We’ll be at the inaugural Wavescape Fish Fry at the Bluebird garage in Muizenberg on Saturday 30 November. The unique combination of surfboard fish and real fish comes from a collaboration between the Wavescape Surf Festival, WWF-SASSI and the reality TV series Ultimate Braai Master in a day of entertainment in the historical heart of surfing in South Africa, Muizenberg.
Sometimes boards get sent so quickly after they’re finished that, after long hours of getting to know each other, there’s barely time for a goodbye.The board pictured here nearly didn’t get a mention, but it’s worthy of a post. The wood on the deck is a single piece of South African grown redwood. On the bottom is Japanese Cedar, also grown in South Africa, making it an all South African wood product.
Over the last three months, the beautiful twin-keel hollow wooden fish has been mounted on the wall at Pakalolo’s. Every time someone ordered a pint of Jack Black’s craft beer, their name was entered for the draw.
On Tuesday night the pints of Jack Black’s craft beer flowed freely as Pakalolo patrons keen to win the board made their last gulps in the hope of getting lucky. One guy I spoke to at the bar had put down five pints by 7pm.
But it was a thrilled Donovan whose name was drawn from the thousands of entries. He exploded into a jig in front of the DJ and performed multiple fist pumps. With his Movember mo, you just couldn’t take the smile off his face and it was great to see. A more stoked dude you would not have found in the whole of Cape Town.
Donovan described how he had seen the board while at Pakalolo’s on Friday night with friends. “I just thought to myself that’s mine,” he said. And it was. Donovan even hopped on his scooter and traveled across Cape Town from the West Coast to attend the draw.
He has won a board that could never be replicated and is a global one-of-a-kind. It is made from South African-grown redwood, with the bottom of the board made up of two planks of bookmarked timber cut with a very wide saw from the same piece of wood. The top is made from South African-grown Japanese Cedar and redwood. Click here and here to see more pictures of the board that Donovan won.
We’d like to thank Stefan Richter from Pakalolo’s restaurant and bar in Hout Bay and Jack Black’s craft beer for pulling off an awesome raffle and great evening.
It’s great to get local support from Pakalolo’s and great to see a delicious Cape Town-based craft beer go from strength to strength.
Okay, I drove past cooking surf today to pick up this 9′.6″ single fin longboard from its finishing sand and take it on to the person who ordered it as a birthday gift for her son.
I admit, even though I’d never do it, it did occur to me more than once to cancel the order, return the deposit and take this beauty for a paddle at Muizenberg. (As I drove over Boyes Drive I saw a guy on a red longboard catch a left that rolled for ever – when I dropped down the mountain and he disappeared from sight over my right shoulder he was still gunning it.)
Anyway, I had a birthday deadline to meet on this board and I didn’t really get a chance to take a proper photograph, which is a shame because I reckon this is one of the most beautiful boards I’ve made. The centre strip of wood is camphor and has an interesting knot with tinges of orange, green, brown and yellow that made for a great centre piece. This middle strip is framed by Western Red Cedar followed by wide planks of Redwood that fade from yellow into flaming red. I used matching planks for the bottom and the top. It’s no exaggeration to say that there simply isn’t a surfboard like it in the world. If I made the exact same shape, it would be almost impossible to replicate the look – even using the same varieties of wood.
Even though I don’t know you, happy birthday pal! Hope you catch one of those lefts!
A lot of people ask me how our boards are made and how long it takes. My answer is usually that the surfboard is built around a frame and that it takes a fair bit of time and effort. Knowing what goes into each board, this always feels like an inadequate response. Pictures would be the best way to convey the process, but somehow I’ve always struggled to systematically fit photographs into the building of a board. Until now.
The board being built in this gallery is a 9’6″ longboard, ordered by the customer as a birthday gift. I started this board a week ago and I’ve been taking pictures and posting them to the gallery every day. It’s early days yet and I’ll continue to post pictures to this photo gallery page until the board is finished.
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.