Recent Innovations in Gun Design


Nep status
Oct 22, 2018
SF x Encinitas
Was watching part two of the Powerlines Mavs edit from December 8. Twiggy talks about how far board design has come in the last 5-10 years. He says catching waves like they did 12/8 would not have been possible without the current equipment.

Part of me thought he was just marketing his new Twig boards, but I've heard similar statements from others recently, such as Nick Carroll in his BeachGrit review of his new 9'8 Christenson. There's the Paddillac, which is widepoint forward, but then Kai Lenny's boards seem to have the wideppoint back. Apparently Pyzel and Linden have been doing flat decks, whereas Carroll mentions that his Christenson is domed. A lot of recent designs have baby swallaws or relaxed pintails, but Lyle Carlson and Joe Bark boards are really piny.

So what is it about big boards these days? Volume? Rocker? Bottom contours? Rails? Is there a common design trend that explains the performance jumps at Jaws and Mavs?
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Gerry Lopez status
Dec 28, 2002
Saw Meeks posted here the other day. Would be cool to hear from him and pyzel.
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Michael Peterson status
May 18, 2004
Kai Lenny's Keith Teboul guns look pretty balanced, outline-wise. The Padillac, too, has the wide point only a few inches up from centre. I think that at any spot with a bit of wind (the offshore hugely amplified by the fast-moving waves), you'd be struggling with too much area up front. I'm guessing most guns will have the wide point very close to centre very soon.

My guess about recent design gains:
- Various degrees of Vee-double concave for chop busting, hold and speed.
- More volume through the middle and just in front.
- Flatter decks with lower rails.
- Better (faster) rockers.

Here's some Ron Meeks for you. I really recommend following the link to Healey's Insta and watching the shaping bay video.
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Jan 4, 2016
Here's some pictures of the brainchild Healey and I came up with. Mark always expressed his desire for "A gun that turned like a shortboard". Taking that into consideration, i knew it couldn't be a achieved by incremental tweaks here or there. It would have to be re- imagined from the ground up.
First - Wide point is 7'' behind center, that places more width directly under Mark. That width is offset by step
deck rail that get more extreme from center to tail tip. This removes a lot of volume up front, and consequently, not as much "swing weight" up front. The tail outline tapers off drastically, again leaving most of the foam directly under Mark.
Second - I took a cue from the front spoiler of automobiles. We had discussed a way to keep some slight downforce on the nose which in turn (theoretically) would help reduce "chatter" once you are up to speed.
That didn't achieve the desired effect, but, Mark did say it has another very positive aspect. Said it really has a "snow plow" effect, it doesn't get pulled around when punching through big waves, or paddling through foamy turbulence.
Third - Rail profile from the to just ahead of center is very unique, doesn't invite water to "wrap around" board up in nose area.
The bottom up front is very rolled, almost semi oval. This works in conjunction with the angular rails.
Bottom in the back half is pretty normal.....mild panel V with slight concave.
We dubbed this thing "The Mothership".......first test run at Waimea went very well. Mark was getting barreled going left, said it caught waves like a gun, paddled like a gun, but turned like a short board. Mark was excited beyond belief about the potential of the board. The first prototype was 9'6". He immediately ordered 3 more.
Below are nose crown cross section. Step deck cross section. Rocker shot. Outline shot.



Michael Peterson status
Aug 28, 2003
San Francisco
There's no question that guns have come a long long way in the last 10 years and then optimized further in the last 5 years since the performance envelope has been truly pushed.

Anyone that's seen/ridden the guns of yesteryears would probably agree that they put ridding waves at Mavs and Jaws like 12/8 out of reach for anything besides scratching in on the shoulder or taking the drop only to get destroyed.

The first area where I feel like you saw a huge uplift in performance is when the many many amazing gun shapers all started to figure out plan shape, foil, and bottom contours. My boards from 10 years ago were narrow, had super thin tips and tails, and belly/vee all the way through.

Now all my boards have unique wide points, foils, and rail contours, but the one aspect they all share is a bit of belly/vee in the nose transitioning into concave/vee of various depths through the remainder of the board. Each of my guns has different characteristics that tend to lend themselves to ideal conditions or objectives.

For some time now quite a few shapers have been pushing the envelope in many different ways. Christenson is all about taking what's worked well and truly balancing the nuances. Stretch has gone for construction, unique outlines/rockers and rail contours. I'd call out SoS's sprocket for taking it a step further turning the gun back into a shortboard and having the team and the testing grounds to put that into practice. Now it's clear that shapers and riders alike can get their boards to ride like step-ups so they can turn up into the barrel.

And that's probably the biggest difference right there. Now people know how they want to ride these guns through the next evolution of big wave riding and shapers can work to try and accomplish those goals.