Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Peter Walker Exhibition

Peter Walker, a Sydney-born surfer, divides his time between Adelaide and working as Associate Professor at the Rhode Island School of Design in New York. Always fascinated by hand skills and fine craftsmanship, Walker’s awareness of the complexity of surfboard performance and design led him to start making his own wooden surfboards – embellished with the work of leading Australian contemporary artists.
Walker has researched and references notable surfboard designers from the past with his series of new hollow boards. Tom Blake, an American who lived in Hawaii in the 1920s, was an early proponent of the surfing lifestyle. He invented the ‘skeg’ or fin which helped to stabilise a board through the water. He also refers to Californian Bob Simmons who in the period immediately following WWII incorporated the new technologies of fibreglass, Styrofoam resin and plywood construction with his experience as an aircraft engineer to experiment with the dynamics of drag and turbulence. The beautiful boards are all meant to be used – yet they take on a presence of sculpture within the gallery space.

The exhibition is open from 28th May to 10th of July at the Gold Coast Arts Centre.

On Saturday 9th July 3 - 5PM Join Peter as he discusses the design and shaping process of his surfboards and collaborations with other artists.

RSVP P 07 5581 6567 / E

Thanks to everone

Well the jour­ney of the Earth­quake Surf­board has now had a happy end­ing. We wanted to thank every­one for the sup­port and well wishes over the past few weeks.

We were amazed at the unfold­ing events of the auc­tion. This resulted in hav­ing 9974 hits on Trademe with over 100 peo­ple watch­ing the auc­tion, which far exceeded all of our expec­ta­tions. The final bid was $2061.00 NZD, which will be mak­ing its way to the Red Cross.

The win­ner of the Earth­quake Surf­board and hand­made wall racks is a Cantabrian surfer. It is pretty fan­tas­tic to think the board will go to some­one who has per­sonal attach­ment to the City of Christchurch.

We are eter­nally grate­ful to those in the surf­ing com­mu­nity both in New Zealand and inter­na­tion­ally who embraced this cause. It was also hum­bling to get so many heart­felt mes­sages from those peo­ple who told us they were not from a surf­ing back­ground, their sen­ti­ments expressed to us greatly con­tributed to the sig­nif­i­cance of the Earth­quake Board.

Once again we wanted to thank everyone!!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Ledgends night at the Gold Coast Surf Museum this Saturday night

Surf World Gold Coast is hosting an evening on 28th May featuring Joe Larkin, Gordon Woods, Scott Dillon and Bill Wallace, four of the pioneering fathers of board manufacturing in Australia and the industry and lifestyle that followed in their footsteps. These four men between them trained some of the most highly regarded shapers and manufacturers involved in the industry today.

Listen to their stories about the introduction of the Malibu in 1956 and the transition from 16ft hollow ply boards, to ply Okanuii’s, to balsa and then to foam and their humorous stories about the disasters they had in creating the modern foam blank.

Hear how the ‘Gidget’ era changed surfing into a mainstream sport in the early 60s’ and how the short board revolution affected their businesses in the late 60s’.

All good surfers in their own right these four together, are part of the living history of our sport. With larrikins Joe and Scott and gentleman Gordon and Bill telling their stories it promises to be an entertaining night not to be missed and one that all those in the industry should attend.

This Saturday 28th May at 6pm - don't miss a great night

Early Balsa short boards

A great little piece from Mark Riley's newletter that I thought I would share.

" Congrats Bob Munro for sending me this great 1959 photo - he received a DVD on How to Build a Balsa Wood Malibu and sent me this email:

Hi Mark, thanks for your note, not much to add, the beach in the background was Cronulla, the boards accompanied us on safaris to Qld (gold coast) and a number of the beaches in the Noosa area. We travelled in a 58 Holden van and were the centre of attention when we stopped in a country town as most people had not seen these "short" boardies let alone made out of exotic material. We did further trips all the way to bells where we surfed for a few days with guys that were still on wooden boards, our boards were good performers and handled all round conditions. The boardies (Okanuis) were home made (by mum) and in retrospect we (like some did) should have gone commercial! Thanks for the offer of the dvd its appreciated.
Cheers Bob Munro Ps the other guy in the picture is Ian Walsh. "

Check out all the great blanks and boards from Riley Balsawood Surfboards Australia

Saturday, May 21, 2011

A great story to be shared

A great story from Scott Hayward to share with you...

" Hi Grant,

I've been reading the blog fairly religiously over the last year or so, and I'm happy to report that I finally have some good stuff to share with you!
I just finished my first HWB, a Driftwood Sr. frame kit that I purchased from It took a heck of a long time, but it's done and looking good.

The funny thing is that I'm an unlikely surfer - I live in Ottawa, Ontario (Canada) - 8 hours away from the nearest waves. Worse yet, they're east coast US waves, which means the ocean will be pretty much flat until September! Nonetheless, I'm pretty stoked to ride this board.

