Thursday, August 25, 2011

Progress on Franks Fish

"As usual the Wooden Board Day was very enjoyable and interesting and I’m glad I took the time off work to be there.
Here are some progress pics of my latest fish board. One shows the foam blocks where the fin boxes will be inserted. The others are of the board ready to have the rails laminated. I’m steam-bending the thicker rail laminations as they don’t quite bend around at the nose. The nose and tail will have blocks attached to finish off."

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Australian Alaia titles a first

Chairman of the board … Cronulla rider Matty Cook will battle the waves in the inaugural Alaia and Longboard divisions at Port Macquarie this week. Photo: Steven Siewert

The ancient Hawaiians were onto it and now Australian surfers are rediscovering the art of Alaia surfing.

Long, thin, finless and made from wood, Alaia surfboards are neither practical nor easy to master. But when international pro Jacob Struth hit the water at Noosa with an Alaia board five years ago, a retro revival began.

Fringe and retro styles and surfboards like the Alaia have experienced such a surge in popularity in Australia that Surfing NSW's peak event, the Australian Surf Festival, will hold its first Australian Alaia Titles starting today.

''They're really quick, they're very fast on the water and they just glide. Once you get your feet on one, there's no better,'' says Tom Wegener, a Noosa surfer who shapes alaia boards using Paulownia wood grown around Kempsey and Coffs Harbour. ''If you had a really souped-up hovercraft and a car, the Alaia would be the hovercraft and your regular board the car.''

Matty Cook, a Cronulla rider and shaper of Alaia boards, is one of 10 competitors in the inaugural Alaia and Longboard divisions held in Port Macquarie this week. He says the alaia revival is a subtle backlash to the hard core, commercial surfing of the '80s and '90s.

''Everyone was all about perfection and competition and trying to drive surfing into the next level of aerials and seeing who could do the most radical manoeuvres,'' he said. ''For me, it's more about having fun and that feeling you get rather than trying to be the next Kelly Slater.''

But even world-class surfers have been seduced by finless boards, hailing them a revolution in surfboard design and a near-spiritual surfing experience. Pro surfers Tom Curren, Dave Rastovich and Thomas Campbell are all Alaia enthusiasts, attracted by their environmental credentials as much as their primeval qualities.

''The really good surfers want to see how good they are compared to the ancients,'' Mr Wegener said. ''And it's just like learning how to surf all over again. It's an incredible feeling.''

Surfing is having a retrospective moment as the sport reaches its fifth generation in Australia, said Mark Windon, chief executive of Surfing NSW. Surfers are starting to collect memorabilia, blow the dust off surfing music and take to the water on old-style boards. To some, modern surfing with the standard ''thruster'' shortboard has become stale.

''I suppose the sport had to get to 50 or 60 years old before people started looking back,'' Mr Windon said.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

" Surf Re-Evolution " at Grain in Maine

Special Guests & Schedule of Events Announced for Grain Surfboard's "Surf Re-Evolution" September 10, 2011

Grain Surfboard's is proud to announce the list of confirmed special guests and schedule of events for one of the most unique surf festivals the East Coast has seen to date.

Along with Korduroy.TV, Grain has invited some of the most forward-thinkers they could find to join them at Long Sands Beach in York, Maine to see and try out re-evolutionary surfboards, after which the festivities decamp to the farm where Grain's shop is located to share art, films, live music and ideas.

Confirmed Special Guests:
Entropy Resins
Pine Knot Surfboards
Spirare Surfboards
Misfit Pictures
Enjoy Handplanes

Meyerhoffer Designs
Cyrus Sutton - Korduroy.TV
Wegener Surfboards
Merchant’s Row Hand Planes
Endless Wave - Wax Buddy

Zero Waste Event:
This is Grain's first zero-waste event – with the help of Ecomovement Consulting, Grain is shooting for nothing left over. That means everything recycled or composted- from start to finish.

