Thursday, July 17, 2014

Made in Berlin

Kai Dame lives in Berlin Germany and has just started building wooden boards in his very small apartment. We have been in contact on and off exchanging information and ideas. And these are the results.
"All plugs (leash, vent, fin) are made of german oak - it matches paulownia pretty well in color. I used titebond 3 for the most of the joints. The plugs are glued in place with gorilla glue. Finish will be lanolin."
This is “TeaPot” No. 1 II Dimension: 5’4” x 22” x 2.75” II Volume: 42l II Weight: 5.5 kg
This is “Pismo” No. 2 II Dimensions: 5’10 x 21.25” x 2.375” II Volume: 35l II Weight: 5.1 kg

Monday, July 14, 2014

"Back to the woods" in the Philippines

I get emails from all sorts of people from all corners of the world with questions and picutures of projects to share. And every so often I get some very inspirational stories like this one.

"Hi I'm Chris Gonzaga from the Philippines. I don't know how to start this but I would like to share photos of our current "back to the woods" hollow wood surfboard build we did at Punta, Lanuza Surigao Del Sur. The idea was to share the craft of building, shaping and glassing a surfboard using wood as an alternative material in building surfboards. armed only with hand tools and with no use of electricity the workshop lasted for 6 weeks."

"Here is the link to the photos
"Your blog has been inspiring us here in the Philippines"


Guys click on the link above for a wonderful show of amazing images that give you an insight into what must have been a great and rewarding experience in some very interesting suroundings.

I asked Chris to send me some words to tell his story of building wooden boards in such a remote part of the world and how it all came about. This is what he sent me....

"Hi Grant thanks for posting back to the woods on your blog.we really appreciate it.
Well we (me and my good friend Kipong Libres) started out as dreamers thinking that one day we are gonna build ourselves a surfboard that won't consume a lot of energy (in terms of fossil fuel and electricity) and that we would use certain materials that would be less toxic for us humans and the environment.So building a hollow wood surfboard was perfect for the idea, research and development began. With no one to ask about wood surfboards, its construction and the limitless possibilities of using wood as a material in building surfboards, we started out from scratch,we learned as we go and just did it. Until we figured out  methods that was comfortable for us to do. then finally we had built ourselves a hollow wood surfboard. but things did not  just happened overnight, my first hollow wood surfboard was achieved after a year. lots of thinking and re-thinking had to be done.

We surfed our boards enjoying the liveliness of wood in the water. when friends and other surfers started to get curious on our surf craft. a lot of questions and eyebrows were raised. it was their first time to see a hollow wood surfboard. they would ask questions about the weight, its performance, why wood?, why does it have a vent, etc. so, we just answered that there must be a good reason why the early polynesians used wood as surf crafts back then and it is completely a different experience. that must have opened their minds into the possibilities of wood as surfboards. then our friends would start tell us to build them one, and we told them that these type of surfboards dont just pop out the next day. that a wood board builder must undergo days of  building,shaping and glassing. sharing the process was the best way for us and for them to be able to experience a hollow wood surfboard.

The first group build we did was at Auqui(Ayoke) Island last year 2013, an island where residents rely on solar energy, catch and eat fresh fish, and lived a simple life. it was during a month long artist residency program organized by our friend. on the island we surfed,built our boards and taught the local kids basic drawing,painting, printing and even surfboard ding repairs. it was after that project we realized that since we are doing it already, why not do it every year! with the support from our friends "back to the woods" punta lanuza came into full realization. its like encouraging everyone to go back to basic. so, we invited friends to come along and build with us. prepared everything that has to done, and along the way we were able to find the perfect wood for this years build. gubas tree, locally known as 'bay-ang' a lightweight wood that is used by some local boatmen as dugout canoes and as hulls on their fishing 'punta' brgy. habag, Lanuza Surigao del sur we stayed on a house with no doors that is located between a small cove, not to mention that the house is right in front of a world class surf break. it is where we slept on our hammocks,cooked our meals on shavings and  wood scraps and sometimes help gather our own food(spear fishing),built the boards, surfed and lived simply. since we only had hand tools and with no use of electricity on our build. we stayed at Punta Lanuza for a month until the surf was flat. then we decided to move on to Tandag City which is an hour south from Lanuza Surigao del sur. for 2 weeks we continued to work and glass our boards, then have a good surf session everyday at Tanabog Beach.after weeks of labor and love the wood surfboards were finally done. then it was time to get them into the sea.

