Triggers’ escape a Dimension dilemma

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Board talk: Paul Trigger with one of the first boards he made with his brother Phil in the late 1960s – a board that helped take them out of their Dimension era.

FLEDGLING surfboard makers Paul and Phil Trigger thought they had a great idea when it came to naming and identifying their surfboards: “Let’s start with the First Dimension”. This was in the late 1960s when they were shaping boards in a lane at the back of their parents’ house in Bonbeach.

By the time they were getting close to the Eighth Dimension they realised there was a need for a simpler numbering system.

“What’s going to happen when we get to the 125th or 150th?” Paul Trigger remembers asking his brother.

Instead of deciding to start with the number one, they decided against numbering their boards altogether, and that’s the way it’s been ever since.

A couple of weeks ago the Triggers – who have shops at Point Leo and Frankston – received a call from Western Australia by someone offering one of the early “Dimension” boards.

Paul trigger remembers taking it on a weekend’s surf at Wilsons Promontory and quickly deciding “I didn’t like it”.

He’s not sure if it’s the Third or Fifth Dimension, but it was built about the same time the American pop group The Fifth Dimension changed its name from The Versatiles. The group’s most memorable hit was “Up, up and away”, theme song for a now-defunct Australian airline.

You’ve got to wonder, and marvel, at how those US musicians heard about (and were inspired by) the Triggers’ Dimension numbering system.

And while the musicians kept the name, the Triggers went back to just building boards. Something they’ve been doing for the past half a century, with no end in sight.

Paul Trigger says their older boards keep popping up.

In the 1960s the surf industry was in its infancy and getting raw materials was not always easy. The fibreglass cloth with resin to coat a shaped foam blank was heavy and coarse.

Putting their Trigger Bros brand on the board required using Letraset, a plastic lettering system that involved rubbing the paper-backed letters straight onto the surfboard blank.

The Triggers chose and old English font which had previously been used by their father and an uncle on their “Trigger Brothers” grocery shop in Hesse St, Queenscliff.

While the branding changed over the years, the brothers have now reverted to that old typography.

And the boards? Well they have progressed from those early Dimensions, keeping pace with the trends to multi-fins and lighter materials.

But the enthusiasm for coming up with the right shape and finish has not waned, as is shown whenever a new board is placed in the racks at their shops or, if custom built, handed over to its new owner.

There’s anticipation and an appreciation by looking at its lines of how the board will perform in the surf.

First published in the Frankston Times – 14 August 2017

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