Because I don't get to surf very often, I took the time to blog the whole process and index it here:

So until this September, I'll be reading your blog and riding my landyachtz longboard as much as possible.

Keep up the great work with the site."


Scott has documented the whole process and shares his experience along the way. Also the costs incured and how he has solved problems that he faced. It is a very insightful piece to be shared and for that I thank him for his efforts.So if you are thinking of building a board , check this out and it may help to answer some questions you have.

Thanks Scott for sharing your story / journey. A nice outcome as well mate.Enjoy the ride.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Wooden board building class

Five Day - Build Your Own Board Workshop Monday, July 4 to Friday, July 8, 2011 Vista, California - USA

This classes will have up to ten participants build their own boards and at the end of the class the boards will be ready for glassing. Tuition is $800 USD per person, with materials extra, typically around $50 per foot of board length. A "How To Build A Hollow Surfboard” CD ($100 value) and a Frame Kit of your choice ($200 value) will be included in the cost of the class.

What’s NOT included: Food and lodging.

Booking deposits of $100 are required.

This will be the only workshop in the USA for 2011...

For more information and to register for this class go to this link :

Monday, May 16, 2011

Australian Old Mal Contest

The National Old Mal contest is on at Crescent Head Saturday 3rd and Sunday 4th September 2011. They have divisions for Alaia , Toothpicks , Okanui and old logs so there is a chance to get out there on your old wooden board and have some fun. There is also a show and shine of boards on Saturday as well. It is first in best dressed for an entry so you had better be quick.There are 9 divisions and limited spots.

For more info :
Or to check out other events on the calendar :

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Surfboard shapers and designers workshop

Richard Harvey here on the Gold Coast is a well known and long time hand shaper who has put together a series of classes to teach you how to design and shape a surfboard. Yes this may be a foam board you end up with . But it is a great way to learn design and shaping principles which will help you with your wooden boards . The design process is still the same and a whole lot less time to build a foam board to learn from than a wooden one. I know there are lots of guys keen to have a go at shaping their own boards and this is a great way to learn from someone who has been doing it for a long time. I highly recommend this course.

" The Surfboard Shapers Workshop ® has found a location in Melbourne to hold an Introduction & Orientation course. It will run for three hours on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon, at a date yet to be set, but will most likely be in August - September. The Introduction & Orientation covers Unit 1 of the Surfboard Shapers Workshop, plus a little more.
For those wanting to register their interest in the workshop please email for an information pack to with the subject heading "Melbourne Surfboard Shapers Workshop"

Outline of the course

3 hrs - Group Session
• The shaping bay layout with lighting, stands, racks and benches.
• Tools, what they do, how to use them and how to select yours.
• Building your own Shaping Stands
• Understanding the custom order form.
• Design elements.
• Understanding the fundamentals and character of boards and fins.
• Selecting the correct blank shape for your design.
• Creating templates
• Translating measurements
• Creating your own logo

A notes folder containing, tool lists, information on setting up a shaping bay, safety equipment, a set of diagrams for building your own shaping stands and a Surfboard Shapers Workshop DVD's (retail value $30) will be also be included.
Surfboard Shaping Stand kits and T-shirts will be available for order on the night.

For those interested this will then lead onto Unit 2 and 3 resulting in a surfboard that you have shaped for yourself from scratch. (see details below)

3 hrs - Individual Session
• Drawing & cutting your plan shape
• Using the planer - Safety ckeck list
• Rough shaping the bottom
• Rough shaping the deck
• Rough shaping the rails

4 Hours - Group Session
• Fine Shaping
• Rail shapes
• How to shape Channels and Concaves
• Tucked under edges
• Checking for bumps
• Gauze rails
• Stringer heights
• Marking fin positions
• Final dimensions check and ID
• Shape ready for glassing

" As I have had interest in the Surfboard Shapers Workshop from other areas, if you are from either Sydney, Adelaide or the Sunshine Coast and are keen in attending a course in your area then please email with the subject heading of your city, example: (Adelaide - Surfboard Shapers Workshop) and if there is enough interest for your city then I will investigate a suitable location and time."

To contact Richard :

0414 557 624

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Balsa Fish for the Earthquake appeal

For more details on the board , bidding for it get hold of Jay :

Ph/Fax: +64 (3) 389 5611

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Wooden Fish up for auction to raise funds for Christchurch Earthquake relief.

Just wanted to let you know the auction has now officially started for the Red Cross Earthquake Board.
The Trademe link is as follows:

The closing time for the auction is Monday 16 May, 8:22 pm (New Zealand Standard Time).

Fingers crossed, we hope there are some generous people out there that want to help our healing City and in return get themselves a one off collector’s item.Link
Once again, the story of the Earthquake board can be read here:

LinkFull photo gallery of the making can be seen here:

Friday, May 6, 2011

David Dewitt's latest projects

6' x 21"1/2 x 2" 3/4 Single fin

7ft 2" Fish

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Simmons built in Singapore to surf in Bali

Simmons under construction in a small apartment in Singapore

" This is Mike from Singapore. Yes, there are surfers in Singapore , an island with no waves but only 2 hrs flight from Indo & it's surf riches.
I be a follower of your "The Alley Fish Fry" blog & is smitten with all these alternative boards porn. I myself have quite a few fish type shape in my bunch. That's will be another mail altogether."

