SURFER- Design Forum: Talking the basics of Gliders, with Tyler Warren
Due in large part to Thomas Campbell's early films "The Seedling" and "Sprout," which featured legendary San Diego surfer-shaper Skip Frye trimming with stoic confidence at high speeds atop long, decidedly-narrow boards with parallel outlines, the word Glider has since been linked to boards of extraneous-seeming length.
Although shapers like Frye, fellow San Diegan Josh Hall, and Santa Cruz's Marc Andreini have been making a wide variety of Gliders for years–with a diverse assortment of lengths, outlines, and bottom contours–the Glider may seem, to the uninitiated, a novelty item. Fun, perhaps, but likely too cumbersome, too awkward, too peculiar a shape to merit an investment.
Meanwhile, multi-talented Southern California surfer-shaper-artist Tyler Warren, who is renowned not only for his abilities on a diverse range of equipment, but for his faculty in crafting a miscellany of unique shapes (His miniature Bob Simmons-inspired planing hull, the Bar of Soap, or rippable, double-ender mid-lengths like the Quadratic Egg), says the Glider fills an important void in his ever-evolving quiver.
"I think [Gliders] are great for those people who ride shortboards and longboards, who might be bored with some of the stuff they are riding all the time," he says. "They are really fun in small waves, but you can ride them on bigger surf, too. They can really open your eyes to what's possible, or how much fun is possible."
Tyler Warren has fond memories of his first self-shaped Glider. Having just crafted a bulky, 11-foot twin-fin, he paddled out amongst the multitudes of loggers and surf-eccentrics at San Onofre's Old Man's, hoping the years of R&D he’d put into his elongated surf craft would enable him to lock into trim and outrun sections at blinding speeds. But the test-drive would be more an instance of kismet. Upon paddling out, Warren bumped into the shape's luminary.
"Skip just happened to be out there on that day," Warren remembers. "It was kind of crazy. I paddled over to him and I was like, 'I just shaped my first 11-footer.' It was his 70th birthday."
A half a decade later, Warren is still drawn to the Glider. He shapes many for himself while fulfilling custom orders, adding his deep knowledge of the shape’s history to the assortment he creates for his label.
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