Ben Aipa and The Birth of the Sting
Ben Aipa invented the swallow tail in 1971, and As time progressed, thru watching his team riders, he saw something was missing in their boards and was looking for that design ingredient that would allow them to push the performance limits further..
In 1974 Ben went to a boat race on Oahu. He noticed there was a particular boat that was outperforming them all. The hydro-plane speed boat!
He saw how quickly the boat accelerated thru turns and the massive release of water that exploded thru the cut outsection of the boats hull!
He instantly went straight to his shaping room. Grabbed a fresh blank and templated out a standard swallow tail short board with a slightly wider forward section. He then dropped the template inside of the outline and carved into the foam with his thumbnail the outline of the hydro plane…Inspired by what he saw, he worked around the clock building this first Sting. When Larry Bertlemann paddled out at a spot called Lighthouse in Diamond Head to test it out, Ben was walking back up the hill to watch him and saw how Larry was turning harder,sharper and faster than ever before. Ben remarked aloud to himself Man..Larry is Stinging the waves!”. The STING was born! Ben had no idea he was on the path to disrupt the current standard of performance surfing in a manner that had never been seen before with it’s influence seen in every winged board today.
Simply put, the Sting (wings) were like moving the tail up 1/3 of the board. This meant not only early release, but almost instantaneous pivot in turns. With the front section being wider, surfers have the planning surface to get in waves and get down the line. With the Stings(wing) abrupt cut in the outline, it allows for the rear 1/3 to be pulled in towards the tail more than a typical outline board, which equates to a quicker response and positive reaction in turns.The Sting went thru countless variations in the first few years alone and continues to evolve throughout the decades.
Test piloted in the beginning, by Buttons Kaluhiokalani, Mark Liddell, Mark Richards,LarryBertlemannand Dane Kealoha the Sting rapidly went thru a series of refinements. During this processthese surfers were igniting the waves and pulling off maneuvers that weren’t even dreamt of, like Buttons carving 360 ( You’re welcomeKelly..lol) ! The board made a hybrid of skate style antics and power surfing possible!A cover shot in Surfer Magazine with Buttons and Mark Liddell with their blue and green flame stings, caught the surfing world on fire and got the attention of everyone. If you talk to anyone that lived through the era, they will tell you there was nothing like it! All of a suddenthere AIPA Stings everywhere. This moment is a key component of surf history that shaped todaysperformance surfer..Morethan a board, THE STING is pivotal turning point and monumental shift in surf design..