All good things must come to an end. but yet, it drives us to have another one.

What a very rewarding journey it was. a dream that came into reality. during the first session of my new board (6'7" bonzer) I realized that after all the days of hard work nothing really matters. for now, me, my wood surfboard and the ocean will explore the boundaries of fun........."

Chris Gonzaga

These are pictures of Chris in Auqui (Ayoke) Island riding my "sea ape" the first hollow wood surfboard he built. its  5'10", wide, fat and flat.
Auqui Island

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

VINTAGE SURF HAPPENING IN HONOLULU Saturday, July 26 ~ 9am-3pm at Hawaiian South Shore

Hawaii's vintage surf aficionado Randy Rarick will be turning back the clock on Saturday, July 26th, at Hawaiian South Shore on Ward Avenue, 9am to 3pm, with a VINTAGE SURF HAPPENING, presented by Vissla: a free gathering for those with a soul for surf !
Featuring collectors from around the Islands, the Vintage Surf Happening will offer a Buy-Sell-Trade of:

Wood boards from the '30s and '40s; balsa boards from the '50s,
and '60s tankers and guns.
Books, posters, decals, trophies, surf magazines, photographs and more.
Paipo boards, knee boards, hand boards and other early vintage surf craft.
**All items must be 25 years or older - ie. pre-90s.

Also check out:
The Vissla Short Board Experience
Featuring short boards from the psychedelic '60s; early '70s single fins; Lightning Bolts, Aipa Stings; '80s Twins; and first generation Thrusters.

Free Appraisals
Want to know what your surf stuff is worth?
Bring it down for a free appraisal by onsite collector specialists.
Sell it - Trade It - Take home something new!

Legends Special Autograph Session.
Food Trucks, Displays, Fun and Camaraderie!
Live music set by Tiki Taboo, vintage surf music at 12 noon. 

HAPPENING at Hawaiian South Shore: Mauka Parking Lot
320 Ward Avenue, across from Sports Authority
For More Information: or call (808) 587-9055.
Produced in conjunction with Hawaii Surfing Promotions.
For vendor registration and display requirements: or call (808) 638-7266
FREE for all to attend

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Eugenio's new board in Italy

"My name is Eugenio Celli, i'm an Italian guy that likes to make things with wood.
in the last months i've built a wood surfboard using advices from your wonderfull blog.
Now I hope that you will share this project in your blog.
If you like you can add my blog:
these are the photos of my project.Thanks for your time..
and have a good surf."

It is always good to get mail from people out there building boards in all parts of the world that are willing to share their experience and have a go.Thanks Eugenio.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

The birthday board

 Alan Hayes here on the Gold Coast has a mate building him a special board for an upcoming birthday.

It looks like it is getting close to the final detailing. Not sure ghow it will be finished. Hope to get more updates as it get closer.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Vinny's new boards

Vincent O Halloran in Ireland is a very keen wooden board builder. He has been experimenting with frameless monocoque boards with great success.
Here is his latest report from Ireland...
"The boards are working out well these days , a friend of mine is helping me test the monocoque boards and he is surfing them and likes them , me too. There is not much surf this weather but Im looking towards the autumn now  - As I was out of the water for most of last year between a back injury and ear problems you can imagine Im chomping on the bit and quite excited about surfing lots this autumn and winter . Just working on a 5' 2" along the lines of what ( I think??)  Dan Thompson is doing , seems to me what im making is a cross between a mini simmons and a speed dialer , I've got all the wood and the weathers nice and warm so the glue is drying well and the timber is nice and dry . The biggest problem working with wood here in Ireland is the wet climate - looks like I will have to make a proper workshop one of these days
I will keep you posted on how the boards are going . the boards in the picture are the last two I made , one of them is in Clare now and im going to surf the other myself - had it out one day and it surfed good.Well I hope things are going well for you and that the wooden surfboard day is a lot of fun
all the best

