In 1986 Herb O’Brien decided it was time for HO Sports to make their first kneeboard. He asked me to design it, and I excitedly agreed.
The first step to develop a new design is to create a test board out of foam and fiberglass. I didn’t have any personal experience in hand shaping boards, […]
10: RIDING THE WAVE – COMPETITIONS
In the early 1980s watersports enthusiasts were excited about kneeboarding. The industry was pumping money into the market with new designs and an advertising blitz. More riders than ever were getting good on a kneeboard, and companies like Hydroslide, O’Brien, Connelly, and Ski Master were giving free product to the […]
9: MAIL IT IN
The water ski magazines were fueling the growth of the sport. In 1982 Spray ran the first kneeboarding feature story, with action shots by Terry Dorner. It was the first time real kneeboarders were pictured, even though their names were left out. The following year World Water Skiing did a makeover, and […]
8: MAGIC TIME
O’Brien was another company that went after Hydroslide’s huge market share., leading the way with their foam-filled board called the Bullfrog. But the lackluster design was antiquated, and the graphics were something a kid might go for: an all green board with a giant bullfrog sitting on the nose.
O’Brien’s Entry into the Kneeboarding […]
7: SKI MASTER
The popular water ski manufacturer Ski Master wanted to grab a piece of the kneeboard pie in the early 1980s. They bought Tunnel Board in 1981, who was still hanging around in a distant second place to Hydroslide. Ski Master kept the original thin profile high performance board, and expanded the line with […]
The next big boost in kneeboarding came from the man most recognized for popularizing the sport. Danny Churchill, quarter mile speed ski record holder, obtained the rights to Glide Slide in April, 1974.6 He was a former employee of Glide Slide who knew the business. From the next few years Churchill redesigned the teardrop […]
5: KNEED FOR SPEED
In 1978, at the Endo’s International Speed Skiing Championships, I witnessed kneeboarding insanity.
The site was the Long Beach Marine Stadium. I only remember the kneeboarder by his nickname, Dumbdee. He was a Long Beach local who talked the promoters into letting him have a speed run on his Tunnel Board. Just to […]
3: GLIDE SLIDE
In the early days of Knee Ski, Hulst asked Murphy to find another water skier to help with promotions. Murphy chose fellow skier John Taylor who was ready to go to work right away.6 But bringing John on board was jumping the gun. Murphy was still at work shaping the original test boards […]