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 https://www.flickr.com/photos/105465297@N06/
"Your blog has been inspiring us here in the Philippines"

cheers!

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 boats.at '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........."


cheers!
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





5 comments:

Chris said...

Awesome work.

Peter Carney said...

Love the blog and I was wondering if you could help me get in touch with Chris Gonzaga. I have a video production company here in the Philippines and would love to make a short video about Chris and his wooden surfboards. If you could hook us up that would be great.

Peter
www.exposure.ph

Peter Carney said...

Inspiring stuff. I was wondering if you could help me out. I have a video production company here in the Philippines and would love to feature Chris and his wooden surfboards in a short video. Is there any chance you could connect us I can't find any contact details for Chris online and I don't have a Flickr account.

My website is www.exposure.ph

Thanks
Peter

Jamiz Combista said...

I have actually met these guys when they were still working on their boards last 2013 in Ayoke Island. Keep it up!

Here are some pics I took.
http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-bvLF5cxEO7A/Up_T3D-5b0I/AAAAAAAAAsM/bbqd93_ffng/s400/Ayoke+Island+Wooden+Surfboards+%25283%2529.JPG

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-SSQQ1T1yfNo/Up_ZGFwAyyI/AAAAAAAAAs4/m_v9zaUmnq4/s400/Ayoke+Island+Wooden+Surfboards+(4).JPG

We Against the Machine said...

Hi Grant! I just checked out this link you sent me through email. Their story is very inspiring!

I love this bit right here "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."

Thanks for sharing again my friend! See you in the line up!

Francisco
weagainstthemachine.com