Lazor Zap


Single-fin surfboard model popularized in 1980 by Australian shaper Geoff McCoy and championed by four-time world title runner-up Cheyne Horan; the Lazor Zap design dropped the board's wide point below center, increasing the tail area while decreasing the nose area, and added rocker throughout, "Visually," Surfing magazine wrote, "it is almost triangular."

Greg Noll Surfboards introduced their No Nose model in 1969, featuring a dropped wide point and a blunt-tipped kicked-up nose, but the board failed to sell and was quickly put out of production. The McCoy version—marketed as the Lazor Zap, and offered as a high-performance alternative to the twin-fin—was far more extreme than Noll's model. Essentially, the Lazor Zap's objective was to move the board's trimming sweet spot—usually a foot or so ahead of where the rider stands while turning—back toward the tail section so that, in theory, the surfer would not have a to move his or her feet. Move-to-move quickness was the goal.

While a good many pro surfers either experimented with the no-nose (or "needle nose") design, including Mark Warren, Michael Tomson, Pam Burridge, and Larry Blair, it was perennial world title contender and top McCoy teamrider Cheyne Horan who did the most to bring this strange-looking new craft to the attention of surfers worldwide. One of Horan's favorites from 1980 was 5' 6" long and 20.5 inches wide, with the wide point located a full foot behind the board's center point, and a long, flexible, extremely narrow-based fin. Some later models had a split-tipped "star fin." Horan made a career out of riding equipment unlike any of his professional peers, but the Lazor Zap, he said, was the design that "freed my mind."

As promised, the no-nose design allowed for lightning-quick turns in small waves, but there were problems. "[The boards] lack projection; they don't seem to reach far enough out of a turn," Surfing magazine noted in 1980. "This could probably be solved with minor modifications." But the problems weren't solved, and while Horan continued to ride no-nose boards for the next few years—as did future world champion Pam Burridge— the design was mostly passé by 1983, after the tri-fin board was introduced. (As tri-fin Thruster innovator Simon Anderson later noted, however, his new design incorporated a slightly modified Lazor Zap planshape. "McCoy evolved the single-fin to a point where you could put three fins on his shape and it would work." Anderson went so far as to say that "Geoff is the first father of the Thruster.")

On his Lazor Zap, Cheyne won the opening two events of the 1982 world tour, at a time when virtually all other pros, apart from Mark Richards, were riding tri-fins. The following year, Pam Burridge, also riding no-nose boards, won three of nine events on the women's tour.