Jun 132016
 
DurbanCourseMay2016

Three of the four guys on the Durban course with the boards that they built.

At 4am on a Saturday morning two weeks ago, my car jam-packed with everything needed to run a wooden surfboard course for four guys, I set out from Cape Town to make the 1,700km drive to Durban.

Plan A had been to take a slow drive up the East Coast over several days, stopping along the way to surf. Vic Bay. Seals. J-Bay. Plan A didn’t even get off the table due to work commitments, family and the like. Plan B kicked in: pack the hell up and brave the deep Karoo road to Durban via Bloemfontein. It’s not often that I venture away from the sea. Only in emergencies.

I was thrilled to be travelling to Durban, however, to share the stoke of wooden surfboard building. When I first started offering courses, there were a few guys from Durban who got in touch asking me to hold a course in South Africa’s surf capital. Why not? Surfing is so much about the crazy things; taking a chance on a surf trip, daring a late drop, not knowing what is going to happen and how things are going to work out. And this trip had the feel of a crazy surf trip, even through I was in the middle of the Karoo.

Durban was lush. Rolling green hills, thick green forests and sparkling ocean. For winter, it’s like a warm bath during the day, with a shot from the cold water tap in the morning and evening. Shorts and a t-shirt.

Meeting Sean, Pat, Jason and Sam on the Monday morning I knew we were going to have a great week. Everyone, including myself was wide-eyed keen as we began building the four boards for the week, a longboard and three fish. I love watching guys put their boards together and see their appreciation for the shape they’re making grow, and their sense of ownership over what they’re doing unfold. It’s a real privilege.

I hadn’t planned to surf, but the crew took pity on me and Sean took me down to the beach for a baggie session just before I began the long drive home. What a treat. Warm water, golden beaches, hills covered in greenery, clear water. The stoke from that surf got me all the way to land-locked Bethlehem on the drive home, 500km from Durban in the Free State. That only left 1200km to drive the next day.

Dec 082015
 
Grebe_Personal_Catalog_IMG_5011_October 01, 2015

TAKE THE DROP ON A WOODEN BOARD: Build your own hollow wooden surfboard in 2016 by signing up for a course with Burnett Wood Surfboards. Picture: DANIEL GREBE, https://www.facebook.com/grebephoto

2016 will be the fourth year that I’m offering wooden surfboard building courses where participants build their own hollow wooden surfboards and there are some exciting additions to the line-up. Click here to check out the schedule.

In addition to my regular Cape Town wooden surfboard building course, I’ll be running courses in Durban and Cape St. Francis to meet requests from guys that want to build their own board but can’t get away to Cape Town. I’m really excited about taking the wooden surfboard courses to different locations and meeting a whole bunch of new people.

Secondly, during 2016 I’ll be running courses at my Scarborough workshop, but will also be hosting regular courses in Woodstock so that it is easier for people in central Cape Town and the Northern Suburbs of Cape Town to attend. As part of the Woodstock courses there will also be evening classes.

Thirdly, in addition to the popular hollow wooden surfboard course builds, people can also sign up for the day-long course to build their own bodysurfing hand plane. And we also have a range of SUPs that can be built on a course.

I have not made any price increases this year, despite the escalating costs of a number of materials. In addition, the 5% discount that I had last year for bookings made three months in advance is still in place.

The schedule is HERE. BOOK NOW!

Make it! Surf it!

Sep 132015
 

Looking for something to do? There’s one place left for the course that I’m running next week, that’s 21-26 September. If you want it, then it is yours.

For more information, check out my courses page for more information and have a look at the gallery of some of the boards made on the courses that I’ve been running since 2013.

What anyone who attends one of my courses gets is the experience of crafting your own unique wooden surfboard from a pile of planks. For most people, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience. You’ll be able to surf it in the ocean and there won’t be another board like it anywhere on the planet because each piece of wood is uniquely different. Its a process of engrossing yourself in the beauties of wood and at the same time making something with the beautiful curves of good surfboard design, meant to harness the energy of a breaking wave.

