[Top 3] Innovative Stewart Custom Surfboards

Written by Ashley Leines


Posted on May 03 2019

THE FORECAST: In short, how have Stewart custom surfboards innovated the world of surfing?

  • Hang ten on a shortboard.
  • Night surf—safe and sound (haha).
  • Catch the ultimate party wave.

The surfboard industry is playing around with just about every shape and any material—from Dunkin’ Donuts cups to wave tank boards, nothing’s off limits. Right now, in this very moment, humanity is experiencing the stoke of surfing on a million new levels.

Throughout surfing history, you’ll see that Bill Stewart has repeatedly—pardon the pun—blown traditional surfing out of the water. He’s kept us on our feet and on the wave as an established shaper and artist of 40,000+ custom surfboards, while the Stewart brand has hand-crafted well over 110,000 boards.

That’s a lot of boards. Somewhere along the line, Stewart encountered a stroke of brilliance and he graced the surfing world with the following 3 innovative, custom surfboards.

Hydro Hull

Hydro Hull surfboard

True or false: You can hang ten on a shortboard.

With the Hydro Hull’s single to double concave bottom, beveled rail, and 2 + 1 fin configuration, the answer is true—surfers suddenly had the best of both worlds, running up to hang ten, and back for a shortboard-style cut-back, then throwing it off-the-lip as only a shortboard could have done before the Hydro Hull. Bill built the original model in the mid-80s but before this invention, these features, let alone this combination of features, were unheard of. Now every high-performance longboard demands at least one of these innovations.

The Hydro Hull was everything you’ve ever wanted—a short and longboard hybrid, high-performance yet forgiving, both fast and loose, and with drive and punch through turns. This custom surfboard came from Bill’s passion to push the progression of longboarding in a direction no one thought possible. His innovative features allowed team riders like Jeff Kramer to do airs on a 9-foot longboard, blowing people’s minds, and taking the sport to a new level. Bill’s goal was to make a longboard ride more like a shortboard, while still being able to hang ten. And in the end—mission accomplished.

The legend of the Hydro Hull carries on in the form of a Tufflite molded epoxy or the Redline 11—both models use similar technology. Designed to leverage every ounce of leg strength and maximize every movement, Bill predicts that no matter who you are, these boards will increase your surf performance by 20%.

The Night Stalker


Would you night surf if your board had headlights?

The Night Stalker is the first night surfing board ever built. It sounds dangerous… mixing water, electricity, surfing, and the night. But the invention wasn’t just for fun—not only did the proceeds benefit children with cancer, but the custom surfboard could make night surfing a safer reality.

With night surfing comes two major risks—low visibility and no lifeguards. LED headlights light the waves and a plexiglass panel lets you see through, to the water. If you’re in trouble, the lights flash. Despite the lights, cables, and extra features, this board can turn on a dime.

The Night Stalker was created as an entry into a Billabong contest for the most unique board and it was the craziest, most difficult thing Bill has ever built. The custom surfboard consumed over 100 hours of his creative energy. With innovation like this, we can’t help but ask what’s next—custom surfboard speakers? An onboard toaster? Avocado toast, on the waves, during an early morning sesh?

4-Man Surfboard


With this custom surfboard, the days of losing your buddies in the water are over—well, your 3 best buddies at least.

The 4-Man surfboard is big enough for 4 grown men to surf together. And from this creation, synchronized surfing was born. Just kidding. Although this board was more of a stunt than a momentous change in surfing history, the 4-Man shows how Bill is constantly pushing the envelope and trying crazy stuff. Similar to this, he also created a massive tandem board in the shape of a big-wave gun for the Stewart tandem team (Bobby & Anna) to be the first (and probably only) tandem surfers to ride Waimea.

So if you want to spend some real quality time on the waves with your buddies (literally), or just experience the stoke of surfing on another level, the 4-man board delivers.

It was born from a couple of old Clark Foam blanks that were massive—37″ wide—and originally intended to be Hawaiian paddle boards. Bill got his hands on these leftover blanks, split them in half and glued them back together into one double-stringer board big enough for everyone to surf together.


This isn’t a board model, but Bill co-invented the Futures fin box. There are only two types of fin boxes available worldwide, and Futures was designed to be lighter, stronger, and easier to install than the competition. So far so good for the business—there haven’t been any returns due to its incredible durability, and it’s now being used in many different surfboard brands around the world.

Final Words

So when all you need is your board and the wave, what’s the point of ‘innovation’ and custom surfboards?

According to Bill Stewart, it’s all about having fun. There are different kinds of surfboard innovation—“innovative” in the sense of mass production, and “innovative” in the sense of customized greatness. Whether you need the Hydro Hull to improve your general performance, the Night Stalker to extend your surf & daylight hours, or the 4-Man to reignite your stoke on surfing, it’s all about fueling the enthusiasm and making you a better surfer, no matter who you are or where you’re at in your surfing journey.

In a world where the surfboard can be mistaken as a commodity, Stewart preserves the art of surfing through innovative brilliance and the craft of custom surfboards. Bill Stewart ties innovation and customization together to build surfboards that are guaranteed to improve your surf experience. These are the top 3 ways in which Stewart has taken surfing to the next level and shaped the industry, and we’re excited to see what’s next.