Monday, May 25, 2015

Very sad but "No Byron Bay Surf Festival this year"

"Organisers of the Byron Bay Surf Festival (BBSF) say this year’s fifth annual event will not go ahead, blaming lack of major sponsorship as well as council and government red tape for the decision.
Festival director Mike Jahn and co-founders Vanessa Thompson and James McMillan said in a media statement that after four years of successful events and winning the recent Surf Culture Award from Surfing Australia, ‘the decision was neither taken lightly nor easy to come by’.
The festival had become a regular part of Byron Shire’s community event calendar, and was widely known for its fun, creativity and innovative flair.
‘It both reflected and inspired the unique Byron Bay surfing community and its vast global reaches. BBSF always intended to be a free community festival to encourage, support and inspire handcraft, the arts, sustainability, beauty and goodness amongst fellow ocean-minded people. To this end, it has proved itself year in year out,’ organisers said.
But they added that ‘regulatory hurdles’ imposed by Byron Shire Council and the NSW Government, alongside the lack of major sponsor support for the 2015 event were impossible to overcome, ‘rendering the festival logistically and financially unviable this year.’
Despite being ‘stifled’, BBSF organisers have not given up just yet but are focusing on keeping their unique surf culture festival alive.
Festival director Mike Jahn said, ‘Arts and culture needs to be supported and encouraged rather than suppressed, as [this is what] leads to a stimulated and colourful society, which in turn creates participant citizens.
‘We encourage the community to come forward with any major funding contacts and investors who may see the benefit of sustaining this event for many years to come,’ Mr. Jahn added.
The BBSF has thanked everyone who supported it over the last few years.
‘Previous festivals were a great achievement and even though BBSF will not be celebrated this year, the trust to regain momentum and continue in 2016 is unbroken,’ organiser said."

Investors or anyone wishing to support BBSF can contact the festival at

Keep an eye out for 2016 festival dates on

It is a shame that this has had to happen as the team behind this event have put so much effort into making it what it is. I have been to them all and it has just about doubled in size each year, which just goes to show that it is greatly supported buy the local community and surfing community at large. It is a shame that the local Council don't reflect the feelings of the local community and why they all live where they do. Surely it is the surf, the beaches and the natural beauty that drew them all to Byron. This is a festival that reflected all those things and there was a feeling that the local community now owned the event , but sadly not the council.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

An update from Paul at Arbo Surfboards in the UK


March and April have been great surf wise. nearly constantly some sort of swell here in Cornwall, offshore or little wind most of the time with warming sunshine... and the booties and gloves are stowed away until next winter. #coldwatersurf may be the momentary 'soulsurfer' marketing phrase but i don't really miss the cold winter sessions with grey rainy drizzle that much to be honest... yeah to sun and mild weather! we are #allwatersurfers!!
in between swells I've been busy all over the place taking my mobile workshop to London, Bristol, Cologne and Hamburg. some of the results below...
Thank you underfall yard in Bristol, Mark Edwards in London, Jackinthebox in Cologne and Andrea Moog in Hamburg for letting me be their guest for those weekends.
The workshop in Hamburg in April had the first solidarity-board, built by Tim who cycled from Berlin to take part. All proceeds from that board will go to the Ngo Phnx and will be used for medical training in Rojava in Northern Syria. Maybe that democracy movement over there turns in to a positive model for the region.
My offcuts pile was getting a bit high again and the leftover stuff from all those surfboards had to be turned into something. Get in touch if you want any of those toys! I will have handplanes, handplane shaping kits and little skate decks with me on all my future workshops as well...
The next build-your-own weekend workshops will be:

5-7 June in Berlin / Germany at FIT Freie Internationale Tankstelle

12-14 june in Frankfurt a.m. / Germany at Blaues Haus,

24-26 July or the 31 July-2 August London / UK

In between I do a few individually arranged sessions here at my workshop in Cornwall
maybe in your backyard as well?
Contact me soon if you are interested to take part and want more information.
I'm too busy to do any custom orders until July but could build a few boards in July / August / September.

All the best from sunny Cornwall, UK


Timber and working with wood show in Brisbane

This years Brisbane Timber and Working with Wood Show is on this coming weekend 15/16/17 May from 10-4 each day

This is a great place to see skilled craftsmen demonstrate a great aray of tools and techniques that you may not be aware of , that may be of great benefit to building your own wooden boards.

Stuart Bywater from Brisbane will be on hand.
"I will be demonstrating  shaping some hollow wooden blanks , explaining how I make them selling paulownia and talking woodworking techniques and tools
I will also have a stack of my boards on display with me
In association with Carbatec ( home of woodworking ) woodworking tools
we have also released a short video ."

