A “Desert Island” Blank

The 65R polyurethane surfboard foam blank made by US Blanks has become my favorite blank of all time. For any shaper, backyarder or production, this has to be the most versatile blank on the market for a wide variety of boards in this size range. The mold plug was shaped by Rusty Preisendorfer a few years back, along with a shorter version, the 60R. Thankfully, Rusty avoided the issues (that I experienced, anyway) with a number of the plugs he designed for Clark Foam, in that the nose and tail volumes were just too thin to derive anything but wafer-tipped surfboards. With the 65R and 60R he has given us a stellar workhorse of a blank, with very balanced nose and tail thicknesses that obtain a lot of stored energy coupled with the natural rocker that I recognize from having ridden his mid-1980s tri-fins as a competing professional on the ASP circuit.

The trend toward more and more retro-based designs demanded a blank like this, and the 65R in particular nails all the right numbers. On a recent shaping junket to my hometown of San Luis Obispo on California’s central coast, my foam order with US Blanks was 80% 65Rs. By ordering the 65R with three different bottom rockers, I was able to shape every type of surfboard a customer threw at me, from thicker vintage-style single fins to super-thin Micro-Stubbys to mid`80s Occy type tri-fins to contemporary high-performance modules….all using one blank.

What has really made these blanks come to life is US Blanks’ New Red pour, a formula they came up with a few years ago that more or less replaces the Superlight pour we used to get from Clark Foam. This formula and density has been a real game-changer, in my opinion. I use about 98% US Blanks foam, and order the New Red exclusively. It shapes and rides better, I believe, than the baseline Blue pour they offer, and though on paper it doesn’t appear possible, I’d swear that the New Red is stronger than the supposedly denser and tougher Blue. You can feel the difference in shaping the New Red—–it feels less brittle and powdery, and has a texture and takes the tool like one of the better lightweight Australian foams.

As a shaper who has made a lot of vintage–component single-fins and Widowmakers over the last 25 years, I can’t tell you what a relief it is to be able to net a nose thickness with more volume than the tail. By judicious placement of a shorter planshape on the 65R, it is also possible to shape a super thin (sub 2.25”) design while still keeping an even foil through the tips.

With an assortment of bottom rockers the 65R is the only blank you’d need if you were stranded on that proverbial desert island. …Oh, and you’d need your solar-powered Skil 100 to wash ashore with you I suppose.