A Tale Of Three Tucks
Bit of a departure from the musical theme here, but that’s what the “stuff” category is for! And time for a passion of mine: Friar Tuck kneeboards. When I first started surfing back in the late 70s a bunch of us went down the kneeboarding path. At the time it wasn’t that unusual – kneelos still had a degree of cred in the lineup with their ability to get slotted in the smallest of waves, the spectre of George Greenough still loomed large, and surfers like Peter Crawford were tearing it up. It was kind of cool having a half dozen of us right into being cripples.
In 1979 I got my first custom board. Brands like Crozier were in the mix, but there was only one thing I wanted: a Friar Tuck. The Ware brothers were operating their business from Brookvale, and I still remember driving down there with my dad to place my order, nervous about having to explain what I wanted to the guys down there. Even more exciting was the trip a few weeks later to pick up the board: my 5’6” custom single flyer twin fin!
Over the next decade that board was my partner in some amazing experiences, and it was always by my side. Even when I moved to Thredbo the board went with me so I could do the occasional trip down to the south coast to get a few waves (a couple of times I was able to use my day off to head down for an early surf then high tail it back to ski in the afternoon!).
In my late 20s and early 30s surfing dropped away a bit as I got right into mountain biking, but the Tuck was always there when I needed a fix. In my later 30s I started riding mals a bit but still always through of myself as a kneeboarder. About seven or eight years ago I came across another Tuck on eBay – this time a 6’ thruster single wing diamond tail, and a little bigger to cope with my increasing waistline. The bloke I bought it off arranged to have it sent down from the north coast on a big car moving rig, and we had to meet the truck on the side of the road in the pouring rain late one night on his way through Sydney. Getting it home and taking it out of the board bag brought back the same memories of getting my first board.
Then a couple of years ago I started to wonder what a quad would be like… and I set up the search reminder on eBay to let me know if anything. The key words? “Friar Tuck”. There was no other choice. And sure enough not long after a beautiful quad fish tail appeared, this time being sold by a bloke who actually worked for a mate of mine.
So now I have my family of three Tucks. My old faithful twinnie is still there, not really ridden by me these days but the kids have had a crack on it. The thruster, my go to board, and the quad. But it does feel like something is missing. Yep, a single fin. I can picture another Tuck slab with a big fin, 12” fin box and maybe even a flex tail. There’s one on the new Friar Tuck website – now run by the legendary David Parkes up in Byron – that looks perfect. Would I ride it very often? I’m not sure, but it does feel like this is the final piece in the kneeboarding evolutionary family.