Since moving to the far north coast, Joel’s been busy, shaping, researching, designing, refining and getting back to basics with a simple good life. When he’s not in the shaping bay he’s out testing each craft and as the Goodwins say, slowing him self down. Indicative of the Byron shire life is the off the gird lifestyle, a veggie patch, water tank, worm farm, and good ol shed. Our mates have all of that and an old Queenslander to got with it. We set up at their farm one arvo with as many boards as could fit across the tin shed. As you know every surfer, is working toward, has or dreams of a good quiver, here is Joel’s. As an added bonus we have included a break down of each board pictured, all words and thoughts by Joel Fitz himself, enjoy!
Joel Fitzgerald Surfboard Quiver
::Description of the Boards pictured from Left to Right of this photo:
5’10 Magic Pod.
This is a quad set up with a sexy round tail. I have been using this board for three years. Fastest board I have ever ridden. Well not quite there is the original yellow 5’10 swallow at the end of the line in this pic against the shed. The magic pod has a flat rocker with a single concave and if it works don’t try and fix it.
7’0, 6’8, 6’8 Midnight Lightning
The Midnight Lightning boards have been designed around the early 70’s wing pin Hot Buttered Boards that my father Terry Fitzgerald has been shaping for some 40 years. The original outline has proven the test of time and I am still using these rail lines in my single fin collection. I have found that by lowering the nose entry the speed is pushed forward and you can ride high on the nose. I like to extend the curve through the tail and open it up for some really big turns. I like a single to double concave or I push a double right through the whole board.
Well if you want to get serious about your surfing then you better get a log. These boards were designed around Robin Gato Heroi Kegal daggers that made there way to the shores of Manly. The Mystic is super pointed nose and tail it has a single tri plane concave in the nose with a hard vee in front of the back fin. Super fast speed killers.
The Bombora got its name from Sydney’s Queens Cliff Bombora. There was a huge 15ft swell in winter and my only board in the car at the time was an 8’11×20 ¾x 2 ¾ long board that I shaped from a Barry Bennet 60’s blank. I felt like Greg Knoll taking on the Makaha or Waimea Bay. I was watching the swells standing on the beach with short shorts on and a log under arm and I had these flashing images of Knoll standing there at the pipe pondering, am I crazy. I was humbled by a 45minute paddle out through the shore break and a long walk of shame up the beach to paddle out at kitty’s corner. This surf changed my life and dropping into that first wave at the Queens Cliff Bombora on that log was such a thrill. My appreciation for board’s big small and all sizes has grown since this day and the designs from these boards from the 50’s 60’s and 70’s can teach me a little about where the designs came from and how to build surfboards for today’s surfers and conditions.
9’1 Sky Bird
This is my 9’1 triple stringer that I have wanted to shape for some time now. All the right templates and boards of reference came to me to make this magical board. I found a Barry Kanaiapuni that Derek Hynd brought back from Hawaii and 8’6 Dick Brewer that Murry Fraser got of Dick himself. So with some designs passed down from the elders I went to work on my own craft. With the right blank and a lot of planning I started to see this board come to life. I actually rounded the pin more like the Brewer as the BK was like a spear and might shoot me off into another galaxy. Glassed in Volan by my mate Shoey Glassing Division.
7’3 Midnight Lightning
Glassed by my mate, shaper and laminator Matty Yeates. One of the many benefits of living in the Byron Shire is being around enthusiastic and creative people like Yates. His laminated bolt designs are inlayed and polished and made with more love then you could give you mum. Happy to have one of this bolts of my own.
Sea Gypsy 7’0 x 2
This is a mid length for the high line and glide. There is no trying with the Gypsy she will surf and turn for you. This board was a challenge to get right and I did got a lot of influence from Ian Chisholm, South Coast Surfboards. More fun then you could imagine on any wave any day anywhere. 2+1 fin set up.
Quad or sometimes friction free or keel fin set up. It’s a fun board plenty of thickness and really fast. It has a super hard rail and single concave. Matty Yeates glassed this one and it looks awesome. These boards are a dream at the Pass.
Alia Ancient Craft
This beauty was shaped by Teal Nippard of Ancient Craft and it flys! Good length and classic shape, a must have in any quiver to keep your core switched on, and take your surfing to new heights.
6’3 Midnight Lightning
Clouds in the sky board, I shaped this is one especially for my brother Kye. He likes the traditional boards. It has a hard vee and is really thick. Looking forward to getting him on this modified version of the Midnight Lightning soon.
5’10 Sea Gypsy.
This particular size is my favorite 2+1 Sea Gypsy. I rode this one at Desert Point last year and surfed it in Seven Signs through indo. It is my everyday board, I love the 2 + 1 set up as you can widen the tail and even round the tail to open it up and make it easy to turn. It has a huge double through the board and nice full rails. Super thin in the tail, makes it tough for fin boxes but the reward is great.
5’7, Love Bomb
Keel fin with a closed tail. Deep single, made this one at the temple in Bali for Chrystal. Super fun on the points and beach breaks.
5’7 Dream Catch
The Keel fin swallow is a board I made for Chrystal that will keep her loose in the pocket and speeding down the line at the pass in Byron Bay. The orange keel fins were hand made by a good friend Wizz from Mc Tavish and the board was glassed by MYC. There is a great feeling of support in the industry here in Byron. We all share one thing in common, hand bloody made and not from China.
5’10. The original quad fish.
One of my first fishes, its still my favorite and I am surfing it once again. The fastest board I have ever made, and the base of all my short board and fishes.
5’9 Speed Monkey
This is a great little twin that Chrystal rides. Chrystal has an exceptional eye for design and color with fabric inlays and tints and fins, I appreciate her influence in and out of the water. The Speed Monkey was also designed with the help of my mate for Beau Young, inspired by one of his favorite a Donald Takayama boards that Huncho shaped for him.
The most fun you can have laying down, well almost. Hand shaped on the Northern Beaches of Sydney by Rob Monty at Chrystal Mountain Surfboards. Rob is a very dear friend of ours, and made Chrystal and I a board each. Made with Love and hand drawn logo, you just don’t come across this kind of one off treasure anywhere. Check out his site: www.chrystalmountainsurfboards.com or on instagram: crystalmountainsurfboards
6’5 Barrel Finder with six Channels and Round Tail
Can’t beat a good old trusty tri fin 6 channel. This one is glassed strong as you don’t want to break your favorite board in 6 ft surf. I was influenced a lot by Rod Dahlberg and his incredible channel bottoms through my professional career. Thanks Rod for your amazing boards.
That’s my Quiver minus a few that didn’t fit across the shed, I’ll save those for another day!
Photo’s by Chrystal and Joel Fitzgerald, photo of Chrystal and Joel together is taken by Michael Hodgson, a big thank you to Daniel, Hodge and mates for letting us set up at your rad shed. Chrystal wears the Seea suit, a Fallenbrokenstreet Hat and Bahgsu Jewels, Joel wears Saltys Short Supply shirt and shorts with a vintage hat from Alaska.