Stuart Bywater   0414283818

Friday, May 8, 2015

International Surfing Day 2015

Surfrider Foundation would like to invite you to participate at International Surfing Day which is a family friendly, sustainable, community, surfing lifestyle fundraising event on 
Saturday 20th of June
 2015, 12pm – 16:30 at Dune Café, Palm Beach Parklands.

Activities on the day we will be:
Roots of Surfing Wooden Surfboard Teams Challenge
Dune Care planting, weeding, watering
Beach Clean Up
Sand Wars - the movie

12:00 – 13:30 Roots of Surfing Wooden Surfboard Teams Challenge
Hi Boardriders, would you and three mates like to ride wooden Alaia's at Surfrider Foundation International Surfing Day "Roots of Surfing Wooden Surfboard Teams Challenge" which is a family friendly, sustainable, community, surfing lifestyle fundraising event on Saturday 20th of June 2015, 12pm at Dune Café, Palm Beach Parklands.

6 Teams only but plenty of spots for Expression Session.

Surfers will be asked to surf 2 waves in groups of 6 in a tag team format. All surfers will ride a wooden surfboard (Alaia) which will be provided, along with all other necessary equipment. The judging format is under standard surfing competition criteria, but the emphasis will be very much on having fun & enjoying yourselves while helping promote sustainable surfing.

After the Teams Challenge - wooden surfboard event, we will be holding an expression session made up of experienced wooden surfboard enthusiasts who will show their prowess riding original style surfboards like Alaia's, Paipo's & Itako's. These ancient wooden crafts date back to the Roots of Surfing which are thousands of years old.

So if you're an enthusiast, sustainable surfing advocate or complete novice who'd like to watch professionals or even try out one of these original surf crafts bring your family down to the beach for a fun day.


·         $1000 off any full charter booking made with Soul Safaris Surf Travel in 2015/16

·         Burleigh Brewing Co. voucher for 4 people entry to a “Tanks, Tales and Tastings Session”

·         Patagonia $100 vouchers

·         Surf Organic wax

13:30 – 14:00 BBQ & Preso

14:00 – 15:00 Dune Care planting, weeding, watering will take place just along the path from the Dune Café. All plants and equipment will be supplied, just bring a hat, water bottle & wear shoes.

Beach Clean Up, at the same time as dune care we will be keeping an eye out and cleaning up any waste that is found. This rubbish will be audited and records kept adding to our data collection program in partnership with Tangaroa Blue.

15:00 – 16:30 Sand Wars – the movie is an epic eco-thriller that predicts by the end of the 21st century, beaches will be a thing of the past. That is the alarming forecast of a growing number of scientists and environmental NGOs. Sand has become a vital commodity for our modern economies: we use it in our toothpaste, detergents, and cosmetics, and computers and mobile phones couldn’t exist without it. Our houses, skyscrapers, bridges and airports are all basically made with sand: it has become the most widely consumed natural resource on the planet after fresh water. The worldwide construction boom fuelled by emerging economies and increasing urbanization has led to intensive sand extraction on land and in the oceans, with damaging environmental impacts. Sand Wars takes us around the world as it tracks the contractors, sand smugglers and unscrupulous property developers involved in the new gold rush, and meet the environmentalists and local populations struggling to reverse the threat to the future of this resource that we all take for granted.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

James and the Agave board

" This is my latest board. Its been a long time coming. I harvested the Agave over 18 months ago, but a new job and a new baby have left me with very little board building time!

Anyway its still awaiting a few little tweaks (including a leggy), but its a blast to ride. So fast and fun. The twinzer set up works so well on boards like this (and some of yours I'd imagine).

I'm struggling to come up with a name for the board... Any suggestions, please shot em through."

Monday, May 4, 2015

The family project

 Mac sent me these pics to share of his project that started out as an attempt to keep his son Manoa off his phone on the couch over the school holidays.
" I had never made a board before and typically don't ride mal's but thought we would go back and do the timber board thing. Worked out ok for a first effort thanks largely to the creative surfing fraternity on YouTube. Might expand our existing quiver in different directions now as a result of enjoying this process. "
A great experience for you and the boys to built your own board. Not something that many people do. Looking forward to future projects and thanks for sharing this one.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Shadow boxing

Charles Loiselle form Hawaii was asked a while ago to make a retirement shadowbox, a traditional Navy gift that is usually kind of like a picture frame-box which one can display all their goodies from their service.

"I don't really do shadowboxes, but let me see what I can think up".

So...this is a wooden surfboard, made basically the same way I'd make the real thing, but with a box built into it and a nice hinged frame around the box part. Redwood and fir, with mahogany frame around the box part.

A nice idea for a special person.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Kiwi Hydro Simmons

 Good mate Justin Tilly in New Zealand made this board for his uncle Roddy Carter who I grew up with and went through school with. Justin is a skilled carpenter and cabinet maker turned farmer. I designed the board and sent him the files to get it cut in NZ. It took a while to happen but the outcome is great. Japanese Cedar he milled from a tree on the farm and Paulownia rails over EPS.

