetic Instinct)

Some would say that the late 1960s and the early 1970s were the awkward teenage years of surfboard design. During this time, known as the Transition Era, surfboard shapers were figuring out how to gracefully pivot from longboards made for noseriding, into the shorter, more high performance shapes that we take for granted today. I love the uninhibited embrace of experimentation during this time, which has resulted in some pretty funky and distinctive boards, many of which look slightly crazy today.

There are two Dewey Weber SKIs that are currently up for sale on eBay, which you can find here and here. I have reproduced those pictures here on Shred Sledz for your enjoyment, along with a little bit of history of the board.

SKI is apparently an acronym that stands for “synthetic kinetic instinct”, which is about as hilarious as marketing mumbo jumbo gets. According to Stoked-n-Board, the SKI was created in conjunction with Australian surfing great Nat Young (not to be confused with current Santa Cruz pro of the same name.) Weber’s own website tells a slightly different story: “[the SKI] was strongly influenced by Dewey & former Weber Team riders Nat Young, Mike Tabeling & Harold Iggy (sic).”

First and foremost: mamma mia, look at those mint condition logos! If that doesn’t bring a tear to your eye…well, then you are probably just a normal human being who lacks my utterly dysfunctional and crippling obsession with surfboards. But enough about me.

In the first logo, you can see text that reads “Australian inspired for Dewey Weber Surfboards.” This is a clear nod to Young, one of the most famous Aussie surfers ever. Young rode a version of this model in the seminal surf flick “Morning of the Earth.” This makes me think that Weber’s version of the story isn’t necessarily as generous to Young’s contributions as it might have been. (Not to mention the fact Mike Tabeling was from Cocoa Beach, Florida, and Harold “Iggy” Ige hailed from Hawaii).

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Nat Young in “Morning of the Earth.” Photo courtesy of Albert Falzon.

It’s really fascinating to compare the two different logos. I’m not sure why they are so different, when S-n-B indicates that The SKI was only produced in one year, 1969. The second one reads “Combination of water displacement and planing hulls by Weber Surfboards.” This sounds a bit like what we would call a displacement hull today, a la Andreini and co, but I can’t be positive.

These two listings also have clear photos of the Waveset fin box, which was common in boards at this time. Here’s a photo of a Waveset fin outside of a box. You can see the ridges in the base of the fin, which correspond to the corrugated shape in the fin box.

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Photo courtesy Swaylocks.com user Atomized

Both boards are currently going unbidden on eBay with starting bids under $200. Who knows where they’ll end up. Here is a link to the seller’s profile.

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