Ken Bradshaw

Drive Time

On January 28, 1998, the day Oahu's outer reefs played host to 35-foot-plus surf, Ken Bradshaw selected a board he'd made over a year before. At 7'10", just over 17 inches wide and two inches thick, it seemed the kind of board some surfers would use to paddle in, not tow. "Some people have gone almost abstract with the size," says Ken, referring to the super-slivered 16-inch-wide craft in common use by other riders. "The first time I got on one like that, it was neat and responsive and everything, but I felt there was not enough resistance and length in the turn. Over the years I've got used to pushing a big turn on a big board, connecting that to another big turn. I don't want quick whippiness."

Ken had the board glassed with several layers of six ounce cloth, and fitted it with toe and heel straps, under laid by deck grip, which he regards as essential for tow surfing. It had six test runs before January 28, mostly in regulation 15- to 20-foot surf at Backyards off Sunset Beach. The size, low rocker and flat bottom gave Ken a lot of confidence in the board's ability to handle size, beyond that the proof is right here in front of you. Other details? Ken uses a leash, just a super light comp cord six feet long, strong enough to hold the board through easy situations, weak enough to snap under real pressure. And, unlike Timpone Jaws riders like Dave Kalama and others who use twin fins, he's stuck to a tri-fin setup. "I still like that," says Ken. "I'm not trying to achieve small wave surfing in big waves. I'm trying for these big, long, beautiful turns."


<- Back to Stories