The start of a new year is an opportunity to try something new… I say, grab some wood, get in the backyard and make a surfboard.
It probably sounds like a lot of work, but it’s a lot easier than most people think. An easy place to start is to shape a hand plane, paipo or alaia. They’re all three easy to make and they’re really fun to ride. I was first inspired to shape an alaia after watching Tom Wegener build one in the film Sprout.
We’ve all seen how fun cabinet doors look to surf when Rob Machado or Dave Rastavich is on one, but the truth is, they’re hard to paddle and my fat ass is only inspired to ride them in ideal conditions. After building several alaias, I stumbled across a Grain Surfboards board building class and later ordered a kit to make my own hollow twin fin at home.
Grain provided resin with the kit, but I took my board to my friend, Pat Quealy at Aquatic Oddities, who has mastered the art of glassing with bio-based resins.
In the end, the board turned out beautifully.
I’ve found that alaias are easier to shape and hollow boards are easier to ride, but I’m still addicted to riding finless boards. I recently came across some paulownia plywood and now I’m shaping alaia-inspired hollow boards that are easier to paddle and just as fun to ride.
I call this hollow, alaia-inspired board, “The Bender” because it’s 100% paulownia wood and has a lot of flex. I like that I can make one in a single weekend and you can read more about this building process and my other buids at alaiaDIY.com and @alaia_DIY on Instagram.
There are infinite ways to make a surfboard. If you aren’t inspired by any of my weird projects, get online and seek out something that suits you. A new year is upon us and it’s time to resolve to grab some wood, get in the backyard and get weird! Yeeew!