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7 Stupid Surfing Inventions


Shark Proof Wetsuit: Yup, this is a thing. There are actually a few different variations of it, none of which guarantee that they are, indeed, “shark-proof.” What they can guarantee is that you’ll look like a skinny zebra on two legs or Mystique, from X-Men. Only zebras make stripes awesome and Mystique made blue sexy. You can do neither.

 

Electric Wetsuit: The electric wetsuit incorporates a couple of batteries and some cables running through your wetsuit, keeping you warm, while (hopefully) not shocking the piss out of you. I love being warm in cold water, too. But when someone came up with the idea of inserting a bunch of batteries and metal into a wetsuit, there are bound to be problems. Electricity and water aren’t normally friends, unless you’re an electric eel. And face it, you’re not.

 
Goat Boats (Wave Skies)
Surely there must be no other surf craft that is so ill equipped for surf. Now we have a certain amount of respect for the committed goatboater (if you have ever ridden one in anything over 4 feet surf you’ll know why), but this is a piece of very heavy surf equipment that  you are forced to be tethered, are incapable of going underwater and  require you to sit on. And for every madman who can actually get tubed (see Video) I’ll give you 150 who spend 50 per cent of their time, panicking with their head under water, and the other 50 per cent stealing waves that don’t belong to them.

 

Paddling Gloves
Again there is a fine line between genius and idiocy. In theory paddling gloves could have revolutionised one of the dullest and most important parts of surfing, paddling. Through increasing surface area, the gloves were supposed to push more water and add up to 25 per cent paddling power. They may have actually done that, however they also made you feel like you were paddling through quicksand. A 30 minutes session at your local beachbreak gave you jellyarms akin to a five hours sesh at Lennox. Fabio Gouivea, Marty Thomas, Richie Collins were fans, but Mr X Glen Winton was their biggest promoter. And as with his signature quad fins, they were an obviously a very silly ideas.

 
Front Foot Deck Grip
Deck grip, on its own, has been one of the great accessory technology leaps of our time. No need to re-apply wax, consistent grip, backfoot padding, it is, and remains, pure  genius. Perhaps that¹s the reason that for the backpart of the 1980s, there was no reason to think that this piece of surfing genius couldn’t be applied to the whole board. In doing so though, it tipped from genius to sheer stupidity.  Unfortunately not only did it provide grip for your front foot, it also was a fantastic adhesive to your stomach, and acted as a cheese grater does to a block soft parmesan. The resulting rash meant front foot deck grip died out in the early ’90s, just after both Barton Lynch and Damien Hardman had won world titles on it. They have the trophies, and the scars, to prove it.
 

Wax Combs with comb opposite scraper

For about half a decade in the ’80s years these were the only wax combs available. Such was the idiotic design, when you used downward pressure to scrape the wax off your board, the opposite side’s needle sharp comb edges dug deep into your palm. The pain was akin to pressing your hand down on an urchin, with a brick, for ten minutes. In the ’90s some bright spark worked out there was four edges to a comb and so there was no real real need to stick sharp object into your hand before a surf.

Winged Keel Fin

The Australian designer Ben Lexcen invented the revolutionary winged keel to propel a 12-metre yacht to victory over the USA in the America’s Cup. Cheyne Horan must have thought that whatever works for a 12 metre boat, will surely work on a five foot surfboard. Using that assumption it’s not sure why he didn’t also add a Spinnaker. Cheyne was probably ahead of time, but the Winged Keel fin never really took off