Flexing it with Michael Mackie
31 ~ October 2011
This interview with Michael Mackie is an extract from the Lost in the Ether film/book project, released December 2010
Andrew: That whole Winterstick fish thing, how did you come across that?
Michael: I came across it from when I was a young boy looking at Surfing World Magazine. Somehow the article that Richard Palmer wrote stuck with me for all those years. Eventually through going snow boarding it coupled up with my fish boards, I thought that I’d try and deepen the swallows and flex the tails.
Andrew: What attracted you to that design? There must have been something in Richard’s article that resonated with you.
Michael: Just the beautiful aesthetic of the snowboard that Milovich had made. I like the aesthetic of the swallowtail. Richard Palmer was basically showing the people in Australia snowboarding for the first time.
Andrew: What year was that?
Michael: 1979, I think the article came out in 1980 in Bruce and Hugh’s magazine.
Andrew: When did you start tinkering around with shaping those crossover designs?
Andrew: Can you feel the similarities between this board and the Winterstick?
Michael: Yeah I can. Just from sinking the tail and riding off one pin at a time. You get a nice slice off either piece of the swallow and also the whip out of the tail - which you get out of a flexing snowboard. I can feel those similarities, because in powder snow you can push and sink the tail and whip out of your turns - the surfboard is in a softer medium (which is water) so you’re sinking and flexing the tail. The swallowtail seems to work.
Andrew: These other Fish that you’re doing, where did the inspiration for them come from?
Michael: It all came from toying with my own ideas at the start. They came from Skip Frye’s board, that one that Curren rode years ago at Jeffery’s. My brother-in-law Pete was pretty into me playing around with it and we just played around with it. It was just a private thing. Other guys became a little bit interested, but it didn’t really take off.
Andrew: Why did you put the side-cut into the rail?
Michael: That comes directly from the Dimitrije Winterstick.
Andrew: What do you think that does?
Michael: Well, you’re following the curve, so it gives you a little extra whip in and out of your turns. It gives you a little extra drive out of turns; it shortens up the arc a bit out of the end of your cutbacks. It flicks you - gives you a flick - it’s like a radius you’re turning off. It’s excellent off the wash and in that last hook, when you go into a roundhouse cutback - that’s where it really applies. Rodney Ball, he had all that kind of stuff in his boards, back in the 70’s, he called them Ski Tails. Like what Terry Fitz did with the sidecut in his Screwdriver. It all comes back from my childhood, and the interest in design - the whole gamut of design, so to speak.
To read more of this interview see:
The limited edition Lost in the Ether film/book project is available in the shop.
And for work by Michael Mackie see:
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