Greetings, Shredderz! Today we have a fascinating experiment in surfboard design that combines the cutting edge with the primeval. The latest episode of “The Vibe Up”, the Gudauskas Brothers’ excellent video series, features shaper Donald Brink’s take on the classic Tom Blake kook box. The kook box refers to Blake’s early chambered wooden paddleboards, initially created in the 1930s, which represented a quantum leap forward in surfboard design. As always, the Encyclopedia of Surfing’s entry on Blake is a must read. Surf Simply has a nice write up on the history of Blake’s kook box (also known as the cigar box), and surfresearch.com.au has a typically awesome entry, too.
After touring the Surfing Heritage and Culture Center and seeing some of the paddleboards on display, Brink and Gudauskas decided to collaborate on an updated version of Blake’s signature shape. The result is a fun and illuminating experiment.
This video is a perfect illustration of what I find so fascinating about surfing history. Unlike, say, military history, surfboard design is very much a living thing. The designs of the past can still inform new shapes and unlock new sensations. It sounds strange, but some of the best parts of the video featuring Gudauskas and Brink exchanging notes after surfing the board for the first time. Their stoke, wonder and curiosity are palpable and inspiring.
The kook box is also an incredible piece of craftsmanship. I can’t say it any better than Brink’s Instagram bio, which simply reads “functional art.” I highly recommend checking out Donald Brink’s post for more details; I have included two of the photos above.