Tired of hearing stories of friends who had been forced to give up surfing following medical issues with their hips, knees or other joint pain associated with ageing or injured bodies, Nambucca Valley board shaper Keith (Robbo) Robinson has created a new board that circumnavigates these types of issues.
Called the gut slider board, it is designed to get the most out of a wave with the user lying on his or her belly, rather than the traditional method of standing on a board.
Robbo says his gut sliders are made from hard fibreglass and are inspired by “the way a cuttlefish moves through the water; in rhythm with the ocean”.
“It allows riders to paddle onto the waves easily, maneuver just under the lip of the wave, and perform cutbacks like a surfboard, all without the use of flippers.”
What is the Gut Slider?
Robbo says the Gut Slider is built on a tri-plane hull where the rail curve is different to the bottom curve. The boards range in size from 5'5" to 5'10" and 23 inches wide.
“It's designed to get up and go fast, surf the waves and have fun - they are quite a thing.
What began as a passion project has since turned into a rather major enterprise with Robbo now making at least two gut slider boards each week for surfers all over Australia in a similar demographic.
After retiring from his business, Keith Robinson Ocean Foil Surfboards, the 74-year-old says he kept a hand in making boards as a hobby. After noticing many of his friends faced similar issues with their knee and hip joints, he began making the gut sliders for the cost of the materials.
However since word began spreading about his invention, Robbo says his phone has gone crazy and he is no longer physically able to keep up with demand. He is now considering taking on additional staff.
Surf photographer and friend Chris Hewgill says he had a go on one with a “dodgy ticker and various old surfer injuries”.
“I've seen close the speed these boards get and waves they catch, it just brings back the stoke. I managed to get a few hollow waves, I was like a little kid on it. I know a lot of older surfers living with a disability or long-term injury or illness, that just give it away, this is another way back to the ocean and life in general and away from the depression.”
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