Feb 012017
 
wooden surfboards, hollow wooden surfboards, wooden surfboard workshop, build your own wooden surfboard

From 20-25 February 2017 I’ll be back in the relaxed surf town of Cape St.Francis for a workshop that will share the stoke that comes with building and surfing your own wooden surfboard.

From 20-25 February 2017 I’ll be back in the relaxed surf town of Cape St.Francis for a workshop that will share the stoke that comes with building and surfing your own wooden surfboard.

Those participating walk away from the course with their own handcrafted and very beautiful hollow wood surfboard.

Anyone interested can sign up for the scheduled six-day workshop option where you start out with a pile of planks and finish up with a one-of-a-kind wooden surfboard. If you don’t have the time for six days, don’t worry – then there is a three-day option that still gets you a wooden surfboard.

The workshop takes builders through all the theoretical and practical aspects of building a wood surfboard. We look at the different types of timber, the environmental aspects and the design dynamics underpinning wood surfboards. This is combined with the practical process of crafting a surfboard from a pile of planks into a one-of-a-kind work of art that can be surfed.

For more information, please visit the following page where you’ll find details of available boards, costs, and a gallery of previous workshop boards.

wooden surfboards, surfboards, surfing, hollow wooden surfboards

Three beautiful wooden surfboards built from scratch in a Burnett Wooden surfboards workshop.

wooden surfboard, hollow wooden surfboard, wood surfboard workshop, surfing, surfboards

A recent workshop where these three guys built their own wooden surfboards.

Nov 012016
 
wooden surfboards

Matthew Kramer styles the light fantastic on his wooden surfboard. Photo: Lee-Anne Curtis-Cox

Matthew Kramer was a participant of the first wooden surfboards course that I ran in 2013. Earlier this year I caught up with him for a surf – he subsequently wrote a very articulate account of what his wooden surfboard had meant to him over the years. It was published on Wavescape and I’m re-publishing it below. Thanks to Lee-Anne Curtis-Cox from Capture the Moment for the stunning pictures.

“When I paddled out at Llandudno for one of the first sessions on my freshly built wood surfboard I threw the board down onto the water in the shallows, slid onto it and started paddling, half expecting it to sink. It didn’t. In fact, it paddled nicely, the extra weight of the board making it glide swiftly and smoothly through the water.

I spotted Robby McDonald from Vudu Surf in the lineup and as I paddled over he turned to me and with his usual effortless wit called out, “What’s that you’re riding boetie, the old front door?” We had a good chuckle and pretty soon after that our attention was pulled back to the ocean and the task of catching some waves.

Since that day the “old front door” has had a remarkable impact on my world. I am constantly amazed and inspired by what this wood board can handle and what it can do. I’ve ridden this one board in a variety of conditions from mushy one foot Muizenberg to pumping Llands barrels and I have yet to find the limits of where it can work and bring me joy.

wooden surfboards

“What I have learned from this wood board, apart from a better bottom turn, is that although there are limits to what we can do in this life there are options and sometimes the smallest decision can have a powerful effect.” Photo: Lee-Anne Curtis-Cox

I built the board on a course with Patrick from Burnett Wood Surfboards and the experience of building my own board and then riding it is a huge component of the profound effect I have felt. I cannot recommend building your own surf craft highly enough and I feel it is something every surfer should do at least once.

Riding this board makes me feel I have earned my place in the sea. I feel initiated. I know the cost and the impact of getting to ride the wave. I know what’s inside this thing, just how much effort, love and attention to detail is engrained in its make up, and I’m going to take a great deal of care to ensure that it stays with me as long as possible. I also know that am going to make another one.

Like most surfers, I’ve ridden commercially produced surfboards most of my life and I’ve loved it. Surfing is a gift no matter how it comes to you. I think if everybody surfed there’d be a lot less road rage and nasty business out there. Who would want to be dropping bombs or delivering hurt when there’s a crisp offshore wind and the waves are perfect and you just know there’s a few with your name on them? Well I know what I would choose. I’ve ridden foam and fibreglass boards most of my life.

In fact in recent years I’ve been going through them at a rate. I ride them until they are finished, they reach a point where they will snap repeatedly and at that point it becomes cheaper to buy a new board and not have to keep paying for repairs. But every time I send another board to landfill I feel regret, not for the loss of a board but because I know that I am contributing to the mountain of toxic crap that is bleeding into the earth, poisoning and degrading our biosphere.

As wave riders we are ocean lovers by default. I have a love for the ocean that goes way deeper than just appreciating what it offers me as a surfer. That is something that most water men and women will understand.