 Roddy was presented with the board at this years Cove Fish Fry at Waipu Cove where Roddy and I surfed when we were kids at school. Great story and nice to be a part of it.
The Japanes Cedar is a nice wood and seems pretty light weight

Catch some waves on International Surfing Day! 21 June 2015

International Surfing Day takes place on 21 June 2015 – time to grab your boards and start riding those waves!
This annual, global event is held around the world to mark the beginning of the summer and let everyone know surf’s up!
This special day has been a great way for people young and old to go to free events and learn more about surfing, whether you’re trying it for the first time or you're an old pro!
Organising the events are the EuroSIMA (European Boardsports Industry Manufacturers Association), Surfrider Foundation and SAS (Surfers Against Sewage).
Working worldwide the groups will hold events to help everyone discover surfing and find out the difference it can make to you and your community as both a sport and a culture.
Throughout the day there will be a whole host of events held in hundred of counties.   From surf lessons to beach clean-ups and surf contests, there’s plenty to keep everyone happy, with beach BBQs as a reward for all the hard work!
Look out for something in your area or just go for a surf and enjoy the day.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Wooden board building class in the Philippines May 1 to June 14

For more details contact : ;
actually the workshop will be held at Auqui Island we just dubbed it as  "skull island" because of a certain rock formation on the island. Click on the poster to enlarge

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Beautiful 1958 Bill Walace Balsa to be at this years Wooden Board Day

 Ronny Silcock has restored this beauty and will be bringing this piece of history along to share with us on Sunday 2nd August to Currumbin. Thanks Ronny.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Martin's new simmons

Martin Turkis just sentthese pics of his new board. " It's 4'0" X 23" X 3". Mostly flat/slightest of hull entries, with single concave running back from the front foot and a bit of vee in the tail. My own shop-made fin boxes which allow a bit of fore/aft fin adjustment. XPS core, poplar ply skins, redwood rails, finished with spar varnish.

I've ridden it twice now, both front and backside, and it's a lot of fun."

A great looking board that would be a ton of fun to ride. Nice job Marty and thanks for sharing.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

A new look at getting those rail bands on

Sergi from Flama Surfboards in Spain just sent these pics to share of a new way that he has come up with to get his rail bands on.The board is cradled on edge and this enables you to access the whole length of the rail at a good working height. Get them glued and set up and then strap them down.

" I also made it double, like for working with two boards at a time. It holds firmly the board sideways and there are hooks aplenty to tighten the straps, which is specially useful for the more curvy areas in nose and tail."
 Looks like a great way of doing the job. I use good quality masking tape myself.

Sergi has just sent an update to share -  " I'm adding an image of the plan I made to build the TASAWUWAGI-Rack (Take A Siesta And Wake Up With A Great Idea). haha!
It might be useful for those who want to try."

Monday, April 20, 2015

This years Wooden Surfboard Day will be Sunday 2nd August

Sunday the 2nd of August is set down as the date for this years Wooden Surfboard Day to be held in the park at Currumbin as in the past years. We look forward to meeting other budding wooden board builders and the projects that they have been working on through the year. Each year peoples experience grows and the level of skills and finish of boards is a testament to the long hours and effort being put in. So if you are working on a project at the moment or thinking of starting one, now you have a reason to get started or stuck in to finishing it for August. Please feel free to send pics and details of any boards you are building to share with others to wet their appetite. As you now know it is a gathering of like minded people who enjoy being challenged by spending countless hours in the shed building wooden boards. A great time to meet others with the same passion and to see what they have been up to. If you don't build boards but want to find out more you could not be in a better place to ask all the questions you want. There are many ways to build a wooden board and they will be on display on the day. So bring your boards and go for a surf. The Alley in winter is often at it's best for a slide across the banks on a wooden board. And there is nothing better that being on one you built yourself.
Looking forward to catching up with old faces and welcoming new ones. For any more info contact me  :

Thursday, April 16, 2015


Sam Bolitho for ABC News: Surfers in Papua New Guinea are going back to basics and learning the traditional Hawaiian techniques of timber surfboard building.

The boards produced at workshops in Madang province earlier this month were made from locally-sourced balsa trees, and carved out using a combination of hand tools, axes and machetes.

"It's a bit of work, a lot of man power and a lot of sweat," PNG Surfing Association president Andrew Abel told Pacific Beat. "You can imagine they don't have the benefit of hand-powered tools and planers and things like that which would make it a lot easier.

"A lot of the village people were actually using their traditional axes and bush knives to carve these balsa wood planks."

The training was offered by renowned Australian surfboard shapers Tom Wegener and Bryan Bates. Members of the Tupira Surf Club were taught how to build boards in the Alaia style, which were ridden in pre-20th century Hawaii. The thin boards feature round noses, square tails and often do not have fins.