" Anyway,I thought I would share with you & the other devotees the stoke of my 1st hollow wooden mini-sim shaped and built by a buddy of mine Capt Tien aka Ali Bob as he was known in the FaceBook world.
Tien is a full fledge Singapore Airlines Pilot that where he get the Capt namesake from. True to his heart, he a tinker & all around Mr Craftsman, plus a pioneer figure in our minuscule Singapore surfing tribe.
So when he signed up late last year for the Grain's build your own workshop, I knew the end result from Maine will definitely sprout some wood seedling in our local water."

"So true to my believe, Tien has begun to start build his own hollow wooden boards after Maine. His 1st sole board on his own was a copy of his wifey's high performance fish shape which came out awesome looking in terms of built quality & shape but it didn't surf as well to his expectation due to some over-jess on the single to double concave bottom.... think bonzer on steroids!! Haha.."

"From the time he return from Maine, I have been implanting thoughts of a hollow wood Mini-Sim shape in his mind, knowing that he gravitate to the challenges of the shape's hull entry to single concave bottom & the scoop nose design. Tien bite the bait, took up the challenge last Nov & we started working on a Mini-Sim shape for me. I did most of the research/inputs from the internet, also asked my California shaper Yuta from the Shaka Stics label for his thoughts, advise & tips..."

"Got on Tien's Ass of the project management. Insist of having it at 5'2" & the scoop nose feature even though Tien thinking it will not work.
80% of the board structure form was build in Tien's spare bedroom apartment converted wood workshop. The balance rails, final finishing & epoxy glassing was done in Bali where he is based in when not flying."

" Board's dims is 5'2" x 21 3/4" x 2 5/8".
Deck strips are all in pine w/ 2 red cedar stringers.
Bottom are 2 stripe of pine, sandwiched w/ 2 red cedar stringers, finished w/ a local Indo wood similar to balsa. Rails are all Balsa. Hardwood tail block."

Twin keel fins in Birch plywood custom foiled by Yuta of Shaka Stic :

" Board is still in Bali now & I will be making a trip over end of May to fondle her rails & taking my 1st slide on her."

"Thanks for reading my long winded email. Hope you like how my board turned out & it will be great to be feature in your Alley Fish Fry blog."


Thanks Mike , it just shows where there is a will there is a way of building your dream board and it may be a little further to the beach than it is for most of us , but the wait will be worth it.We look forward to the surf report from Bali.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Wooden Fish to raise money for Christchurch Quake disaster relief.

First gluing up for preshaping. When shaped close to final thickness and rockers, the board will again be cut to enable each piece to be chambered.

Just to recap on past posts , Jay Jackman of Sadhana Surfboards in Christchurch were lucky enough to have survived the earthquake earlier this year. And so to help out have set about shaping a board to raise money for helping out.

Shaping complete ready for glassing.

" I’m excited to say the 6’3” Balsa Fish Earth quake Donation Board is now finished. I am really happy with the way it has turned out."

" Our business was only a matter of a few kilometres from the quake epicentre on February 22nd. Our factory is now being held up by temporary timber framing whilst other adjacent
buildings are now red stickered or have been demolished.

Just to recap, I have shaped a timber surf board, basing the design on our most popular local model. The timbers used for the main shape of the board are South American Balsa, renowned in the surfing community as a craftsman’s wood of choice. The centre stringers and fins are
timbers from a demol­ished factory that once stood right behind our own. The board is 6’3” in length, to represent the 6.3mag quake that changed a lot of lives. On the stringer near the tail, I have sprayed a design to represent the view when sitting in the waves looking west to the
mountains of our region. These are in the red and black of Canterbury."

Length: 6’3” Width: 21 7/8” Thickness: 2 7/8” " I have hand made some rimu wall racks to be included (like in photo), so the board can be displayed.

The board is now in the show room for the next week for those who are able to come and have a look. The auction on " Trademe " will begin on Monday 9th May 2011. All money from the
auction will be donated to the Red Cross Christchurch Earth quake Appeal."

Unfortunately there have been many rumbles since we first started our project and they just still keep on coming. This has only continued to remind me of the importance of making this board.

We can now thank fully venture back to our local beaches, just in time to put on our hoods and booties for the winter swell.

Even though it feels like Christchurch is slowly putting itself back together, I hear of many
people still struggling on a daily basis to get back to some sense of normality. I hope this board in some way goes to helping alleviate this.

I wanted to thank you all for following our journey in making the Earth quake Board. Your
support and encouraging comments have been really appreciated. Fingers crossed we get some generous bids.

We also continue to think of all those people facing uncertainty in Japan. Our thoughts are still with you."

To find out more on the board or to make a bit please email Jay :
Jay Jackman