Native Surfers Relaunch Ahi Board That First Rode a Wave of Recognition in Hollister Ranch in 1986 | Enterprise

In 1986, Santa Barbara resident and surfer Dennis Shanelec created the Ahi board.

Shanelec spent years perfecting his board, testing it in secret surf classes till he got here up with the proper form and purchased a patent. He made about 1,000 of them, and so they turned all the fad amongst younger surfers at Hollister Ranch.

Nevertheless, the white, foam board by no means took off. Round that point, Shanelec additionally was rising his enterprise as a periodontist and determined to dedicate his time to his profession, and he finally turned a reputed oral surgeon.

The legend of the Ahi board remained amongst a small group of native surfers.

Till now.

Goleta resident Matt Van Dyk, by means of a wierd flip of occasions extra unpredictable than essentially the most wild wave, discovered the Ahi board. He revived it, tweaked it a bit for the fashionable instances and is promoting it at native surfshops. It is now referred to as the Ahi Wave Sled.

“There’s loads of instances when you’re out within the water and it may be very aggressive with your self and different individuals,” Van Dyk mentioned. “Quite a lot of instances when the waves are good, it will probably get very heated. I even catch myself generally saying, ‘I’m out right here to have enjoyable.’ However while you first get on an Ahi, there actually is not any different possibility than to have enjoyable.”

At a time when foam-top boards from Costco are all of the craze for surfers of all ages and talent ranges, Van Dyk’s wave sled is a one-of-kind, with its origins rising from inside a surf shack at Mariposa Reina close to Gaviota. A technology of households in Hollister Ranch and their youngsters used the board, however its recognition by no means escaped the small surf group.

Van Dyk first noticed the board lined in mud inside a good friend’s storage. He requested about it, and the good friend let him borrow it. He liked it, and so did his two teenage sons. A couple of months later, he noticed a man on the seashore with one — and purchased it for $20. The man mentioned he discovered it subsequent to a trash can in Montecito.


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The Ahi Wave Sled has a concave backside and is made out of thermoplastic polymer foam. (Courtesy picture)

The board has a concave backside, is made out of a thermoplastic polymer foam, and is straightforward to show and handle on the water. It is also 100% curbside recyclable.

Van Dyk liked the board a lot that he tracked down Shanelec and had a coversation with him. The 2 talked in regards to the board, and Van Dyk heard the story of the how the board was created from the person who invented it. On the time, Shanelec advised Van Dyk that he may relaunch the board. A couple of years handed, and Van Dyke was buying on the Surf N’ Put on Seashore Home, a surf store on decrease State Road, and was having an off-the-cuff dialog with proprietor Roger Nance.

Nance blew Van Dyk’s thoughts when he advised him that he had a single unique, nonetheless within the packaging from 1986, at the back of the shop. Nance advised him that Shanelec died in 2019, and that his spouse, Suzanne, introduced on the board and gave it Nance.

Van Dyk, who grew up in Goleta and attended Dos Pueblos Excessive College, started browsing when he was 8 years previous at native surf spots Haskell’s, Campus Level and Sands. It is within the household blood.

So, he reached out to Suzanne Shanelec. He referred to as her and left a message. Two months handed. He did not hear something. He left another well mannered message. A month later, she referred to as him again. After a dialog and a go to to her home, she advised Van Dyk, “You have got my blessing,” to relaunch the board.

It wasn’t fairly the parting of the seas, however for Van Dyk, it was a biblical second. His religion within the board paid off. Van Dyk crawled up within the attic and located extra boards. Suzanne Shanelec gave him patents that had since expired and different paperwork she had on the board.

Van Dyk and his enterprise companion, Aaron “Johnny” Foster, started working.

“Once I take these out, I really feel like somewhat child,” mentioned Foster, a lifelong surfer. “I’ve smile, and it is only a blast.”

He retains one of many Ahi sleds on this automotive.

“Mom nature all the time throws completely different waves,” Foster mentioned. “Typically the surf is not the most effective, so I am going to take this out. There isn’t any expectation. You simply exit and have enjoyable.”

The board, Foster mentioned, is straightforward to manage and switch, irrespective of the situations. The narrower tip permits for a greater grip. Foster mentioned the board permits nearly anybody to really feel comfy within the water.

“It permits for individuals to simply benefit from the ocean,” Foster mentioned.

The Ahi Wave Sleds are on the market on the Seashore Home, 10 State St. in Santa Barbara.

Grayson Nance, supervisor of the shop, mentioned the board was forward of its time. The idea was all the time good, with its slender form and skill to manage, nevertheless it by no means caught fireplace. Nance surfs with the board.

“It is utterly completely different from a physique board,” Nance mentioned. “It is completely different from a surfboard. It is obtained its personal area of interest. Everybody all the time on the lookout for the subsequent massive factor.”

The boards can be found at Surf Nation in Goleta, the Surf N’ Put on Seashore Home in Santa Barbara and on the corporate’s web site.

For Van Dyk, the discharge of the board is a dream he wasn’t certain would ever occur. What started within the Eighties is alive immediately and experiencing a rebirth.

“Put your youngsters on it. They may journey it, stand on it and adore it,” Van Dyk mentioned. “My youngsters taught themselves to surf on an Ahi.”

A kind of youngsters, Shane Van Dyk, even coined the phrase that’s now the board’s official slogan.

“It is all the time overhead on an Ahi,” referring to how the board lets an individual get underneath any type of wave.

— Noozhawk workers author Joshua Molina might be reached at (JavaScript should be enabled to view this electronic mail tackle).. Comply with Noozhawk on Twitter: @KeepinDay, @TheOozhawkNews and @BrothersHawkeye. Join with Noozhawk on Fb.

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