"Last October after the Sacred Craft Surfboard Expo, surfboard shaper Tom Wegener gave an evening presentation at Patagonia's Cardiff Surf Shop in California . Tom spoke about shaping surfboards from Paulownia wood, specifically classic single fin longboards, hollow surfboards and the traditional Hawaiian alaia design which Tom and his friends help reintroduce to the surfing world."
Special thanks to Devon Howard for organizing this unique event and show casing the skills and foresight of this talented craftsman.
This is what Devon said about Tom -
"We often hear surfers professing how we've pretty much seen and done it all when it comes to board design. But don't tell that to my friend, ex-pat surfer/shaper Tom Wegener. Over the past four years he's been putting nearly all of his efforts on a now-much-talked about design with roots that span back a thousand years – the alaia.
According to Wegener, this historical Hawaiian surfcraft – which appears to be little more than a flat piece of wood in the shape of an ironing board – may not only be the most enviro friendly surfboard available today, it might be part of one of surfing's next big leaps in modern board design.
Settling down in Noosa Heads, Australia during the late '90s, Tom started a family and his board-building business, Tom Wegener Surfboards. Around that same time, Paul Joske introduced him to a sustainable board building material called Paulownia wood. With a much greater strength-to-weight ratio than balsa, an easy-to-work-with nature, and an imperviousness to saltwater, Tom used this unique wood and his innovative longboard designs to help revolutionize the genre of hollow wood surfboards. His craft and country-living lifestyle were eventually well documented in Thomas Campbell's film Sprout.
In the summer of 2004, Tom discovered a long forgotten ancient Hawaiian surf craft called an alaia. Since that time he’s been tirelessly pouring all his efforts into the development and refinement of this design, finding success in large part from the crucial feedback of pro surfers like Dan Malloy, David “Rasta” Rastovich, Chris Del Moro, Harrison Roach and Jacob Stuth.
Tom's alaia boards immediately caught the eye of renown filmmaker Thomas Campbell, who has since been fervently documenting Tom's alaia board movement in his new surf movie The Present. Campbell has shared with me that he has mind-blowing clips of Wegener’s test pilots taking the alaia waveriding experience to places never imagined. In fact, it may change the way we view what’s possible on a surfboard, namely tuberiding. "
The Present will be touring Australia this month. See www.trimyourlifeaway.com for Tour dates
The following video is a four-part series made from his visit to the Cardiff Patagonia Surf Shop to share with their customers his passion for Paulownia wood surfboards and alaias. If you are inspired by what you see, be sure to come to the Wooden Surfboard Day here on the Gold Coast and check out the movie The Present