May 272014

Some of the amazing Triton tools now powering the making of my hollow wood surfboards.

Triton Tools power up Burnett Wood Surfboards

This is a story about a man who asked a man about another man. The asked man phoned a third man that he knew, who just happened to be with the man that the first man was asking about. The two men spoke. They arranged to meet and the man drove in his car to go and see the man that he had been asking about.

Okay, the point I’m trying to make is that it might not have happened. Without a network of people who knew other people, with different timing and a whole range of other factors, if there had been a break in the chain above, perhaps things wouldn’t have come together like they did. I’m glad that they did.

After that initial meeting, the man went away. A while later, another man came along and had a look at my workshop and what I’m doing making hollow wood surfboards. He asked a few questions, went away and then a few weeks later another man arrived in a car packed with boxes, which he handed over to me. Continue reading »

Mar 052014

The first Burnett Wood Surfboards course ran in May 2013 (click here if you want to know more about our build your own board course offering). Attending that course was Patrick Young, who built a beautiful hollow wood 6′.4″ egg. Last week he was back, this time to build a twin keel fish. I watched with great excitement as the board came together. It’s really satisfying to see someone engaging with their board, getting to know it, and seeing it taking shape before their eyes. Even though it’s nearly a year later, Patrick had clearly put the lessons learned during the first board to good use, because the fish he has made is a stunner. Pictures, all taken by Patrick Young during the build, are in the gallery below.

Course board build

Feb 132014

The end of 2013 and beginning of 2014 was busy, busy. I was fortunate to have some amazing custom board orders. These are pictures of hollow wood surfboards made by Burnett Wood Surfboards towards the end of 2013 and beginning of 2014. Thanks to the wonderful customers I had who put in their orders and waited patiently for delivery.

Latest Boards 2013/2014

Hollow wood surfboards made by Burnett Wood Surfboards around the end of 2013 and beginning of 2014.

Jan 202014

20140118_152210Between 9-14 December 2013, Burnett Wood Surfboards hosted five people, who all built their own hollow wood surfboards in the space of six days. One of these people was Liezel Gous, the first woman to sign up for a Burnett Wood Surfboards course and possibly the only woman in the country to have built a wood surfboard (please let us know, ladies, if you’d like to challenge this claim). After the course Liezel answered some questions about her experience..

Click HERE to find out how you can build your own hollow wood surfboard.

BURNETT WOOD SURFBOARDS: What got you interested in building your own hollow wood surfboard?

LIEZEL GOUS: I have always liked doing things with my hands from a very young age. For many years I have been saying that I regret not taking woodwork as subject in school and that I would like to someday do a woodwork course of some sort. So the year before last year, after watching many surf movies, I decided to give surfing a try and loved it. Then last year one day, browsing the internet, I noticed a link for building your own wooden surfboard on FB, with a picture of a gorgeous wooden board. I thought this was the perfect thing to do, combining my new hobby with learning some woodwork skills, so I signed up.

BURNETT WOOD SURFBOARDS: Many women might think building a wood surfboard is a ‘guy thing’. What do you reckon, having done the course?

LIEZEL GOUS: Not at all! Anyone that likes working with their hands can do this. To be honest, some of the guys were at times a bit heavy handed, like with the glue….

BURNETT WOOD SURFBOARDS: Ha! What do you feel that you learnt from building your own surfboard from start to finish?

LIEZEL GOUS: I thought woodwork was something really complicated and it was something I was always a bit scared of trying, but now I reckon I can attempt other woodwork projects as well, it is not the rocket science I once perceived it. The most informative part for me about building a surfboard was the shaping of the rails. I feel that I know a little more about surfboards now and would be able to make a more informed choice when I buy another board.

BURNETT WOOD SURFBOARDS: What was the hardest part? Best part?

20140118_152201LIEZEL GOUS: I don’t think anything was really hard to do. I did struggle with using the plane at first, but as experience grew that also got easier and even fun. The best part for me was putting the top on and it started to look like a surfboard, but the vibe of working with the others, all of us being excited about our boards in the making, made the whole experience really great.

BURNETT WOOD SURFBOARDS: You picked up your board on Saturday after it had been glassed. On Sunday you were in the water for the first surf on it. How did it feel to surf on a board that you knew you had made yourself?

LIEZEL GOUS: I was not fortunate enough to have the best conditions to surf in on Sunday and it was more of a kite surfing day, but I was determined to give it a go, even if I only got one wave. I had more than one wave and the first one was the best, because I did not really expect to be able to get up on the first one that I caught! When I finally got home, I was tired but so stoked and totally in love with my board. This is going to sound really cheesy now, but on my way home the song “Flying without wings” played on the radio and I thought, yep that is what I feel like now.

BURNETT WOOD SURFBOARDS: The board you made was a classic 5′.8″ fish shape. How did it go?

