The “Turbo Tunnel™” Story
Bob “The Greek” Bolen

I have owned “Surfboards by the Greek” since 1960. Although I have been in the Real Estate business since 1974, my first love is surfing. Since the beginning I have always been interested in improving both surfboard and fin designs. While enjoying a warm shower after a great morning surf session at The Pier in 1996, I began pondering the various fin designs I had used on my boards over the years. I not only thought about our standard fin designs such as the Maui Model and Eliminator fins, but also the Tiger Tail (named after Tiger Espere) and others.

Eventually I began to focus in on a fin I had used in the early 60s that had been designed by Richard Deese, who owned a glass shop up in the south bay. He called it the “Wishbone.” It kind of looked like a wishbone, and while it had some promising nose riding properties, it did not turn very well. Additionally it was not well received by the surfing community due to its overall design.

Finally I began to think about putting a hole in a fin to improve its performance. But, I thought to myself, how could you do that? A fin is too thin. However, the thought of a fin with a hole in it would not go away. As I continued to ponder its possibilities, a new fin design began to take shape it in my minds eye -- not a fin with a hole in it, but a fin with a barrel. All of a sudden I could visualize it. But how could it be made? Was it even possible?

I kept thinking about it and decided it could be made. “But would it work?” was the bigger question. After my shower I rummaged around the garage and found one of my favorite old fins we had used quite exclusively during the 70s. I needed something tubular in shape for the barrel. I could picture in my mind was a toilet paper roll. I had to find a used toilet paper roll or else all was lost. Not a piece of pipe, a can, another tube of some sort, nope not any of these. Only a toilet paper roll would do.

It must have been a “Freudian” thing, due to the fact I got the idea in the bathroom. I found my toilet paper roll, attached it in between the two pieces of fin and glassed over it, connecting all three pieces together. I sanded my new creation and tried it out. It was unbelievable. I could tell right away this thing really worked.

I secretly rode it in a contest a Doheny Beach later that year. I was getting long nose rides along with smooth turns. I even won the contest! I was really stoked, however due to a lack of funds, I had to put the fin idea on the back burner, but it never left my mind. I knew if I did not make this fin someone else would. You know what happens when you get an idea and do not follow up on it: someone else gets the same idea and there it is a few years later. Then you think to yourself, “I knew I should have done it.”

The real estate market took off in November of 1997. The following year I decided to pursue the manufacture of the “Turbo Tunnel Fin.” This was a whole new world for me. I met with patent attorneys, engineers, molding and tooling companies, rapid proto-typing firms, and material suppliers etc. Finally I decided to go forward with the fin project.

Today, thanks to the help of Deanna Vale, Jason Tool, R&D Designs, Mike Wellman, Longboard Magazine, Surfers Journal, General Electric, Knobbe Martin, Henry Larrucea, Michael Bolen, Ryan Engle, Mark Stewart, Lance Hookano, Koa Enriquez, Wendy & Kona Gilley, Dr. Bruce “the Snake” Gabrielson, Skip Savage, Paul Strauch Jr., Scott Rutherford, Rusty Smith, Kim “Danger Woman” Hamrock, Curtis “Da Kine” Miyashiro, Nigel Dwyer, Mikey “the Rat” Ester, Tom “Y” Morey, Josh Mohr, Corky Carroll, Kathy Jo Anderson, Mimi Monroe, Melody De Carlo, Aaron Powell, John Rogers, Infinity Surfboards, Dewey Weber Surfboards, Robert August Surfboards, along with the 1,000s of unnamed surfers who were not afraid to try something new, the Turbo Tunnel™ Fin is being ridden all over the world by both amateur and professional surfers alike. Hopefully this new fin will help aid in new surfboard designs that will help propel surfing to a new level.

Greek and Some Turbo Team Members at Surf EXPO