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Lib Tech Cofounder Mike Olson On New Surf Line

Mike Olson with his new surf line at SIA 2012

We’ve been anxiously awaiting seeing Lib Tech’s new surf line in the flesh since we started hearing about them from Lib Tech Founders Mike Olson and Pete Saari last year. The wait was finally over at this year’s SIA Snow Show, where Lib Tech gave the industry its first look at the boards and their revolutionary new design.

“Every material in these has never been used in a surf or snowboard before, except for the [fin] screws,” says Olson of the boards. Olson began shaping surf boards in the early 80s and actually funded the launch of Lib Tech snowboards with his efforts. “It has been a dream forever to bring surf back in the mix,” he says.

The line includes three different series with 14 distinct shapes, all of which include grab rails, honeycomb construction, rubberized elastomer sidewalls, and concave tops. They also feature a non-absorptive foam, so even if you get a ding you don’t have to get out of the water. That said, following two years of protos being ridden around the world, dropped on rock beaches, and other pummeling conditions, riders have only been able to get two dings. Lib’s calling the boards “2D to D” or Dang Difficult to Ding.

As with all its other products, Olson and his crew have focused on the environmental impacts of the boards, as well as their toxicity for the shapers, and the lay-up process uses no brushes or sand paper. The honeycomb weave you can see on the boards is the result of a process called Isotropic Fusion, a one-step reaction that bonds all of the board’s materials incredibly fast. ”You can make a board at six in the morning and surf it by noon,” adds Olson. The honey comb construction also adds strength to the boards, whose flex Olson describes simply as “awesome.”

Lib is also building its own fins, but the fin boxes are FCS compatible. “FCS fins are available anywhere in the world,” explains Olson about the design.

So far only Olson and Jeff Henderson have seen the entire design process, but the duo is working on training others at the company’s headquarters in Washington, where all of the boards and fins will be made. The plan is to ramp up to full production in the next month for deliveries to hit retail, where they’ll sell for $696.96, in late spring.

Here’s a look at the line and what goes into it: