Surfing has always seen trends come and go. Some of us can still remember when Oakley blades were a thing or the brief era when it was quite acceptable to don a pair of wettie shorts and tackle a summer lineup – with your, er, tackle on show. My personal favourite were the multi-coloured fluoro hoodies from the mid-80s. Some of the jumpers were so neon bright you needed a pair of sunnies to look at them. As a ten-year-old, surf-stoked grom I wanted at least three different fluoro colours in one top. It was like being wrapped in a packet of fruit tingles.
Like surfing’s fashion trends surfboards and shapers also come in and out of vogue. It always helps to have a world-class performer on your craft, even if there is sometimes a yawning gap between what the pros can ride and average Joe can make look functional. After MR started claiming world titles on swallow-tail, flyer twin fins, almost every shaper followed suit with an interpretation of MR’s winning design. Surfers flocked to the twins until of course Simon came along with the thruster. While the thruster is perhaps surfboard design’s most enduring development, the twin fin is certainly enjoying a renaissance.
Of course there are countless other examples of boards and products which have captured the surfing imagination. However, this year it is Marcio Zouvi’s, aptly-named Sharp Eye Inferno 72, which has really set the industry on fire. Featuring the distinctive black spray with white rails, the Inferno 72 is already ubiquitous in Australian lineups ( It does come in plain whit too). They are descending on beaches like flocks of wave-hunting magpies. Everywhere you look it seems there’s a black and white board with a pointy beak.
According to Liam Geale, who heads up Business Development for Sharp Eye in Australia, they had 1900 orders for Inferno 72 models between May and October and will have delivered well over 2000 before the year is out. “ I’d say eight of ten orders have been for the Inferno,” explains Liam. “ The factory is a sea of black… we’re just figuring out how to feed the beast.”
The Inferno 72 has performed well in various board tests pitched at the average surfer and is also ridden by a fleet of competitors on the QS. Meanwhile, on the Championship tour Filipe Toledo heads up a posse of surfers who have embraced Marcio Zouvi’s designs, including Morgan Cibilic, Kanoa Igarashi, Jack Robinson, Sally Fitzgibbons, Tatiana Weston-Webb and Johanne Defay. While the Inferno 72 may not always be their board of choice in CT waves, their presence on Zouvi’s craft certainly adds credibility to all his designs.
This author tried an Inferno 72 and can testify that they possess all the zip the video reviews suggest they have. If you do follow the heat on the Inferno 72 and manage to get your hands on one, be prepared for a frisky ride. When you find the sweet-spot it’s like being on a horse that’s bolted. All you can do is hold on and try and point it in the right direction. Without going into all the design details it certainly does offer a distinctly different sensation.
Summer is approaching in OZ and all kinds of boards and sprays will be on display. However amidst the plain boards, the foamies and the brightly coloured creations there is certain to be plenty of black and white in the lineup – Just don’t leave it in the car.
READ THE FULL INTERVIEW WITH SHARP EYE SHAPER, MARCO ZOUVI, BY ALEX WORKMAN, IN TRACKS 582. ON STANDS NEXT WEEK.