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Rob DiStefano's Soft Kneeboards
Correspondence Regarding His Designs

The Question

Been looking for that knee-machine I was riding back in the late 60's -- FAST and fun, able to get into any barrel and had the rails, fin, and speed to track and carve. Contemporary kneelo's are too long.

Thought about chopping down my 5' 6" thruster to 45-50" boogie/knee board but can't find a shaper.  So... do you folks know where I can find a BB that is stiff, FAST, and can be fitted with a pair of small FCS fins? Or do you know anyone that wants to work on a design for a small, knee-riding BB-like surfboard with hard rails, something that can keep up with the Right Coast beach/jetty break?

Chet Halleck

The Answer
Howdy Chet,

You've come to right place, only a lot too late and a bit too early.

I sorta "pioneered" hybrid soft kneeboards and started the process back in '88.  The concept of a bodyboard was a neat platform to expand into a more creative -and soft- kneeriding wave tool.  I eventually shaped three basic designs ...

1. A bigger bodyboard - 46" to 48" in length, 22" width, flat 13" nose, 18" shallow radius swallow tail, twin 3" O'Fish'L removable skegs (O'Fish'L fins are the ONLY skegs to use on soft boards - NOT FCS and NOT Bahne boxes), twin 3/8" core embedded carbon fiber tube stringers.

2. A cross between a BB and KB - 54" length, 22" width, 2" to 4" nose, 18" square tail, one 5" or twin 3" O'Fish'L skegs, single 7/8" carbon fiber tube stringer.

3.  The Hybrid - 60" - 64" in length, 22" width, pointy nose, 12" square tail, thruster set of 5" O'Fish'L fins, twin 7/8" carbon fiber tube stringers.

All boards are flat with nearly no induced rocker (that happens when you surf!), they use 2pcf 2" Arcel cores, 8pcf 3/16" PE skins, Surlyn slick bottom skins, recessed leash plugs.  Some more info available here ...  Hybridz Kneeboard and Soft Surf Designs.

I spent a LOT of R&D time and effort playing with all this soft stuff ... it was a lotta fun and quite satisfying.  I've surfed my soft shapes up 'n'down the Right Coast, Cali and lots in my fave surf venue, Barbados.  However, as time went on, I just started going back to surfing my resin kneeboards ...

... and two years ago I sold all my proprietary soft board tooling to a bud's cousin in Hawaii.  A few months ago I got the urge to get back to softie shaping and I'm now in the process of building a new (and improved) heat/pressure laminator.  On the down side, I'm having serious difficulty in finding the proper core material.  The best is Arcel and the BB industry has shifted to Polypropylene, which I feel is not as good as Arcel.  We'll see.  I should be tested prototypes over the coming Fall and Winter.

Anyhoo, that's my story and I'm sticking to it!


Rob "recently crowned and seeing stars" DiStefano.

From: Rob DiStefano []
Sent: Monday, August 26, 2002
To: Halleck, Jr., Charles
Subject:  Knee Boards

This page was reproduced by permission of Rob DiStefano.

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Last updated on: 04/10/10