Here is a man and a brand which we have taken on at Zak Surfboards, one of our best and respected customers Steve Bitman over the years has always told me about these V Flex surfboards that Mitchell Rae has been doing and mastered for years, so he lent me one of his boards to demo and farrrrrrrrrk they go insane. Surfed it at 13th on a 3foot sucky offshore morning and could’nt believe how much release and drive you got out of your turns.
The Flex in the tail gave the board a little extra burst of drive, it’s like it wound up then released right at the last point of your turn and gave you a big kick of drive them off the top it did it again and again. So I spoke to Mitchell and decided to get a quiver into the store.
He says his Super Mal is one of his biggest sellers so we decided to get a demo and some for the rack also did a quiver of Mals. Here is a little info from his website and some videos to show you his artistry on surfboard design, you will be blown away .
The prince of hi performance mals. Clean lines, slightly narrower measurements and profiles,spiral chine entry, single to double and triple turbo concaves. Smooth low central rocker with sweet nose tweak and progressive tail curve. These designs will ride real waves where normal mals fear to go!
Here is a read from his website which discusses the flex and why its such a great think to have on a surfboard.
Dave Rastovich reckons they’re fun, Andy Campbell has been riding them at Ship sterns.and icons from Kelly Slater to Bob McTavish say they may be the key to the future of the surfboard. Flex has been around for more than 30 years – ever since the ’60s. when George Greenough carved up Lennox on his flextail spoons. But. despite its potential, flex remains an unknown attraction for most surfers. LESS IS MORE Rasta first rode a flextail eight years ago. “Dick van Straakn made it… he did it out of curiosity. I was only 15 or 16 years old It went amazingly, but it was just built with normal glass and it deteriorated fairly quickly. The next time I got on one was when we were filming Blue Horizons with Jack McCoy and Jack had a couple” “One of the reasons I like them is because sometimes when I’m surfing I like to do less. I don’t have to do as much on a flextail.” Rasta continues. “I like a board that gives back to me I like my board to respond. One turn can load it up, and you let it go and it just creates its own speed. You don’t have to push it all the time. You just load it up like a spring and let it go. They’re a part of my quiver. On different days and in different moods, I’ll pull my flextail out” DISCIPLES OF FLEX Flextails haw never really captured the imagination of the mainstream surf community. Derek Hynd says it might have something to do with the fact that just as flex was starting to progress into a functional stand up format in the mid Seventies, pro surfing took off and Simon Andersen’s versatile and functional thruster design took the surfing world by storm. “Flex missed the boat slightly back then, when the thruster standardised everything.” Hynd contends. Derek is a disciple of flex. “I could see how flex operated when watching Mike Stewart getting three barrels through Rocky Point on his bodyboard which allowed him to get flex and release without drag. A 7’4″ Outer Island flextail that I rode in six foot Jeffreys Bay gave me the same sensations. The board flew along the flat and rocketed off the top.” OUTER ISLAND FLEX Quite a few shapers, Dick Van Straaler, Mark Rabbidge, Chris Brock, Gary Keyes and the early Yamba crew to name a few, have dabbled with flex, but Outer Island’s Mitchell Rae is the man when it comes to contemporary flextail design. He’s been making a range of flextails for a limited but appreciative clientele for more than 30 years. Originally from Dee Why, Mitchell was a stand-out teenage suffer in the ‘6os. Abandoning the contest scene, he was among the first wave of surfers to populate the North Coast in the early ‘705. Teaming up with boardmakers Glenn Ritchie and David Chidgey, first in Brookvale, a Palm Beach boatshed and then Nana Glen near Coffs Harbour. Rae was the test pilot for the other two’s radical designs. Concaves, pintails, hard rails andflex were the Outer Island teams domain. Mitchell has continued to pursue many of those design directions in particular concaves and flex. After many years on the NSW Central Coast he moved his business to the North Coast and has just built a new factory at Urunga The Outer Island crew was into concaves long before anyone else an Mitchell has developed a highly refined approach to them. He was doing deep concaves • singles and doubles in the mid-’70s, and the current tripple concaves he’s doing now are very sophisticated and speedy craft WHIPLASH AND TRACTION Rae was introduced to flex by George Greenough. “I surfed with George in the ’60s and ’70s, and watching him on his flexible kneeboards was inspiring. He was prepared to swim with the boards but I wanted to be able to stand up and paddle them.’ Since Those early days. Rae has refined the ftextail concept through a range of lengths, but the flex puts a real boost into the shortboard. i like the boards to be relatively stiff under the front foot for drive, but under the back foot I like them to be whippy and flexy, and they twist as well. So you can reach different parts of the wave because the flex melds the board to the wave.” But the real beauty of the flextail is its reflex action When you come out of a turn the spring is loaded. When it springs back you g« a retail of energy • the whiplash. “When you ride them and you get them sorted.” Mitchell says, V» can get into parts of the wave that some boards still can’t access. They don’t wash off speed because their directional transitions are softened. the flex. It’s like a car being driven fast on a racetrack. If you lose traction you go sideways, you’re losing control and speed, That’s one of the things flex does in vacuuming power situations. It will hold the line for longer j because it can flex into the wave and it doesn’t break traction. Rae reckons his flextails are pretty versatile. “They work really in any kind of wave that’s got a bit of power, even two or three foot as long it’s running and got a bit of shape. And they work in big waves. Once get really powered up they release pressure at certain points. They allow you to come down the face of a big wave and jam it really hard straight away, where normally you have to settle your rail and get the board in the water and then draw out a run. I think flex offers big wave the opportunity to go beyond the current parameters.”