Schedule of Events
10:00am to 2:00pm: Long Sands Beach Board Demos & General Merriment
4pm: Open Shop Tours, Surf Art Exhibition, Food and Beer
4:30pm: Glassing demo by Entropy Resins
5:30pm: 16mm film premiere by Cyrus Sutton Under The Sun in the barn
6:30pm: Panel Discussion with special guest shapers & builders
7:30pm: Live music by Speed of Sand
8:00pm: Second film premiere, Manufacturing Stoke by Pierce Kavanagh
9:30pm: Second set by Speed of Sand and Bonfire Merriment

Tickets: Online $12, day of $15

Grain Surfboards is committed to promoting the benefits of building and surfing wooden surfboards and believes that wooden surfboards can have more impact on the surfing experience and less impact on the environment. All of the wood products used in Grain surfboards and kits are sourced from local mills and forestlands in Maine that practice sustainable harvesting. All wood waste from the production of Grain's boards and kits is actively reduced and creatively recycled. Grain ships surfboards and complete surfboard kits worldwide and hosts week-long classes in which anyone can learn to handcraft their own wood surfboard. Grain is co-owned and managed by Mike LaVecchia and Brad Anderson.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Solid Paulownia tow board

I found Roger Halls solid Paulownia board a very impressive mix of shape style and engineering. An intimidating piece of gear to say the least. I mean if you were strapping this on for your next wave you were in for a hell of a ride. Just like looking at a big wave gun by Dick Brewer for me. Long , lean , fast and mean , built for the keen.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Surf's up in the city

If you live in Brisbane or missed Peter Walkers great exhibition on the Gold Coast here is a great opportunity to check his boards out.

Artisan’s latest exhibition, One True Religion: Peter Walker Surfboards, explores the evolution of surfboard design through Walker’s painstakingly handcrafted boards of all shapes and sizes.

Walker’s interest in surfing started as a teenager growing up in Sydney, but took a back seat when he moved to Tasmania to study furniture design. Now an accomplished designer and craftsman, Walker divides his time between Australia and working at the Rhode Island School of Design in the United States. It was in America that Walker met legendary board maker Dale Belze, and his passion for surfboard design was ignited.

One True Religion: Peter Walker Surfboards draws on innovations from the 1920s and ‘30s. “Forms have changed, the way people surf has changed, technology’s changed,” he says. “These boards are a bit of a hybrid mix but they’re definitely rooted in the old school.”

Surface decorations applied by Walker and leading contemporary artists, including Gerry Wedd lift these objects used primarily for sport and recreation into the realm of art. Notably however, the boards are functional and Walker loves to hit the waves on them.

“It’s completely different to surfing on a foam board,” he says. “They’ve got more weight, so they feel different in the water, and under your foot, and they behave differently. They’ve definitely got more glide and momentum.”

“I guess I’m trying to contribute to the evolution of surfboard design and culture,” Walker says. “But mainly I’m having fun.”

One True Religion is a fun and engaging exhibition for all ages, merging surf culture and handcrafted design in a unique display not to be missed.

One True Religion: Peter Walker Surfboards
25 August – 24 September 2011
Gallery Artisan
381 Brunswick Street Fortitude Valley Q 4006 | | 07 3215 0800

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Tiki and his first wooden board.

Keith Nevelee or "Tiki" as everyone knows him as brought along a great looking chambered Paulownia board that has become his regular ride.He has since sent a selection of shots of the build process to share.

Here is the board at home leaning against a Paulownia tree.

Paulownia and resin tint fin for flex

Old school Skill planner being put to good use

Vinny's Irish woody quiver

How is this for a one man effort. Vincent O Halloran from Ireland sent me this last week...
" Hey Grant
My name is Vinny and I'm writing from Ireland.I was mailing to wish ye well with the wooden surfboard day .I would have loved to have made it but its right in the middle of the honey harvest ( I have some bee hives ) here .I find your blog very inspiring as I've been making and surfing wooden boards for a few years now , I could never go back to the old boards now : ) I hope things are good in Australia after all the floods that ye had earlier on in the year. I hope to send some photos of my boards in the future but for now all the best with the weekend.

Good stuff Grant , the photos of the woodensurfboard day looked good . That honeycomb board has me thinking , I've been mostly working with cedar and pine , and experimenting with different finsihes , beeswax and tung oil , varnishes . the strength weight thing took a long time to get . I'm making mostly hollow boards , done slightly differently to what I've seen on the internet . I like the parabolic rail and the flex it gives . Also really enjoying the mini simmons experience , its been flat here all summer so everyone is gasping for some surf at this point !!! its a shame I missed you when you were over here , I'm about two hours from Belfast I know for ye Aussies that's just a spin up the road "

take care

Friday, August 12, 2011

Daves new board

" Good to see the the most recent wooden board day went well. Some nice stuff, wish I could have been there unfortunately work got in the way.
Anyway here are some pics of my most recent Board, inspired by Petersons Morning of the earth Single, its a roll bottom, or hull "


Dave Dewitt

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Wooden Board Day 2011

A great day and a nice spread of chambered Balsa boards by Mitchell Rae , Outer Island Surfboards

Solid Paulownia tow board by Roger Hall.

