Archive for the 'Shaping and Board Design' Category

Mar 05 2009

Kelly Slater Gets Deep – Talks About His Deep Six Board

Kelly Slater talks about his Deep Six Shortboard, the 5’6″ Al Merrick that he won the Pipeline Masters this year on in 8-10 ft. Hawaiian Surf. Kelly’s been pushing new boundaries with board design and finding smaller and shorter boards to ride in bigger surf. The video of him at Pipe with this board is worth the watch.

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Mar 04 2009

Plantation Trailer – The Story of Making and Riding Alaias

Alaias are ancient wooden surfboards used by Polynesians and Hawaiians when they first started surfing. A few shaper including Thomas Campbell and Tom Wegener have started shaping the boards again and re-introduced them to the surfing community. In the second video clip Tom Wegener talks about how he grows the materials used to shape the board sustainably. It’s incredible to see surfers like Dave Rastovich and Dan Malloy ripping on these boards.

Tom’s Creation Plantation Trailer from Cyrus Sutton on Vimeo.

Worth watching a the video of a talk Tom Wegener gave at Patagonia in Cardiff on shaping and riding Alaias. Video clips of Dave Rastovich absolutely ripping on a 5’5″ alaia.

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Sep 06 2008

Return to Grace: Wooden and Environmentally Sustainable Surfboards

Nose Riding on a Grain Surfboard

I bought a magnificent quad fin fish last year. Surfs beautifully, sadly it won’t last. It’s a fiberglass board glassed with light fiberglass probably for high performance. Within a couple session, the deck had visible dents on it and I had to apply another layer of glass and resin to it. Fiberglass boards are the one-hit wonders of surfboards. They’re great for a few months, but die out after that, losing pop and gaining weight from dings. Within a year of consistent surf, if they’re not already broken most traditional fiberglass surfboards are done at a high environmental costs. Nothing can be recycled with fiberglass boards, they’re made with toxic chemicals, and production of the blanks, resin, and fiberglass requires petrochemicals and outputs a significant amount of CO2 into the atmosphere. Simply, the system is broken. It was born broken.

Fortunately, there are more sustainable options becoming available. Ecowarrior, Joe Santley, started the company ReSurf along with support from Lost surfboards to begin recycling surfboards (ask your local surfshop that they begin participating). The ReSurf website explains more about the project and list nearby locations. Greenlight Surfboard Supply makes Bamboo fins and other sustainable surfboard materials.

Country Feeling Surfboards is a company building surfboards out of these sustainable materials. “Country Feeling Surfboards celebrates the nature that surrounds us with surfboards made with environmentally friendly materials:  soy-based  and   sugar-based  foams; deck inlays made from hemp, organic cotton, bamboo and silk; and resin that is catalyzed by the sun.”

Quiver of locally crafted Grain Surfboards

What seems like the best option is the resurgence of wooden surfboards. The entire process is sustainable. They’re locally buily, often using local materials, the strong and long lasting. After years and years of use, when it comes time to retire them they’re completely recyclable. The wood can be reused or composted. They’re expensive but if you consider a fiberglass is likely to have a 1/4 the lifetime of a good wooden board and that many wooden boards may last a lifetime then they’re simply good investments.

Grain Surfboards are based in York, Maine and build beautifully crafted, hand shaped wooden boards. Hess Surfboards is based in Ocean Beach, San Francisco and also build hand shaped wooden boards. For the deck and bottom of the board, Hess uses sustainably farmed poplar and red cedar (salvaged from local Victorian homes). For the rails he uses cork and for the fins, bamboo. A small amount of expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam. Boards start around $1300. A look through their gallery will be enough to convince you. The Surfer’s Journal has written features on both of them. Timberline Surfboards offers wooden surfboards shaped out of Santa Barbara, CA.

Shaping Room of Hess Surfboards

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May 22 2008

The Cardboard Surfboard

Mike Sheldrake and the Cardboard Surfboard

With all the space-age technology going into surfboards these days (including the collapsible carbon fiber board), you wouldn’t expect the next step in shaping innovation to be cardboard. Mike Sheldrake, a surfer and computer programmer is San Diego, took a novel approach to building a better surfboard: he researched aerospace design and used 3-D computer modeling software to to design a snap-together deck built out of 400 pieces of computer cut corrugated cardboard. He then covered it with fiberglass and epoxy resin. Thanks to a mathematically sound triangular pattern, force is evenly dispersed throughout the board—making it incredibly strong. The design and construction avoid the use of expensive tools, making it cheap and easy to assemble. The result is a cheap, strong design made primarily from sustainable materials and one that’s remarkably beautiful. [Youtube videos below show assembly of the board after jump]

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