The ocean offers us a very tangible and visible example of an ecosystem as a singular entity. The ocean lives, breathes, shifts and changes constantly just like any other organism. It’s easy to see it as a living being and I want to treat it as I would any other living creature, with the respect that it deserves. For me that means being mindful of my relationship with the ocean – what impact it is having and how I can work to better that relationship.

I understand that my actions alone will change very little in this world and any way, I’m over wanting to change it. I’m reminded of a classic line from Detective Velcoro, “My strong suspicion is that we get the world we deserve.”

I believe that Mother Nature will balance the scales one way or another with or without our help. For my part the question is, “what am I going to do to make it all OK for myself today?” And today the answer to that question is to engage in what I love with honor, respect and dignity. I’m putting that toxic shit behind me. I’ll use it where I have to, where I have no choice, but I’ll always be looking for an alternative.

And for now that’s good enough for me, knowing that the blind and unconscious use of disposable, poisonous crap for the sake of convenience is in the past.

I’m not a professional surfer. As far as my value system is concerned I now see that it is more important for me to ride a board that is made from materials that are biodegradable and non toxic than it is to shave five hundred grams from the final weight of my board. In the choice of saving five hundred Rands today versus five hundred years of leaching toxic chemicals into land and sea there is no choice. Besides, I’ve seen more improvement in my surfing while riding my wood board than any performance board I’ve ever had.

What I have learned from this wood board, apart from a better bottom turn, is that although there are limits to what we can do in this life there are options and sometimes the smallest decision can have a powerful effect. I am connected to the the ocean. I am a part of something greater than myself, and I now see that we can only truly care for something when we are a part of it.

It took building and riding a wooden surfboard for me to understand that.”

Jan 192016
 
IMG_20150624_072622

Early morning line-up at Seal Point in Cape St. Francis.

Laid back South African surf town Cape St.Francis, home of the Endless Summer, will be hosting a hollow wooden surfboard course run by Burnett Wood Surfboards between 28 March and 2 April 2016.

With its decades-long reputation as a surf destination, Cape St. Francis is the perfect place to be immersed in crafting an eco-friendly wooden surfboard. World class waves, including the legendary J-Bay, break in the vicinity, and there’s the option of sampling the local waves outside of course hours.

For Northern Hemisphere surfers, this is a great opportunity to have an experienced-based surfing holiday and take home a beautiful wooden surfboard. With favourable exchange rates, it also represents incredible bang for your dollar, pound or euro. (See below for more info relevant to international visitors).

You could build a board like this!

Burnett Wood Surfboards has been offering courses for nearly four years and has the widest available range of wooden surfboard models to choose from. The ultimate DIY project for any surfer, making a functional wooden surfboard will take you on a journey in surf history, it will provide an insight into the art of shaping and environmentally friendly surfboard construction, and it will give you the joy of working with a beautiful natural material. Check out a gallery of previous course participants here.

Those signing up can choose from shapes ranging from fish, eggs, single fins, mini-malibus and longboards. Participants can sign up for the full six-day course where they start right at the beginning with a pile of planks, or can sign up for a three-day course where part of their board is done for them.

More information on how to sign up, including costs and types of boards to choose from, is available on the courses page of this website.

 

VENUE AND ACCOMMODATION

RaggieThe venue for the course is Raggies International Backpackers in the centre of Cape St. Francis. Raggies can offer accommodation for those coming from out of town, and can host individuals or families, making it an ideal venue for locals and those travelling from overseas. Airport transfers are available and Raggies also provides access to a range of exciting activities around Cape St. Francis.

Please ask us about accommodation if you are interested.

VISITORS FROM OUTSIDE SOUTH AFRICA

It takes 10 days to two weeks to glass your surfboard once you have finished the woodwork. If you plan on travelling after the course, we’ll make sure it’s ready for you to take back on the journey with you. If you’re going back straight after the course, we will ship the board to your home address. There will be an additional charge for the shipping.

Prices on our courses page are only for the wood surfboard course. You are responsible for other expenses such as your airfare and accommodation. Raggies International Backpackers can assist with accommodation. Airport transfers from the closest airport, Port Elizabeth, can be arranged.

Cape St. Francis is close to a number of other tourist attractions, including the world famous Garden Route, Addo Elephant Park and a number of other game reserves.

BACKGROUND TO ENDLESS SUMMER

Just about every surfer has at some stage in their surfing lives seen the iconic clip of the ‘discovery’ of Cape St. Francis in Bruce Brown’s famous surf movie Endless Summer. No matter that the right point has been eclipsed in fame by its nearby neighbour J-Bay, in surf consciousness Cape St. Francis represents the dream of discovering a perfect wave. Check out the clip below.

Cape St. Francis, 1963 from ENCYCLOPEDIA of SURFING videos on Vimeo.