LIEZEL GOUS: I expected it to be very buoyant, but was still surprised with how much, and it was not heavy at all to handle in the waves. I almost did not put wax far enough to the front as I did not expect to have to be that much to the front on the board (and not nosedive!). This board gave me longer rides than I had with my other board, I can’t wait to gain enough skill to really do it justice.

BURNETT WOOD SURFBOARDS: Thanks so much Liezel – it was a pleasure having you on the course. Stoked!

Dec 202013

A gift card from Burnett Wood Surfboards – gives the holder the present of building their own wood surfboard in 2014.

20130910_171838With Christmas just a few days away, Burnett Wood Surfboards offers some unique and special gifts.

Our gift cards will provide entry into one of our hollow wood surfboard building courses, held at Imhoff Farm Village in Kommetjie, Cape Town. The holder of the present will be able to reconnect with their hands and build their own hollow wood surfboard at any time that suits them during 2014.

Secondly, you can buy a ready-made hollow wood surfboard as a very special present to your loved one – or yourself. Apart from the twin-keel fish pictured left (more info here), we also have a classic-styled single fin and twin-keel fish for sale, both handcrafted out of hard-to-come by and very beautiful Japanese Cedar.

Write to or phone Patrick on 073 232 3043.

Aug 282013

We’re running Saturday courses for the foreseeable future at our Imhoff Farm Village workshop in Kommetjie so if you’re interested in building your own beautiful hollow wood surfboard then we’d love to hear from you. It takes 4-5 Saturdays and you can do these consecutively or whenever you can make it.

Full time courses are scheduled for September, November and December. This is a great way to build a surfboard. You start on the Monday and finish on the Saturday. The next course is 23 – 28 September 2013, followed by 4 – 9 November 2013 and 9 – 14 December 2013. For out-of-towners, we can refer you to a range of nearby accommodation options ranging from budget to luxury.

Below are some of the board models that you can choose to build. Write to or phone Patrick on 073 232 3043 for more details. You can also check out our Facebook profile for lots of pictures of our boards and course activities.



Jul 152013

FarmshotSince the beginning of May, I’ve been lucky enough to rent  a farmhouse at Imhoff Farm village in Kommetjie, Cape Town.

It’s been a great venue that has enabled me to expand and given me the space to experiment, learn and be creative about wood and surfboards. Plus it has been perfect for running wood surfboard building courses, of which I have held two and have more scheduled for the rest of the year.

I’ve got an open door policy to my workshop. If you’re interested in wood surfboards and how they are built, feel free to drop in and see my boards and have a chat. Drive past the farm stall, take a right through the gate towards the Waldorff School, then your first left following the signs that say ‘Green Space’. To your right is the house that I work from.

Pictured here is the front room of the workshop and three recently produced boards – an 11′ longboard, an 11′ gun and a 6′.4″ fish built by a participant on the June course. Many thanks to Tony Butt for these pictures.


Apr 242013

Resin on wood: I love seeing the grain stand out when the first brush of resin goes on a new hollow wood surfboard. Beautiful and a really rewarding part of building a wood surfboard.

Feb 012013

oursHere’s a head’s up: there’s a new hang out in the village and the locals love it! Yup, Ours Cafe in Kalk Bay has been open for the last few months and has quickly established itself as the place to get scrumptious pastries, wholesome food and award-winning coffee.

The guys behind it are wonderfully committed – last year they opened up in a converted garage next to the old Dutch Reformed Church (now the Kalk Bay Theatre) and earned a reputation for pastries (I was especially partial to the bacon and sweet chilli sauce croissant) and coffee. Now they’re above the garage in bigger premises renovated with passion and innovation to create a stylish and relaxed feel. The indoor premises open up into a garden-style outside area with trees and views of the sea. Ours is open all day and also for dinner. When I saw Mr Chef himself swimming at Dalebrook the other day he got my mouth watering with the menu for the evening, which included fresh tuna just off the boat. Going home to baked potato and salad just wasn’t the same.

You’ll find them a  short way up Rosmead Avenue’s cobbled street, next to Prince Edward Mansions. It’s a stone’s throw away from Kalk Bay Reef, which is fitting because it’s a surfer run establishment. I’m sure I’ve spotted some of the stoke that comes from being spat out of a deep reef pit in the passion of the place.

Of course, in the interests of full disclosure, there is one of my wood surfboards hanging on the wall, pictured here. It’s close to my heart to have a board displayed at Ours because I grew up, also a stone’s throw away, in the rectory opposite the reef and still spend a lot of time in Kalk Bay.


Jan 072013



Wood is wood, right? Nope. Just take a look at the grain on this 9’7″ hollow wooden longboard and you’ll understand. Even looking at the rough timber it was possible to see there was going to be a beautiful grain in the piece of Western Red Cedar used for this board, but it wasn’t until glassing that it really started to shine. The lighter colour wood strips are poplar and the contrast works well. Sold at the The Corner Surf Shop, Cape Town’s oldest surf shop.