“The Greenough edge board,” writes Steve Shearer in his piece, “On the Edge of a (Fever) Dream,” in TSJ 28.4, “is best understood as a multi-hull with multiple planing surfaces. The heart of the board is a central, scooped-out area (the center plane) circumscribed by a raised edge, which forms an interior outline of the board. Surrounding the edge is another concave surface that joins a rounded rail, forming the outline of the deck.
“The first impression upon handling one is of a dizzying array of planing surfaces and rocker curves. As test pilot, shaper, and protagonist of On The Edge of A Dream, Ellis Ericson told me: ‘There are essentially three rocker curves—the deck curve, the edge curve, and the center-line curve.’ You can see why surfers would balk at the complexity of the hull. It requires, as Greenough said, ‘a higher state of consciousness’ to ride.
“He gave me the overview of the theory while reclined on an old couch on his veranda. The Spoon begat his edge board design in 1967, he outlined, a child of both the boat design theory he was versed in, and a desire to develop a craft with higher top-end speed in more marginal conditions compared to the power-hungry Spoon. The idea, said Greenough, was to substantially reduce the wetted surface and thus reduce drag. ‘It’s common sense,’ he said. ‘Reduce the wetted surface and you increase the top-end speed.’
“For Ericson, the techniques and concepts were ultimately mind altering. His immersion in the design began when Dave Rastovich took him by Greenough’s place while Greenough was building a new 6’8″ gun. The experience, which Ericson describes as a “head fuck,” rattled him. Then in a shaping bay in Bali, he carved out a three-board quiver of edge boards, consisting of a chopped square single-fin, a twin, and a thruster all based on the Greenough concepts.
“This initial Ericson quiver, which was brought to the attention of Andrew Kidman by Morning of the Earthcreator Alby Falzon, was the catalyst for Kidman’s On The Edge of A Dreamproject. The film and accompanying book chart the Greenough edge board concept from its inception to the present, specifically focusing on four years of intense testing and development by Kidman and Ericson. It’s half Morning of the Earth, a delicious, visual poem in shimmering North Coast point surf, and half The Right Stuff, test pilots pushing the edge of the performance envelope on radical designs in oceanic waves instead of the air above the Mojave Desert.
“‘In the future,’ says Kidman, ‘every surfer on the planet will have some edge element at play in what they end up riding.’”
Checkout the trailer above for visual highlights. Both the film and book iterations of On the Edge of a Dreamare available at ontheedgeofadream.org.
And to read more from Shearer’s piece, subscribe to the Journal.