1964 - 1981
The shortboard revolution was more than a matter of surfboard length, it was a different way of looking at a wave. Where previously the goal was to walk the nose with grace, hang ten, surfers began to demand more vertical turns in more critical sections of the wave. Cutbacks allowed surfers stay close to the curl, and harness the power generating force of the wave.
In 1964 George Greenough developed his high aspect ratio fin, modeled on the tail of the fastest fish in the sea: the tuna. With this new fin, surfers could generate speed out of their turns and reach new places on the wave. Soon boards went from 12 feet to 7 feet and shorter, and new fin setups were explored - twin fins, bonzers, and single fins.
Surfboards split into two categories: short boards, and longboards. With less mass, surfers sought bigger barrels and steeper waves with their more maneuverable craft, and the foundation for the modern era of surfing was established.
Between 1967 and 1971 things changed on a weekly basis. New designs were tested, adopted, or quickly cast aside in favor of the next version. This cycle, along with Gerry Lopez’s stellar surfing on the North Shore, led the general surfing population to favor board designs that were shorter and thinner regardless of where they were surfing or of their skill.