’What do you get when you put a baby boomer and a Gen Y in a small room together? Well, if the room happens to be the Deus Temple’s shaping bay then things get pretty interesting. And if the two folks happen to be legendary surfer/shaper Bob McTavish and professional water slider Harrison Roach, all we could do is sit back and wait for the magic to happen. Over the years, the Deus Temple of Enthusiasm has always been somewhere that facilitated a meeting of the minds. Whether it was Tyler Warren shaping boards for ‘Salsa’ and trading shapes with Ellis Ericson or Ryan Burch doing a stint in the bay, getting experimental with his shapes and using Indonesia’s shores as his testing ground, figuring out what worked and leaving some of his boards behind for others to enjoy and get inspiration from. But this latest collaboration is one that has us really excited.
Bob and Harrison have been exchanging ideas and creating new takes on old surfboard designs for the last five years. It all started with Bob shaping a modified version of his Iconic Bluebird single fin for Harrison, a board that performed perfectly in big barreling waves in North Indonesia, as seen in South To Sian. We’ve seen what the duo could do together and it just works. To say the least, Bob is a genius with a planer and Harrison, who puts the boards to test throughout the world, understands which design features make the magic happen under his feet. Their relationship represents the ‘look back to move forward’ ethos that works so well with surfboards. Harrison has an idea - Bob makes it a reality.
It’s with massive excitement that we announce our latest and maybe greatest yet concept sled, The Sherpa.
Coming off the back of a long year of excess baggage fees that threatened to break his bank account, Harrison started toying with the idea that rather than lug around a full board bag on his travels, he might take only a single board… an all-purpose-surfboard. On paper, it doesn’t sound all that dramatic but for a guy who’s surfing life is defined by riding particular boards in particular conditions, it was a big call. Nonetheless, While the pair were in Bali together, he mentioned it to Bob, who took to the idea with spirit. Bob has that kind of enthusiasm that seems to be constantly bursting at the seams and it wasn’t long before the two were covered in dust in the Deus shaping bay, merging design concept eras like there was no tomorrow.
So what is an all-purpose-surfboard? Their checklist went something like this: needs to ride the tube, needs to coast through fat sections, needs to turn hard, needs to handle power, needs to hold trim, needs to generate speed, needs to carry speed, and of course, needs to work in as many varied conditions as possible. All too easy for old Bob hey? It would seem so.
After a few hours in the Temple shaping bay, Bob and Harrison finished up with a 7’0 mid-length marauder. The shape is complete with a baby square down rail, a semi pointed outline with the wide point forward, a subtle diamond tail and a touch of nose concave for extra paddle power, but the real excitement comes from the fin setup. Harrison’s single fin ideas were thrown out the window when Bob started grilling him on the checklist. What it needed, he reckoned, was a couple of bunched baby side bites, and these were not for manoeuvrability so much as they were for stability. The setup, which is made obvious in the imagery in this here post, allows the wide mid-length's tail the extra hold it needs when waves start to steepen, but only marginally affecting the surfing aesthetic of the single fin design.
Once the board was shaped it was over to the Deus Temple resin room, where veteran McTavish laminator Bill McLean and Deus glassing gun Victor, worked with Harrison on a unique lay-up. A with figure 8 double deck patch is the highlight on top, with a tapered lap on the bottom along with a volan insert. The little side bite fins were skilfully glassed-on and she was ready to ride.
Harrison calls the Sherpa one of his all time favourite surfboards, one he’ll cherish forever, and Bob is ecstatic at the results of his surfing, “He surfed it like I dreamed! Hard off the bottom, holding well with baby bites, cranks off the roof, big for a seven-footer, but the trim and nose trim... just extraordinary!”
The Sherpa is a mash-up of old and proven surfboard designs, an all-purpose-polyester sled from the minds of Bob McTavish and Harrison Roach, and no matter what your generation, you’re welcome to enjoy the fruits of their labour and ride a Sherpa yourself, if you are quick enough to get your hands on one of the 10 numbered and signed limited edition boards from the Deus Temple’s rack or the 5 that made their way over to the Sydney shop.