It should be abundantly clear these days that the appeal of alternative or traditional surf craft has sunk its retro teeth into the masses. As shortboard shapers have adopted the wider outlines, flatter rockers, and fuller volumes first seen on classic designs like Steve Lis-style fishes and Simmons’ planing hulls, our habitually conservative tribe has grown increasingly open-minded over the last two decades. And no doubt surfers like Harrison Roach, Justin Quintal, Devon Howard and others – who manage to make riding an egg-y mid-length or Campbell Brother’s Bonzer look as stylish and radical as if they were atop an high performance blade – have done much to make the high-lines and casual approach dictated by retro boards even more alluring.
The folks at Album Surf, meanwhile, have created a vast and varied assortment of surfboards with retro-ish seeming outlines each adapted with modern features for the performance needs of the everyday surfer, who, let’s be honest is not predominantly riding perfect waves. With the mid-length style Darkness model, with it’s traditional egg outline and two-plus one fin setup, Album has again bridged that gap, creating a board that’s wholly capable of providing a rider with a good time, regardless of the conditions. For those marginal days, or even nearly unridable ones, the Darkness’s inherent paddling power and propensity to encourage fun in sub-optimal conditions makes it an appealing addition to any quiver.
Here, shaper Matt Parker walks us through the modern appeal of Album’s take on this classic outline.