One distinguishing quality of our surfboards, is that they tend to be a bit flat compared to other manufacturers. This is a very specific choice on our part, and is a contributing element to our first rule of surfboard building: we want to build surfboards that paddle with ease, glide well, and catch waves early.
Part of our surfboard-building ethos is: if you can get into waves early and get to your feet, even just one or two strokes sooner, everything else tends to come together more consistently.
Here in Southern California, where the average surf is small and fair, having a surfboard with low, continuous rocker glides better and maximizes energy of even the smallest waves. Essentially, we build our surfboards for the poor to fair days, because as the waves improve, the scope of what type of surfboard you can ride only broadens.
There is nothing I hate more than pushing water on a surfboard with too much nose rocker. Frequently customers come into the shop saying that they were advised to get a board with more nose-rocker, so they would be less likely to 'pearl'. This well-meaning advice is like finger-nails on a chalkboard to me. Significant nose rocker is paramount if you are surfing big, ledging barrels, but disastrous for small high-tide beach breaks. But last time I checked, all of 0 people have come into the shop looking for a Waimea Gun.
For most general purposes, low continuous rocker will help keep wave counts up, and make the most of the windows of surfing opportunity, even when the conditions aren't ideal.
Tail rocker is a bit of a different story. Flatter tails mean faster planing boards, but stiffer to turn. More tail rocker will slow the board down, but make it looser. This is something we have played with a bit over the years, and tail rocker is a key element to shaping effective noseriders. The trick is slowing the board down enough, to hang in the pocket, but fast enough to outpace the section a bit.
When we first started sending longboards to Australia for Simon Patchett, he was having a hard time noseriding for any length of time, because the boards were out-running the sections. Generally, the waves in Australia pack a little bit more punch than what we are accustomed to, so our flat tail rockers were too fast for the waves. Essentially, since the wave was more powerful, less help from the flat tail was necessary. So, for the last several years, we actually started doing our rocker profiles differently on the boards we send to Australia. They have a touch more rocker throughout and a tiny bit of extra kick in the tail. This proved to be just what Patchy needed, to slow things down a little, and make the most of the NSW waves.
There's a little look at the thinking behind our rocker profiles, and why we build our boards the way we do.