As someone who has been making these boards for nearly a decade and knows all the pitfalls and mistakes that can be made, I’m the ultimate resource to help you avoid common mistakes and make something that you’ll be proud of for life.

Course Pictures and Boards

DCIM100GOPROGOPR3375.
DCIM100GOPROGOPR3375.
DCIM100GOPROGOPR6687.
DCIM100GOPROGOPR6687.
DCIM100GOPROGOPR0077.
DCIM100GOPROGOPR0077.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aug 092015
 

There are only 10 places left!

That’s the official number of people that I can accommodate for wood surfboard courses between now and the end of the year, so if you want to build your own beautiful hollow wood surfboard then check out the courses page on my website and get in touch about booking your place. Early bird discounts apply.

The number of people who have built boards with me is now approaching 100. It’s something I would never have predicted when I started making wood boards in my garage in 2007.

The courses have been running since 2013. From the beginning, I have been stoked to see other people build their own surfboards and see their creativity and innate hand skill come to life through the construction of beautiful wood surfboard shapes. I’m really grateful to everyone that has signed up – I have learnt a tremendous amount and met some amazing people.

The gallery below includes pictures from some of the courses held by Burnett Wood Surfboards 2013-2015.

Course Pictures and Boards

DCIM100GOPROGOPR3375.
DCIM100GOPROGOPR3375.
DCIM100GOPROGOPR6687.
DCIM100GOPROGOPR6687.
DCIM100GOPROGOPR0077.
DCIM100GOPROGOPR0077.

 

 

Jul 212015
 

wooden surfboards, wood surfboards, hollow wood surfboardsIt’s been six months and I’m feeling settled in my new wood surfboard workshop space on Good Hope Garden Nursery property outside Scarborough.

I’ve always loved this country and feel so at home. The door of my workshop looks out on a section of Cape Point Nature Reserve and behind my backdoor is wild mountain and fynbos.

The last few days the baboons have been on the hunt for food and have had to be chased off – a reminder of wild nature on our doorstep.

And although the surf is close, I’m managing to be remarkably productive with plenty of made-to-order boards being built, and courses running regularly over the last few months.

 

 

 

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Above are three course participants from the last three months. Andrew, Tony and Ant. They built stunning boards.

20150608_150043Pictured right is the first 12′.6″ open water stand-up paddle board that was built on a course in April. These are incredible boards to build and majestic to cruise on lakes, rivers or calm ocean.

The shots below are of bodysurfing hand planes – I love using up my offcuts to make these items. They’re now for sale and shipping anywhere in South Africa is free.

Lastly, I’m also making wooden paddles. We have a limited number in stock and also make to order.

20150606_16304920150606_163112-2

Jul 022015
 

Last year I was incredibly fortunate to be sponsored a set of amazing tools by Triton power tools. I’ve been using these tools for the last year and they have been wonderful partners in building some beautiful wood boards, and have been extensively used by people building wooden surfboards with me on the courses that I run. Thank-you Triton! The Triton team also visited me and made a short video of the wooden surfboards that I make. Check it out below:

Apr 242015
 

It was an evening in March. The Cape had been burning, with mountain fires raging across the Peninsula. We were on the terrace of a mansion in Kommetjie watching the sun set over the Atlantic.  Craft beer was in hand while crayfish samoosas and roasted pork belly made up the nibbles. South African rap performer Jack Parow was giving  a sunset performance. That was the wrap party for the SABC 2 Afrikaans TV lifestyle show Pasella’s programme on Kommetjie, which was broadcast in late March. The programme featured my wood surfboards. You can watch the full clip below, if you’re interested.

