They say the sum of the parts is greater than the whole.
Garage Handplanes has been creating custom-designed bodysurfing tools for almost a decade, borne of a passion for riding waves in the simplest terms. Refining a diverse quiver of handplanes over many months of research and development to four distinguished models of the highest quality, Garage has catered to bodysurfers worldwide, providing equipment for world champions, soul surfers and pioneers, and almost every wave imaginable.
Mabo Handplanes has followed a different path, hand-shaping each handplane for each individual’s requirements and preferences. With an insurgence of passionate Japanese bodysurfers, Mabo Handplanes has carved countless craft along with a renowned reputation as one of Japan’s foremost authorities in bodysurfing and handplane design.
From these disparate paths, Garage and Mabo have united, combining concepts, designs and perspectives. Half Garage, half Mabo, the brand-new Garbo Model is the culmination of over a year of planning, collaborating and honing.
Mabo’s Almond model offered the initial template. Whittled through the bottom for a rail-to-rail concave, pulled in to a tight pintail, it draws in design aspects from Garage’s Go Kart model, with a full nose and tapered tail. We’ve forgone the customary hull fin, and opted for a deep concave that pushes almost to the nose, with a light-weight balanced profile and slight nose rocker.
The Garbo has been designed as a highly responsive performance model with traits that allow it to be ridden in a multitude of waves. A shallow entry rocker, pinched rails and a secure, 50-milimetre hand strap edged a little forward of centre creates a balanced feel with heightened drive and lift, plus exceptional responsiveness.
With a tapered template and reduced rocker, the feel is counter-intuitive, requiring a reaching projection on steeper waves rather than increased pressure and body elevation.
The tapering in the tail translates into reduced drag and incredible speed, but for a plane that offers a profound increase in speed and lift, the Garbo is diminutive in proportion. Compact, slender and weighing in at just 320g all up, it is highly manageable through duck dives, close-outs and more challenging conditions.
The Garbo is easy to paddle without significant increase in drag, resulting in minimal duress on wrist and shoulder. The Garbo is all performance without the burden of a bigger plane.
A GoPro plug and separate central wrist strap mount have been added, with a durable yet incredibly lightweight carbon fibre veneer and epoxy core completing the model. High performance combined with exceptional versatility make the Garbo model a handplane for everyone, that is as comfortable in fun sliders as it is solid beach breaks.
Completing the design, and adding to the collaborative nature of the Garbo, New Zealand surf artist, AL Wrath, has once more lent his iconic artwork to the model, reflecting both brands and embodying the quintessence of bodysurfing; sunny days, glassy ocean and the myriad waves that offer us a place to indulge our passion.