Saturday, February 23, 2008

Learning the Curve

Last month I talked with Mac from a bit north, who seemed almost embarrassed about his board order. "I have an emotional attraction to a certain type of board," he said sheepishly. "I just wanted to see what you thought about that..."
Turns out Mac likes curves.
I surf quite a bit with a geometry teacher who is also fascinated with curves, and traces the earliest forms of geometry to around 3000 B.C.E. One of the first geometric equations was to divide the circle into 360 degrees of 60 minutes each, creating, in a sense, ‘time.’ This equation was used to plot the courses of the planetary objects and develop the first calendars. Curves predicted rains, droughts, harvest and planting seasons, etc. The geometers were seen as spiritual leaders, the curves themselves considered sacred objects.
What am I getting at here? I have no idea, but Mac wanted an egg. Curvy as hell. Round at the nose and tail, gently curving through the middle, soft curvy rails and an even rocker along the bottom.
I have a similar attraction, and I don't know why. For some reason, I take more pictures of completed eggs and longboards than I do shortboards. I isolate the nose curve--the deepest curve on a longboard or egg or hull--and take a picture. I run my hand over it. I look at it for a really long time.
My wife comes out to the shop and goes, "ooohhh," when there's a really curvy board in there.
Sometimes I try to talk people into a roundtail or rounded pin over a squash tail. Most surfers wouldn't notice the difference, so what's the point? It's the curve. The flat line of a square tail or squash tail doesn't stir the eye (and the heart) the way a curve does.

Why have artists forever focused their attentions on the curvy female form over the male? Check out what may be the earliest yet-to-be-found example of art, Morocco's Venus of Tan Tan, dated from 300,000 to 500,000 B.C.E. The thing is pretty curvy. In this case, as with a lot of early art, the figure is believed to be some sort of fertility symbol. In the hands of the artist the link between curve and fertility, and therefore life itself, is inextricable.
Why does the curve excite us so much? Is it spiritual? Is it because of some sort of connection with the planetary objects and time?
Why are curves described as 'sexy'? Why do we love looking at surfboards? Why do we need to touch them? What does this stir in our souls?

I'm not too sure, and clearly I've had a lot of coffee this morning, so I'll offer a few pictures of Mac's new egg, curves and all. Dig.


Sharkbait said...

30ยบ circle divisions are the basis of the zodiac calendar. I'm not into astrology, but I always found it interesting that they mapped the sky into these 12 segments, based on a perfect circle. Especially since it required that they disregard the pesky star cluster area that is otherwise known as Ophiucus, the unofficial 13th sign of the zodiac.

Enough of all that though, I dig curves too.

brownfish said...

I think you probably have some of the best posts I read. Always look forward to a new one. This one leaves me wanting.

Jamie Murray said...

Thanks, Brownfish. It goes without saying your blog is one of the coolest out there--10,000 hits can't be wrong!

markmosk said...

In light of the date you posted this, I can only assume it's a birthday present for me. 35 is no insignificant number.


Mick said...

Great entry.. I've been riding mostly round pins for 20 years, because they look right.

Rob?royal said...

what a lovely board. love the curvy outline....

no really i do, honestly. i wish more folks were as outspoken about their designs.

great blog too

KYScoast said...

Forty three years says overwhelming "Yes" to round/pintails!