Bloodbath at World Surf League as surfing’s brightest creative talents shown door!

“The only thing repetitive contests has done is strip the magic and create the most conservative government funded sport on earth.”

A few years back, I wrote a story touting the launch of Derek Hynd’s new shaping project, Hyndline.

HyndLine was to be a series of thirty hand-shaped board models – or codes – representing 30 years of Hynd’s surfing progression from 1973-2003. Ten boards being shaped per code. Designs from the Campbell brothers, Terry Fitz, Tom Parrish, Skip Frye, to name but a few.

All re-shaped by Hynd himself and made available to the surfing public.

The story ran, and was well enough received by you lot. Derek Hynd, as always, was articulate and insightful. The ultimate surf provocateur.

But I only included a handful of the 2500 + words from our full interview transcript. Two-and-a-half-thousand words of Hynd on board design, the WSL, why he went finless, when he might go back. Why he hates hybrid fish. The feeling of Impossibles at J-Bay doubling up from six-to-eight-feet with a Parrish 8’2 of 1975 vintage under your feet.

It was all in there. Too many pull quotes to count. I noted at the time how it could have easily been a standalone piece. But I never did anything about it.

Enter Black Hole Transmissions. BHT is a project running under Andrew Kidman’s Big Sky Ltd umbrella: a digital platform to house Kidman and his coterie’s inscrutable wealth of surf culture and knowledge.

There’s films. Photography. Music. Stretching decades back into the archives. Exclusive digital screenings of Kidman classics like Litmus, Glass Love, Spirit of Akasha, and the eponymous Big Sky Limited.

There’s new stuff, too.

Mainly writing for the time being, Kidman’s BHT editor is Dave Parmenter, a man who needs no introduction here.

Contributions from the likes of Kidman, Parmenter, Hynd, and yours truly. Plus, many more.

We’ve just put the Hynd interview up, in full, with a further li’l intro from me.

No matter your take on the subject matter, Derek Hynd in full flight is always an interesting read.

And nah, it’s not free. It’s never going to be a competitor to the hamster wheel of inspired dissent here on the Grit.

But, it’s grounded in a similar ethos. One of straight talking. Of death to bullshit. Of that brutal, honest integrity that keeps the dilettantes and cronies awake in the small hours of the night. That gnawing sense that things ain’t right in the world of surf.

Plus there’s some hell reads. Something definitely worth chucking a few dollarydoos at, if you can spare it.

Thanks to DR for the opportunity to promote.

BHT: How has your time surfing finless influenced your outlook on board design?

Derek Hynd: This is my 17th year of riding nothing but free friction (editor’s note: this was in 2021). I still feel the speed, still get a thrill.

It has a bearing on Hyndline. The reason for getting into it in the first place had a lot to do with getting as far away from predictable board design so I’m going the other way to tap what I knew so well before the easier toys took hold. Give me errors any day and sketchy moments going with it but give me something to work out.

Post-Litmus with the retro boom of hybrid boards designed like modern boards not to stuff up, to make it easy, I wanted to and did run a mile far. Been in the back of my mind all the while though, every board that I ever considered a gem was flawed enough to need working out. But once worked out, whoa.

Modern day “performance” fish seemed to have moved further and further away from their original intended design. What’s your take on them?

Modern surfing is a cop-out of how we’ve made things easy, easier, easier still. Hybrids do this. They ruin the soul of the art form. Moves to soft rails to legropes to grip pad to tail blocks to easy rider rockers likewise. To this day a great surf at Supers is sullied by the legrope around my ankle. My cop-out. These Hyndline boards are true to form and mostly require learning and acceptance because most of these boards aren’t dead easy pieces of sponge cake to jump on, which is the way I’ve always appreciated it and the way most modern surfers do not like it. It’s a bugbear, but Tom Blake’s first skeg was pure surfing’s loss, advent of surfing’s Americana, how to make things easier despite the nuances of difficulty and challenges of mastery, leaving Surfing for a few thousand years justifiably unique to human pursuits. It did not need to be dumbed down. Hybrids, particularly Fish hybrids, disgust me.

These boards represent the bulk of your competitive career (and then some). What’s your perspective on board design on the current tour, and how it has progressed in the intervening period? You’ve said in the past how man-on-man elimination format stifles design innovation, does that still hold true?

Board design goes the way of the harsh past and current contest system, narrowed to the completeness of Dave Parmenter’s dancing bear analogy of over 30 years back. It is phenomenally skillful, and the designs are no less tailored to this skill level. This, though, has left the top of the pyramid with nowhere to go.

It’s like America’s Cup yacht racing. Ex-pros generally fail to evolve their surfing post-career, said with the greatest respect. Maybe shapers should condition these athletes to design shifts after linear knockout contests have knocked the freeform thinking out of them. It isn’t as much an act of smashing a wave anymore as it should be expanding young hopeful minds in an environment where more than one person gets to win riding more than one design.

(On the WSL and competitive surfing in general)

Sorry mate, the way surfing has gone the past 40 years the only thing rote coaching and repetitive contests has done is strip the magic, create the most conservative government funded sport on earth, leave aspiring and top-level pros at risk of social corruption through too much surfing and not enough education, and fail to offer routes of redemption to way too many amateurs and pros who deserve better systems. It comes down to lateral thinking all round — the lack thereof. But aside from the above, everything’s great, ha-ha.

Check out the full interview with Derek Hynd at

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