Designers
Surfboard with interchangable tail, 2005

Thomas Meyerhoffer

Location: Meyerhoffer, California
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Thomas Meyerhoffer designs products in the areas of sports, technology, and furniture. His early success as the designer, in 1997, of Apple’s eMate, the predecessor to the colorful Apple computer designs of the late 1990s, set the stage for his later career. Since starting his own company in Montara, California, in 1998, Meyerhoffer has completed many projects for companies such as Cappellini, Scott, and SonyEricsson. In recent work, Meyerhoffer combines technology and forward-thinking ideas into sculptural, widely accessible design. Most recently, Meyerhoffer has been applying his sensibility to his passion for surfing.

The results are two very different designs: The first is a surfboard with interchangeable tails, for which Meyerhoffer’s goal was to design “the most advanced tool in the surf culture.” With it the rider can change the tail section from a pin-tail—a rounded “V” shape that channels the water in a single stream and essentially holds the board in its line—to a swallow-tail (the shape of the letter W), which breaks the flow of the water running from the bottom of the board, thereby slightly lifting the tail and making it easier to turn. This easy adjustment enables surfers to instantly customize their ride to maximize their performance while eliminating the need to carry boards of different sizes. Meyerhoffer’s second, less performance-oriented surfboard design is an experiment to express the experience of surfing in the design of the board. The BooSoo board, a longboard with a sculptural, hourglass shape, enables the rider to make tighter turns that are usually possible only on a shortboard. Meyerhoffer says that this innovative form delivers a new experience and dimension of gliding for to the rider. Both of these designs combine the high-tech computer programming that Meyerhoffer applies to all of his work with the intricate craftsmanship required to create a surfboard.

Progio is another example of his ability to synthesize technology with modern functionality for a high-tech performance experience. This handheld, sleek device with an organically inspired shape is a multimedia platform for interactive personal coaching in any sport.