The Blade is a direct descendant of the famous 1984.
I already had a long history of making semi-flat deck boards all the way back to my first years, 1969 and forward. With the advent of the Tri-fin in 1980 my team riders kept pushing me to go thinner and thinner. While the rest of the surf world went forward with crowned decks I went the other way and developed flatter decks and square rails in the last 14 to 16 inches of the tail.
Harry Bryant with The Blade.
Summer of 1983 Hang Ten had a ”qualifying” series of 6 contests up and down the coast. One was held in Ocean Beach. I had been a pro judge for 4 years and was there for that contest. A lot of pros were entered in this contest as it was on the way to JBay. It was my first glimpse of Occy, 16 years old. He was good but I felt he was struggling with his board a bit. So I built him a board while he was in South Africa. The next pro stop was in Huntington Beach a few weeks later. Occy was stoked but didn’t ride the board until he got home. He won the Pro Junior on it and went on to get an equal 3rd in the next contest which was held in Japan - He snapped the nose off of it in his semi final heat. I got a call from Bob Hurley the net day and asked if I would make Occy a couple more. The rest is history. A lot of the top pros got boards from me for the next few years.
Occy back in the day riding his signature model, the '84.
The flat deck allows for a thinner board down the center, roughly 1/8 to 3/16 of an inch. This creates more flex. It also makes for a more stable board. The thinner the board is the more the deck line follows the bottom. This creates a more “natural” flow and a defined arc through the turns.
The rails were angular…not full so to speak, but with a little less volume between the apex and where the top of the rail meets the deck. Coming into the tail section I made the bottom edge more of a steep chine, finishing off with a very flat tail section. Pretty much the opposite of what most other shapers were doing. This design reigned solid for years until Kelly came along with his glass slipper and changed everything for almost a decade.
Occy with his 1984 special edition.
A few years ago I hooked up with Occy and we did a 100 board reissue of his famous “84”. A lot of them actually got ridden. I made a few for some of my team riders and they were stoked. A year ago I started getting asked to lean out the nose and lose the beak. In addition I modernized the bottom slightly. The surfers who tried them freaked. Since then I have made them with 4 deep channels. I also decided to give a very modern bottom with a deep single to double concave a shot. Bottom line is that virtually anyone that has tried any of the different bottoms has been psyched and have also ordered them longer as well.
The Blade works in a wide range of conditions. I am now being asked to make a lot of our models into flat deck versions. For now we are offering the Blade in a mellow, subtle single to double concave, that bottom with 4 deep channels, and a modern deep single concave.