First view of a new 9′.6″ hollow wooden longboard. Still very rough and a lot of cleaning up to do, but the shape is looking great. Love making these guys – they’re such beauties.
I’ve always had a dream to travel overland across Africa. Never having done it, I’m pleased that one of my surfboards is going to have the opportunity. In my imagination I can conjure up a quirky image of the surfboard pictured in this post meeting people and making friends, sitting around camp fires and taking an interest in places like Quagadougou, Timbuktu and Marrakech. And hopefully I’ll get a postcard or two.
For the surfboard at least, the first step of that journey starts soon, when a hollow wood surfboard, an enormous 10-ton green truck powered by recycled cooking oil and comedian Mark Sampson hit the long road from Cape Town to Johannesburg.
Here’s a full length picture of the mini-malibu being surfed in the video contained in the previous post.
It’s a beautiful board and overall I’m pleased with the outcome. I like the shape and it feels good in the water. The major breakthrough is also that the glassing is a vast improvement from previous boards. I used SPF 115 Epoxy, which contains a built-in UV protector. It was much easier to work with compared with the previous epoxy resin I’ve been using. The glassing makes all the difference as it brings out the grain of the wood and really makes the board something to look at.
On Wednesday I took collection of a wood order that will give me enough to make three boards. Now this isn’t just any wood. There’s a context to this wood and it’s been quite an emotional ride ordering it and then picking it up and driving home with it.
Wood is not cheap you see, and there’s a point when a hobby just becomes too expensive. And times are tough. So to stomp up a few thousand rand to buy wood to build surfboards can either be seen as foolish expenditure or an investment in a passion.
I wasn’t quite sure which it was myself.
But when I laid out the wood on my kitchen floor – the kitchen floor is where I lay out wood because its got a nice flat lino surface and the parquet flooring in the rest of the house is off-limits for surfboard manufacture by order of management – I knew I wouldn’t regret buying that wood. Even if it has cleaned out my bank account and I don’t know what’s going to come next.
It’s funny how times of uncertainty can bring on the greatest moments of certainty.
When I saw that wood laid out on my kitchen floor – the clear, yellow grain of Obeche contrasting with the fine, dark red grain of Californian Redwood – I could see the 7.8 mini-Malibu I’m going to craft out of that wood as clearly as if I had already done it. And it’s a beautiful board. You won’t be able to find one like it anywhere in South Africa, perhaps anywhere in the world.
All the materials are just about together to begin production of a 7.8 mini-Malibu and a 5.9 fish.
The 7.8 is going to be first on the construction table and it is going to be a beautiful, beautiful board, built with alternating strips of Obeche and Californian Red Wood. It really is going to be a one-of-a-kind, collector’s item board. I’m expecting it to be finished in early December, just in time for some fun summer surf at Muizenberg. Any takers? If you want a beautiful and unique surfboard that rides well make me a cash offer and the board could be yours.
The second board, which I’m also hoping to finish in early December, is the 5.9 fish. It will also be built with alternating strips of Obeche and Californian Red Wood and based on the successful fish design I’ve already built and tested. This is also going to be a really beautiful surfboard – just take a look at some of the pictures of the fish I built out of Oregon pine. Same deal with the 7.8 – if you want a unique and beautiful surfboard make me a cash offer.