The "Drifter" was developed as a direct offshoot from my time working with Derek Hynd crafting his "Far Field Free Friction" or FFFF boards. I shaped and glassed all 7 models of his unique and innovative designs which he developed over the span of 7 years of exclusively riding and testing finless boards. There is no question that he is a total pioneer and pacesetter in the genre.
In riding Derek's designs I found myself thinking ofthe changes I'd make to get the feeling and performance to suit me better personally. And so, over the last year and a half I've found such enjoyment in creating my own version of a "finless" board which is more user-friendly, versatile in a variety of conditions and achieves the performance goals I set out with, such as holding on critical faces, accelerating quickly and creating drive and the ability to change direction easily. All these performance elements coexist completely with the exciting and fun rotational ability of a finless, where one can spin, drift and slide just with a snap of the hips.
Initially I thought that I would find finless or frictionless surfing limiting and possibly grow tired of it over time. On the contrary, it has held my interest fully and I feel that genre within surfing is just in the early stages of growth. My friend Tom Wegener is the other great innovator and proponent within the finless genre and certain aspects of his "Albacore" design can clearly be seen in my designs. His contribution is massive and there's much more from Tom to come.
What I have really enjoyed with this journey has been the process of designing and shaping through being guided by what I'm feeling in the boards and creating these models by being tuned into specifics; specific characteristics and responses for certain situations on waves. The primary difference in my drifters from a finless board is readily visible in what I call "Finlets": tiny fins to provide grip and drive without limiting rotational manoeuvres. All the design elements of the drifters are there because of personal testing and with very little outside input or attention to convention or fashion. I feel like I have created with the drifter range, something that is more accessible and familiar in its feel than a simply finless board of any design or origin. I think the result is more fun and more connection with the wave, less blown waves and failed attempts while maintaining that incredible fast and free feeling that is such a hook with this type of surfing.