In vehicles, we’re familiar with certain values from Mercedes-Benz: comfort, performance, technology, safety and innovation, all that. While impressive, there is another element that we forget because we’re grown used to having excellent cars around us year-after-year. We’re referring to the wonder of what an automobile actually is: a gasoline-combusting machine that would have seemed straight out of science-fiction when it was first invented except that science fiction itself had barely been invented.
We want to get back to that original wonder, that marvel movement and speed that now gets buried underneath all the satnav and hand-stitched leather and refined drivetrains. To help us appreciate the marvel that driving can be, Mercedes-Benz collaborated on a vessel that captures motion and nature in a way that many of our vehicles try their hardest to emulate: a surfboard.
Garrett McNamara is a world-class Hawaiian surfer who holds the record for largest wave ever surfed—it happened at Nazaré, Portugal—survived the 2012 Jaws surf break in Hawaii’s Pāʻia, and has surfed actual tidal waves—tidal waves—from shattering glaciers in the arctic circle. Mercedes-Benz invited McNamara to the design center in Sindelfinge to glean what lessons they could from one of the world’s foremost authorities in ocean surfing.
To survive the monstrous hellions that he eludes in his profession, McNamara needed a board that was faster than any ever built. From Garrett, Mercedes-Benz’s engineers learned the principles of surfing: where the maximum dynamic point lies, where the board needs to be thin, where it needs to be rigid and where it needs to have some give. The engineers were then able to use their knowledge of materials and digital design to produce what heretofore had only existed in Garret’s mind.
Want to see how it turned out? Check out the video. You might find yourself wishing for summer a little more by the time you’re finished.