Photo: Bill Pfeifer.

Photo: Bill Pfeifer.

Britannic Mansions overlooked the south end of the beach. In one of the front windows, a large sign identified the flat as HB, which was the brand of surfboard Greg Webber shaped at the time. People would rendezvous at “HB” before a surf or a night out. By the mid-eighties, Greg’s boards were everywhere. They stood out partly because so many good riders had one and partly because they were all white. The emphasis was on performance surfing, which concerns the shape of the surfboard, rather than its appearance. As an expression of minimalism, this trend might have been a reaction to the popularity of brightly coloured wetsuits that drew attention to the surfer’s appearance, instead of his surfing ability. In any case, white surfboards represented a level of professionalism that had been lacking in the seventies, when surfboards were often endeared with the sort of airbrushed artwork more commonly associated with panel vans.

Dan Webber

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