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Hollow wooden SUP by Paul Jensen

 Paul Jensen the original hollow wooden board guy , building what looks like a very light weight frame for a SUP
 He always has great attention to detail, and the carbon patch under your feet
Lots of machining time here

Check out more at :

Friday, June 27, 2014

2014 @ByronBaySurfFestival Surf Shorts Film Comp presented by @GoPro.

Entries are officially open for the 2014 @ByronBaySurfFestival Surf Shorts Film Comp presented by @GoPro. This year we’ve upped the ante on prizes, sponsorship and media coverage including a GoPro cash/prize package of $3000 and more. The clip time limit is TEN minutes and the theme ‘Citizens of the Sea’. Also is a new ‘democratic’ online voting format; the most voted wins! So, the earlier you enter, the more time you have to accumulate votes and to be featured with our worldwide media partners and all social network platforms. Everything weird & wonderful welcome.

Get shooting and enter

Otter Surfboards UK - nice project

The Wooden Hot Curl by Elliot Johnson

 I was sent a link to this amazing work of art and labour of love, that I needed to share with you.
500 little strips of Cedar, Paulownia and 2mm pieces of Jarrah

" With the design, I work out what I want when I'm finished & then break the board down into key parts (rocker, outline, girth, rails, concaves, deck, etc). I make a custom-wood template of the rocker, outline & girth. I'm not sure if this is a good way to go about building a board it but it works for me. "

" With this board I drew templates of what I thought a traditional hotcurl would look like & then I tried to improve on the design a little bit (I'm not sure if I did or not)...
e.g. I tried to keep the tail section of the board flat (1 - 2 ft in from the tail) before merging it into the tail/fin to try and give the board extra stability."

There are some very talented people out there and Elliot Johnson is one of them for sure. The skill , planning and exicution of a project like this is huge.Inspiring stuff.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Hollow Balsa Blanks ready to shape

If you have ever wanted to shape a Balsa board , here is a great start for you. 100% hollow Balsa blanks built in Bali. Grown in Java plantations.
The line show you where it is solid on the rails and hollow in the middle.So you can use this as a guide to work with.

 Looks like they have plenty on the go and can send them to you direct anywhere in the world.

They also do finished boards as well.
"And of course we still  deliver finish surfboards ready to ride."

We are planting your rides !!!
Vincent (Surfboards farmer)

Wooden Board building classes Brisbane - August 13 , 14 & 15

Due to popular demand; Bywater Design are very proud to introduce their Wooden Surfboard Classes intensive course.

In the space of three days you will be able to make, shape and complete your very own wooden surfboard.All ready to glass.

Dates for this class are  Ekka Week ;  August ; 13, 14 and 15.

* June Special; Enrol this month  to receive your complimentary new fins for the board you are making

What are you waiting for  ??
Positions are limited, so contact us now to reserve your position.
Surfs Up !
*conditions apply

0414 283818
182 Crockford Street, Northgate QLD 4013

Monday, June 23, 2014

Wooden SUPS

I recently built a wooden Hydo Simmons SUP for Haris Zambarloukos, BSC who grew up in Nicosia, Cyprus, an island outside of Greece. He is a well known cinematographer based in London , who loves his surfing and travels the world for his work and his board travels with him.It was a great experience to build this board for Haris.He loves wooden boards and has a couple of others already.
 This is Haris with his Otter 9’ SUP which is 9’ x 28'’ and 110 litres in Red Cedar and Mahogany pinlines.

 Having fun at Witches Rock in Costa Rica
 This is the 8ft x 28" SUP I built him in Portugal
 This is of the 8’6” Otter which has a hybrid Carbon deck, S glass bottom and wooden nose and tail block
 "This is the detail of my Vince Balsa wood 7’ Disko from Bali.