Out Of The Comfort Zone
Victor Bernardo and Asymmetric Surfboards
Words by Kim Feldmann de Britto | Images by: Album Surf
For decades, surfboard design adhered to a symmetrical paradigm, with a focus on balance and predictability. However, away from the spotlights, the rebels and visionaries of the surfing world have always sought to push the envelope, to break away from the status quo and discover new dimensions beneath their feet. They have achieved that in many ways — from outlandish fin designs and setups to elaborate bottom contours and inventive core materials and construction methods. But among them all, asymmetric surfboards are perhaps the most subversive and visually striking experiment.
At first glance, these avant-garde boards defy the conventional uniformity we’ve come to expect from our trusted crafts. The nose might be slightly offset, the tail unevenly shaped, the fins placed weirdly, or the rails boasting an amplified curvature. Sure, such a transition from the sacred geometry might initially seem daunting, if not silly or downright stupid.
But for those who have embraced the asymmetrical movement, nine times out of ten it’s a revelation; call it enlightenment, if you will. They often describe an immediate connection with the wave, a heightened responsiveness that transcends the limitations of traditional boards.
Why is that so?
Well, mostly because, unlike their counterparts, these types of boards acknowledge the wave’s inherent asymmetry. Waves are dynamic, unpredictable forces of nature, and asymmetric surfboards aim to harmonise with their irregularities rather than resist them, consequently providing surfers with an enhanced sensation of effortless flow.
But also, asymmetrical designs take the specific demands of a surfer’s frontside and backside into account. The way we shift our weight on the deck differs when we ride a left-hand wave from a right-hand wave, and the uneven geometry of these boards taps into that difference, providing surfers with more sensibility over their crafts.