Hand planes by Mike Cunningham from NZ

MC Handplanes

Roger Hall with some unbelievable amount of work on display.

Future frames and projects

Flextail Balsa by Mitchell Rae

Inspired by the humble bee.

Straight off the CNC router

Honey combed solid Paulownia and 3 ply bamboo , 1.8mm thick and no glass.

Mike Grobelny from New Zealand with a couple of samples of his high tech approach
to wooden boards.

He certainly had people scratching their heads and inspired many

Johnny Sutcliffe from Mangawhai Heads, NZ with his pride and joy , the new Kaikatea fish.

Gary Bennett, furniture maker from Margaret River , Western Australia with his
hollow cedar fish.

The Joske tent with plenty of great wooden boards built by Sage and his Dad Paul.

Fish and frame getting the once over

Aptly named.

A bit of an ethnic influence

John Purnell from Valla Beach with a very nice chambered and unglassed Paulownia board

Local father and son team Geoff and Jack Moase from Dovetail Surfboards

Another great showing by Roger Hall from New Zealand , Surfline Surfboards.

Paul Joske and Roger Hall discuss the finer points of Rogers solid Paulownia tow board

John Purnell builds a nice board , clean and simple.

Couldn't have put it better myself

Mitchell Rae , Outer Island Surfboards had a great show of his beautifully built chambered Balsa boards. One some 23 years old and surfed regularly.

Dean Rogers from Terrigal NSW with his Paulownia and Cedar Fish

Nice one Dingo

"Tiki" from Wamberal , Central Coast NSW with his first wooden board. Chambered Paulownia and a nice bamboo and glass fin with some cleaver inlay work.

We had a beautiful day with about 24c and a nice sea breeze to keep things comfortable. A bit of swell running but a Northerly roughing it up. A steady stream of people flowed through the park most of the day. As always lots of questions from all sorts of interested people from all ages and walks of life.

Robert Ivers , "Hollow Wooden Surfboards" up from Victoria for the day

A Velzy Balsa Pig - original in great nick. Great to see boards like this on the day. This is where it all started for some and left off for others.

A family heirloom out for the day. Thanks for sharing this piece of history.

First effort for Sunshine Coast builder Joel Terry. He is already planning the next step. He had only just finished it the night before and surfed it for the first time today.

80 + year old Barry Regan from Balina , still building boards and getting out for the odd paddle when he can. Unreal effort from a great guy , who inspires us all.

Old school and cool as ever

Local Gold Coast bus driver , Frank Kaczmarek with one of his framed fishes and another on the way.

The interest in wooden boards is pretty wide.

Nobby from Japan brought another beautiful clear all Paulownia longboard this year.Here he shares his building technique to Gary Bennett from WA.

Rooster and Roger Hall deep in discussion on the finer points of wooden boards.

Local Gold Coaster Craig Paterson showing the construction method he used for his boards

Traditional style and finish never goes out of fashion.

It was a great day with many new faces and boards from near and far. Some who have come before weren't there and I received apologies from many. I know times are tough and travel is expensive. So as always if you have a project you are working on and would like to share please send any pics and words. Also I didn't get to photograph and meet everybody so if you have shots please send them to me to post here. If some of the info or names are wrong please set me straight as I meet a lot of people with this day and the Fish Fry.

Once again a big thank you to all those that could make it to the Saturday night at the Gold Coast Surf museum to check out the 3 very interesting speakers.This is a great venue and has a wonderful collection of surfboards and history . And thanks for all the support from the guys who travelled from overseas and interstate to be in the park.There is always a great vibe in the park as there is a mutual respect for anyone that lays down a board as we know there is no easy way to build a wooden surfboard.I think it is fair to say we all left very inspired with what we saw and plans are brewing for what the next project will be.

Thanks guys.

Additional photos supplied by Andrew McKinnon and Mike Cunningham