Men behind the boards

GSI has released a new range of boards under the revamped 7S label. All three models have been designed by former ASP World Tour pro and cancer survivor Richie Lovett. They look pretty sweet so we decided to get the inside scoop from the man himself.

So Richie, how did you get into designing surfboards?

I’ve always been interested in surfboard and fin design, and over the past 25 years I’ve worked closely with some of the world best shapers, not only on boards but fins as well, so I understand how a surfboard works. I left the tour in 2006, at the time I was recovering from major hip surgery due to cancer, and I wanted to design boards that would help me get back in the water and really progress my ability again.

Do you spend much time in the shaping bay?

Well I don’t really claim to be a shaper, although I get dusty from time to time when I’m making boards for myself, friends, custom orders, or if I’m prototyping a new design. I prefer being referred to as a designer rather than a shaper because the majority of the work is done with computer programs.

What’s the most important design feature on a surfboard?

I believe it’s the relationship between the rocker and bottom contours, if you get that right, everything else flows from there. Outline would be next on the list, followed by foil and rail profile. Fin positioning and choice of fin is also really important too, get that wrong and it will work against the design.

And tell about this new 7S range.

I wanted to create an holistic range of boards that were individually relevant, yet could facilitate a surfer’s journey from the novice and intermediate level all the way through to the advanced level. So a surfer can start on the SF3, when they’re ready to take the next step they upgrade to the Slipstream, which is essentially a one-board-quiver, and for surfers reaching the advanced stage the Saltshaker is geared more towards high performance surfing.

Anything new in the way of technology or design?

In regards to the designs, not really, I’ve kept everything within traditional boundaries. I focused on usability with this range so the rider can concentrate more on the wave and what they want to do, rather than worrying if their board will respond. In regards to technology yes. We’re using a new CV (Carbon Vector) technology. No stringer, EPS core and an Epoxy layup with carbon fiber netting that covers the bottom and wraps around the rails. It creates a trampoline like effect as it flexes, but its very controlled, so it’s a lively feel but you can still push really hard without fear of overpowering the board. In regards to flex, memory and tolerance, CV has tested remarkably well, up to 20% better than most other technologies available. This range is also available in PE technology (Polyurethane core with a Epoxy layup), which feels more traditional.

Have you got a preferred model in this range?

Yeah the Slipstream is probably my favorite. Its just super versatile and I can tweak the performance by switching around the fin set up. On average I’m surfing waves in the 1 – 5 feet range so this is my go-to board.

Lastly, how does someone decide what board is the right choice?

The first thing is to pick a model that’s appropriate for your ability and the waves you’re riding, then choose the correct volume for your weight. Most brands and shapers have a ton of info on their websites that explains what each model does. Do your research before you throw down your cash.

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