  • Pasella, features Burnett Wood Surfboards (starts at 17 minutes, 10 seconds)

There were two funny asides to the Pasella experience. The first was when I agreed to do the programme and said confidently that speaking in Afrikaans would be no problem. Of course once I was in front of the camera it was another matter and as a result I’m the only person that speaks English in the programme. Eventually the poor producer just gave up and asked me to speak in English.

The programme was aired on a Friday night and by Monday morning I’d forgotten about it. First stop of the morning was the local hardware store. The cashier looked up at me and her face lit up as she exclaimed: “You’re the man from the television.” It was the same at the other hardware store I visited on the same day. It was a cool talking point. Anyway, enough waffling.

Mar 162015
 
GraemeHempBoard

Graeme with his twin keel fish glassed in hemp and bio-resin.

Here’s a board that breaks new ground in the realm of sustainable surfboard construction.

Made by Graeme on a Burnett Wood Surfboard course, an estimated 85% of this hollow wood surfboard is made out of locally-grown wood (meaning lower transport emissions because of reduced transport emissions).

It’s glassed with natural hemp cloth from the awesome folk at The Hemporium right here in Cape Town, and glassed with Entropy Super Sap epoxy, a resin that uses a bio-based additive rather than a petroleum-based additive.

There is no such thing as a “100% green surfboard”, but using materials like those above we can significantly reduce the carbon emissions and thus environmental impact of our surf lifestyle.

One study has shown, for example, that a hollow wood surfboard has less than half the carbon emissions of a foam equivalent, and that it is without considering the added benefit of glassing with a natural material and bio-resin.

Huge credit to Graeme for being so keen to break new ground. He was sold on the idea of glassing in hemp and using the Entropy product, which had only just become available in South Africa when we glassed this board last year.

All our hollow wood boards are now being glassed and finished with Entropy resin. The use of hemp is available on request.

 

 

 

GraemeHempBoard3

Glassing with hemp fabric.

GraemeHempBoard2

Graeme building his hollow wood surfboard.

Feb 122015
 

Nearly two years ago, Peter and Jennifer arrived at my front door to look at a hollow wooden fish they were interested in buying. We had a good chat about wood boards, life and the like. A few days later Jennifer phoned and said Peter would like to come around with his crew and film the wood boards I was making. That’s how Peter, Jennifer, Adam and Jules came to spend two days in a garage in Fish Hoek, which at the time was where I made my hollow wood surfboards.

I’ve often thought about those days of filming because of the moment in time they captured. Shortly afterwards I moved to a workshop in Kommetjie, the business grew, things got crazy and the garage became an unused storage place that nobody ever entered. In the last few weeks I’ve moved my workshop from Kommetjie to Scarborough, but I’m fixing up my garage work space so that I can spend some days working at home, picking up the kids, cooking meals and doing all those kind of homely things that one doesn’t do when spending all your time in a workshop obsessed with making wood surfboards. So it’s sort of as if I’ve done something of a circle. The film the crew made can be watched below. It was shown at the 2014 Wavescapes Surf Film Festival held in Cape Town. So much thanks to everyone who was involved and hope to hook up again soon.




Jan 182015
 

2015 has gotten off to a rocking start with a run of exceptional summer swells lighting up the Cape Peninsula surf spots. After a hectic end to the year in the wood surfboard building workshop, I took it slow for the first week of January, but have stepped up a gear in the last few days. The year is starting with some Saturday course building – Ant and Gero got started on Saturday and will be building their boards on Saturday’s up to the end of February. And tomorrow, Ian and Amanta will be building their boards on a six-day course.

2015 is an exciting year for Burnett Wood Surfboards. Apart from our usual hollow wood surfboards and custom wood surfboard builds, I will, for the first time be offering Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) course options. More details to follow. I will also be introducing a range of other course offerings. In the meantime, below are some pictures from the workshop taken at the end of last year and beginning of this year.

single

6′.8″ single fin.

9′.8″ longboard.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5′.7″ twin-keel custom fish.