Thomas Meyerhoffer, San Francisco
Meyerhoffer, a fifty-something industrial designer, hails from what may be the least friendly surf city in the world: Stockholm, Sweden. He summed it up for Surfline in 2013 when he said, simply: “My boards are not for everybody.”
What he does: Meyerhoffer’s most famous surfboard creation still makes the least amount of sense, at least to the untrained eye. It’s an inverted hourglass shape with bulging hips in the back third of the board, a narrow empire waist, and another wide bubble near the nose. But it does work, relying on weighty surf concepts (parabolic rails, negative cuts, swing weights, and deep double concaves) to produce a longboard that rides like a shortboard. It can drop into steeper waves, turn on a dime, and accelerate quickly, all while still producing the cruise and glide integral to any longer board.
How he does it: By tapping into past groundbreaking work for little ol’ companies like Apple, Nike, Porsche, and IDEO. Focusing on intuitive, engaging solutions, Meyerhoffer mixes the functional and the emotional, relying on computer-assisted design techniques that redefined the way surfers thought about their boards and the assumptions we routinely make about what’s “right” and “wrong.” Meyerhoffer even teamed up with the futurists at Global Surf Industries, which mass produced his signature board using EPS and epoxy, the most efficient materials then on the market. It all adds up to explain why that curvy, curious surfboard attracted so much attention when it first debuted ten years ago.