Harley Ingleby, Asymmetricals & Island Solitude
Watch: ‘Unconventional’Read more
What happens when a two time World Longboarding Champion jumps on asymmetrical surfboards? Something… Unconventional. Filmed by Shane Fletcher, comes two minutes and forty seven seconds of fantastic moves on irregular crafts, performed by Harley Ingleby, a guy who grew up riding a diverse range of shapes from his Dad’s collection. To this range we now add North Coast shaper Billy Tolhurst’s asyms, which as it turns out, are a great conversation starter too…
SW: Ok Harley, we know you love to mix up your equipment. But is there a favourite board from your grommie days?
HI: We had a 5’4’’ super twin, an old original that I surfed through my early teens. I also rode a really nice Bertleman twin too. Those two really stood out for me as insanely fun surfboards to ride.
And where has this journey of experimentation taken you?
Well I started playing around with modern performance shaped twins with my shaper Billy Tolhurst in my early twenties. And since then I’ve been mixing up my equipment with things like fishes and quads, and that lead me towards these new asymmetrical designs I ride in Unconventional.
I’d been thinking about these boards for a long time before I finally approached Billy about it. I was inspired by the surfing of Ryan Burch and Bryce Young, because each has a really unique approach to drawing their lines and there’s some well documented sessions of them riding Burch’s asym designs. Watching those two ride to full potential got me thinking about an asym that would surf like a twinnie off the toes with all that speed and flow, but with a bit more control and hold on the heelside turns.
What specific moments from Bryce or Burch inspired you?
It was one cutback of Bryce’s, but I can’t even remember what video it was in. He did this long highline at full speed into a humungous cutback, on one of Burch’s asyms and that was it for me. Apart from the different lines and turns, I was really interested in how freely that board planed between big moments without losing any speed.
And then Billy shaped you one. Did it live up to expectation?
It did. Right off my very first wave I was so impressed, they surpassed anything I could have imagined.
So back to the Unconventional trip, you’ve got an all asym quiver to test out in tropical solitude…
Yeah man! The islands were absolutely firing that week. We were posted up at a little spot which always has a head high wave. It’s a really underrated piece of reef and when the swell hits it right it can get quite hollow. It’s a super fun, flat reef. We basically had it to ourselves for the whole trip.
Talk us through the dimensions you were riding there…
The shorter one is a combination of a 5’11’’ performance twin, and then a 5’10’’ round-tail shorty. Literally split down the middle and joined together, as accurately as possible. It’s the second generation on this design, with our first attempt I found having a longer rail on one side than the other allowed for some extra hold through heelside transitions. So we evened out the lengths by shortening the twinnie, which eliminated the sticking point and it feels incredible! Those are my two favourite boards glued together. After riding these bashed together 5’10’’s for 18 months, I could see how a slightly more rockered step up would work. I ride one with a blue deck in the clip, which is a rockered out 6’2’’. Basically a step up version of the 5’10”.
Wow that’s radical! Have you tried them in bigger waves yet?
Yeah man, they have so much hold it’s ridiculous! If I got the chance to go to Winki or J-Bay, I couldn’t imagine a better board to ride out there.
What is the biggest misconception about these boards in your opinion?
I guess most people assume asyms are only built to surf in one direction. Like a board to go left or a board to go right, and that’s simply not true! They have different sensations off either rail and when you transition between them you feel so much speed and drive, but they also have a release point when you push against the lip.
What motivates you to keep trying new things?
It’s all about keeping your surfing fresh. I haven’t ridden a standard thruster in 8 years. Don’t get me wrong, I love the extra speed and hold that a thruster gives you, and it was accentuating these really enjoyable lines in my surfing. But the compromise was finding release out of the lip, and dare I say, I felt more like an old man because I was sticking to the wave face rather than pushing through the lip. Getting back on the twinny and the asym, they release so much easier without that instant track in the face. But I’d ride a quad in good barrels any day of the week for that speed and stickiness. Just finding new ways to harness speed and flow has been super exciting for me.
Beyond surfboards, what’s next?
I’ve got the Malibu and Lower Trestles World Tour events, and the WSL have their World Longboard Tour events at the end of the year at Papua New Guinea and Taiwan. I finished fifth overall in 2017, and I’m just waiting for these back to back events to have a crack at another title. That’s the goal.