Greetings, Shredderz! Today we’ve got a special surfboard for you. Featured here is an early Energy Surfboards thruster. Simon Anderson invented the tri fin thruster design in late 1980. It was his victory at Bells Beach in 1981 that announced the arrival of the thruster, which has remained a staple of high performance quivers ever since. Anderson’s first thrusters were shaped under the Energy Surfboards label.
The Energy Surfboards thruster you see above comes courtesy of Simon, who has shared some insane boards before, including this next level Seventies Rip Curl single fin. Thanks again Simon for sharing these photos!
The board measures 5’9″ and it’s stunning. I love the old Energy Surfboards logo with the flaming sun set against the gradient triangle backdrop.
The artwork on the deck is ridiculous, too. The airbrushed fade on the rails seems to have been pretty common on many of these early Energy Surfboards sticks.
If you look closely you can see that there is a double bump in the tail. According to Anderson’s website, the double flyer design is based off the famous board he rode to victory at the Bells Beach contest in 1981.
There’s a Facebook thread on the Vintage Surfboard Collectors group where some knowledgeable folks can be found weighing in on the age of the board. The consensus seems to be that this board is a First Generation (also called Gen 1) example of the thruster. Some other comments date the board to 1983. This, of course, refers to the original run of Energy Surfboards Simon Anderson thrusters. According to commenters in the thread, some of the signs that a board is a First Generation thruster are the decals and a slightly larger middle fin. You can clearly see the different fin sizes in the photo above.
I can’t speak at length about the difference in decals between the various generations of Energy Surfboards thrusters. Some quick research revealed a few interesting cases. Soulsurf.com.au, another awesome site, has a photo of another Gen 1 thruster, which you can see here. Note that the purple Gen 1 board on Soul Surf has a rectangular logo that says “Simon Anderson Model”, whereas the board featured on this post has “Simon Anderson Design” written in script on the deck. I can’t draw any hard conclusions based on those two different logos, but it’s an interesting discrepancy to note.
The photo above, which is via the Australian National Surfing Museum on Facebook, shows Anderson posing with what he believes to be the third ever thruster that was shaped.
Finally, I don’t think this board was actually shaped by Anderson himself. For example, here’s a Frank Latta-shaped Energy thruster. To be clear I get the sense this is common among the Gen 1 Energy Surfboards thrusters, though I am not sure who might have shaped this board. Scott Beggs was another shaper who worked on some of the early Energy thrusters, but I don’t know how to identify his work. Check out this entry on the thruster on the indispensable surfresearch.com.au. By contrast, here is an early Eighties Simon Anderson-shaped single fin on Surfboardline.com, where the laminates clearly spell out the board was shaped by Anderson, whereas the board features here refers to a “Simon Anderson Design.”
In the US, San Diego-based Nectar Surfboards licensed Anderson’s thruster design, and they also produced some pretty hilarious ad campaigns to go along with the groundbreaking design.
Thanks again to Simon for sharing pics of this killer and historic surfboard! You can follow him on Instagram here. Finally, here’s some footage of Simon Anderson surfing one of his early thrusters at the 1981 Bells Beach contest.