"They're very difficult to ride but a lot of the lightweight kids had no trouble whatsoever in hopping onboard and ripping those waves up in Tipura," Mr Abel said.

Mr Abel, who founded the PNG Surfing Association 28 years ago, said the workshop was a reminder that surfing in PNG dates back hundreds of years. He visited many communities where village elders shared oral history of how young children had boards crudely carved out of 'splinters' from broken canoes and felled trees.

"So what we've essentially done is taken those ancient belly boarding skills and enhanced them with the modern surfboards of today," Mr Abel said.

 "Our Pacific Island brothers to the eastern part of the Pacific Ocean [in Hawaii], have also been doing the same thing. But unfortunately over the course of the last hundred years that culture has been lost."

Mr Abel said he hoped the surfboard shaping training would be the catalyst for a new era in PNG surfing. "It enables them [local surfers] to capitalise on the balsa wood timber that's in abundance in the jungles of Papua New Guinea ... that they can use to surf but also sell to tourists and raise money for their respective families."

This article is from Pacific Longboarder Magazine

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Board building in Berlin

I first met Jan Dressler when he came and saw me 3 years ago while on a family holiday in Australia and decided to change the way he builds his boards. He organised a shipment of Paulownia to be sent to Berlin and has been crafting SUP's and boards in his 4th floor apartment in the city of Berlin.Getting the SUP's down 4 floors proved a bit of a deal so he has rented a ground floor studio as his workshop. Here is his latest board on the go. A hand shaped EPS blank with the first rail bands going on. I look forward to catching up when he is here again in couple of months with some mates for a surfing hloiday in Byron.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Grain boys are on the raod again.

Right Coasters: The Time is Nigh (or Neigh, or something...)

Farmers have a knack for predicting weather and this year they really got it right. We haven’t seen a day over 15 degrees in weeks and the snow's piled up against the windows.  You could say we're a little more than ready to head south for the kick off of our East Coast Road Trip.

You also might say we’re being further influenced by our farmer friends as we've been setting up our east coast rig using a great old Ford step-side coupled with a double-axle horse trailer. It's rugged, good looking and multi-purposed for when we’re back here on the farm.  For now though, we're gonna stuff that trailer with sweet wood board-building gear and a couple of sleeping bags and see how fast we can get below the Mason-Dixon.

The pieces are falling into place - boards are being prepped, rocker tables assembled and tools inventoried, and our first class at Chesapeake Light Craft is just four weeks away. If you live along the Atlantic seaboard and you’re thinking about signing up for a class, now is the time.  Check the Road Trip schedule on our website and see if you can carve out a few days for an experience no one ever forgets.

Since we haven’t been down the east coast in a while, we’re making the most of it with demos and handplane classes along the way. Be sure to follow us on Instagram and Facebook for more info on these things as they fall into place. We’re also opening up a few slots in some choice class locations for students to join us for a one-day paipo workshop. The first one will be Saturday March 21st at Chesapeake Light Craft in Annapolis Maryland. Workshop attendees can join us for a casual day of shaping and sanding and go home with their own paipo. We’ll supply the materials, tools and space, all for the low price of $375 per person.

We’re honored to partner with our friends at Vissla, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery and Jamestown Distributors. Without their help, this trip just wouldn't be possible. To celebrate their participation, each student signed up for a 4-day class will  get a great little tote bag with some pretty cool stuff from each of them, all things that will help you build a better board.

Left Coasters: Hang On, We're Coming Back
West coast friends: we’re not forgetting about you in all this. We’re heading back out west for The Boardroom Show in May, then for a series of classes from Cardiff to San Francisco and maybe even on to Port Townsend Washington. So keep an eye on our site and watch out for us on the road.

Hope to see you in 2015!


Southern Queensland's aptly named master-craftsman Stuart Bywater: “Well, we’re moving into the year fast it seems and our first class for the year is almost full, with two positions left in our class starting on the third of March.

“Our May class (23rd and 24 th) is filling too, so if you are interested in making a hollow wooden surfboard we’d need to book you in soon.”

“If you’d like to come and have a look at what we do you can catch me at the SaltFest Goldcoast – which is on this year for the first time and coincides with The Quiksliver Pro – to be held on the first of March at the Kirra Hill Community and Cultural Centre perched on top of a grassy hill overlooking the spectacular Pacific Ocean.

Saltfest is an event fusing surf products, surf lifestyle and surf culture together all in the one amazing location.”

Check out the classes and boards on the Bywater website:

Or for a quick look at the boards Stuart makes check out his Instagram

Stuart is also our go to guy for all thing Paulownia. He is a mastercraftman in furniture design and understands all you will ever need to know about building wooden boards.  

 Surfboard classes link

 Paulownia sales

 wooden boards pricing

 wooden surfboards & furniture  blog