In the Shaping Room Featuring the Bing Pig Performer Series
Matt, you wrote a great introduction on the Bing website for the Pig Performer Series, can you give our viewers an overview on why you decided to build this new group of models?
My goal was to build a group of boards with progressive and traditional elements, function in the water, rack appeal and esthetic of a early 60's pig, with its classic simple logo placement, reminiscent of simpler times.
What kind of R&D did you personally do for these models?
Early on I did all the R&D, there was a need for this sort of board for my own surfing. I'm almost 50 and the crowds keep me from riding my short board. I've been riding noseriders for 25 years and wanted a change from always going right to nose, something faster and more a carvey turn on the open faces.
Did an existing design influence you for these?
Definitely, the turning ability of a classic pig was the influence. Our team rider Will Allen was asking me for a progressive midrange, I leaned more towards a longboard alternative.
Did you nail the design right out of the chute?
Yes and no, the general concept I got right away. The outline and tail rocker/ vee, and bottom contour took some fine tuning.
How many did you build for yourself before you were satisfied with the design?
4 to 6 version on each of the three models.
What are your favorite characteristics of the Pig Performers?
What surprised you about it the most? What impressed you about it the most?
Well, paddling and wave catching, ability to ride bigger waves then expected, glide and turning.
What was the most surprising was the wave catching, not having a concave allowed the board to gain speed with every stoke of when paddling, and with the wide point back the wave energy could pick up the tail fast and point the board down swell allowing for really early wave entry.
What is the recommended size range for Pigformers?
Because of the wide point being so far back, the design naturally lent itself to a longer midrange, a size range that hasn't been explored that deeply. Conventional outlines don't suit the size range very well, so thinking outside the box was the key to making the functional.
So, where most of the longboards we build are 9’0” to 10’ 0” and most midlengths are 7’0” to 8’ 0”, are Pigformers designed to work best in the 8’4” to 9’2” range?
I didn't initially intend to make them at these sizes, it kind of found its own groove. I made an 8'0" and the feedback was less impactful, the advantages got lost, it still worked, but at that size you can move the wide point up and get more rail line for drive and projection.
You have the volume on the different sizes on each model listed on the site, is knowing the volume more important on these?
Yes, the short borders like to know volume, so it satisfies that need. With long boards they will consider volume more when dropping in size to have adequate float and glide, other boards on the market that compare to these boards offer volume specs, so it seemed prudent to offer it.
It sounds like it’s a mix, or hybrid, of some of the best aspects from both a longboard and a shortboard, can you comment on that?
There's some mix, yet mostly longboard/ pig influence, the down knifey rail in the tail was an influence of late 60's and early 70's Mike Hynson rail. The softer rail mid board was is a longboard influence.
What are differences between the 3 models and why there are 3?
The first one I designed was the Pig Pin, that had more of a glider influence with a single concave in the middle of the board, and flatter rocker. I really liked the board and found I was definitely on to something, yet my shortboard background was looking for break in the top and bottom turn, with the Pintail at 8'6" it was a little stiff considering I weigh about 145.
The Pigformer has a baby square tail, it was the answer to the issue I was having, it broke the turn to give the board just the right amount of pivot, with a bit more rocker I had more of a carvey open face turn I was looking for.
The Pigformer 2+1 was a result of the regular Pigformer success, by adding a little more tail rocker swallow tail, and side bites we could satisfy the customer that wants more of a progressive look and feel.
Do they feel shorter than they really are when ridden or do they feel like the actual size they are?
I would say conservatively they ride 6" to 12" shorter than their size, that's the feedback consensus I received.
What did you think when you rode the Pigformer the first time?
Wow! Even after 35 years of surfing and shaping.
Did you jump right on it or was there an adjustment period?
The biggest adjustment was back foot placement, it took me three session to understand were to put my foot and how to surf them. The Pigformer was definitely easier for what I was trying to do.
As far as conditions go, when is the Pigformer your go-to?
I liked the board in all conditions, but especially in peaky weak waves, that shortboard don't like and with longboarding generally gets boring fast.
What about the fin, how did you decide on which fins were right for the Pig Performers?
They definitely needed to be different than the Greenough style fins that have been so successful in my noseriders and midranges. I had been using this template that George Downing had designed, who knows when, that had a lot more rake then what most people are used to seeing and riding. The Downing fin complimented the unique outline and vee bottom, although the Greenough 4A works good too. I was just personally looking for a unique feel.
What size fin do you recommend?
For an 8'6 to 9'2" I definitely think it needs a 9" fin in either style of fin, mostly due to the width of the tail, so the board won't slip or spin out.
Is this a model where you might change the fin depending on the conditions or is it one where once you get the right?
Yes, I would recommend using the Downing fin on bigger more powerful days to get more drive, then switching to the 4A when it's gutless.
Are the Pig Performers good boards for surfers of every skill level?
These boards are in my mind the most user friendly and easy to surf boards that we make, hands down.
What makes Pig Performers such a good choice for people looking for a new surfing experience?
I'm sick of fighting for waves with young kids on the inside, and I don't want a clunky noserider that mostly works only when the waves are shoulder high and smaller, clean and lined up. You clearly you need the right board for the right conditions and the Pig Performer Series fills the need for me most often.