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.

Sep 052011

Surfing in Cape Town can be the quirkiest of affairs. The peninsula has so many nooks and crannies, so many variations of reefs, underwater boulders, sandbanks and rocky outcrops, each of which are only prepared to give forth surf happiness under just the right conditions.

Combining all the spots would result in thousands of different combinations of tide, swell size, swell direction, wind direction and wind strength. In some cases, swell has to literally turn corners for a spot to work; in others a complicated refraction process has to happen, all dependent on swell direction and tide. Trying to get a particular spot at its optimum – or even trying to get it breaking – can be an infuriating affair that even the animated swell model predictions can’t always help with, although they can give you an inkling of what might happen.

It was with not much hope that I set out on Saturday for a surf, expecting to take a drive to check out a spot that rarely breaks and end up returning home without having surfed.  The signs weren’t great at first, but as I got closer I could see swell capping in unusual places and I knew there was a chance. When I pulled into the parking lot, a 10-foot set rolled through. There was one guy out and I couldn’t get out there quick enough. It didn’t last long, maybe an hour before the tide got too high, the swell dropped a fraction and the lulls got longer. But it was there. Fleetingly. Not perfect, nowhere near as good as it gets. But showing itself, showing that it’s still there, waiting to break perfectly again next year, or the year after, or the year after that. I hope I’m there when it does.

Saturday also saw the debut paddle of the 9.6 hollow wooden gun pictured above. I surfed it in the second half of the session when the lulls were really long and I did catch a few waves on it, but nothing very special. It paddled beautifully though. Now it’s back on my dining room wall.


Aug 022011

There’s a wealth of historical trivia about wood surfboards – the latest being the news that the queen of crime writing, Agatha Christie (author of 80 novels and believed to be the best-selling writer of books of all time) learnt to surf on wood surfboards at Muizenberg beach.

According to a report in The Guardian newspaper, research by Pete Robinson, founder of the Devon-based Museum of British Surfing, suggests Christie and her first husband, Archie, may have been among the first Britons to learn how to surf standing up.

In January 1922, says the report, the couple left their young daughter in the care of Agatha’s mother and sister. They arrived in South Africa in early February and were introduced to surfing at Muizenberg beach.

Christie wrote at the time: “The surf boards in South Africa were made of light, thin wood, easy to carry, and one soon got the knack of coming in on the waves.

“It was occasionally painful as you took a nosedive down into the sand, but on the whole it was an easy sport and great fun.” Seems like nothing’s changed, hey?

Interestingly, this matches with another historical snippet from around this time that I picked up in the book Bay Between the Mountains by Aderne Tredgold. I read it some time ago, but the book is a history of False Bay and from what I remember Tredgold writes that early surfing pioneers at Muizenberg beach actually wrote to Hawaiian royalty in the early 1900’s asking for advice on how to make the best surfboards. Apparently, he claims, they received a reply and used the information they were given to build surfboards that they rode at Muizenberg.




Jun 052011

On 11 November last year, I blogged about a special project, the making of a big wave gun. The wood plank pictured in that post was literally where it began. In between making boards for order and making other boards for me to surf, I’ve been slowly working on this one, spending a lot of time on the design and taking it out in between working on other boards. It’ been coming together slowly but surely. There’s still a lot of work to do, but when I can see the shape like this I really start getting excited.

This board has to survive extreme surf conditions and so I’ve added some reinforcements to the core frame. I haven’t been very worried about weight , which has been quite liberating. Guys are adding lead weights to their big-wave foam boards and according to Surfer Magazine, solid Balsa boards that are significantly heavier than foam boards are now being ridden as a matter of choice at big wave spots. With this in mind, I’ve glassed the inside bottom and the joints, used a 12mm thick stringer, and double set the rail lamination. I will also be half-setting a double stringer from tail to nose and glassing the inside top panelling. The unglassed inside sections will all be sprayed with a quick-set epoxy solution.




Dec 232010

Here’s a nine foot, handcrafted hollow wooden longboard, made out of Japanese Cedar.  As a Xmas present, it’s a one-of-a-kind – you just won’t be able to match it in any mall or shop in the country. Santa and his helpers just don’t make this kind of thing. Yes, it’s totally hollow, it’s made completely out of wood and there is no foam core.

This will be a great board for cruising at a wave like Muizenberg. And it will make a beautiful wall hanging. Contact burnett.patrick@gmail.com if you’re interested.

The  board has yet to be fine-shaped, sanded and glassed, so it’s for delivery early in the new year. The first picture is adjusted in iPhoto to give a rough idea of what the wood will look like after it has been glassed (the glassing really brings out the colour of the wood and the grain) with 4oz cloth and epoxy resin. The second picture is the raw wood as it stands.

Hey, you don’t even have to buy it as a Xmas present – just buy it anyway!

Nov 112010

I stepped out of my workshop this afternoon, away from the bright lights and into grey day. When I went in I was wearing brown shorts and a black t-shirt. I looked down at my clothes and they were white with sawdust. The hairs on my forearm were filled with a thick layer of dust. It’s been a hectic month.

Just finished an 8.0 mini-malibu that’s being sanded at the moment and should be ready for sending shortly. Always have mixed feelings about sending boards away without surfing them. And then there’s one that’s going to be especially hard to send away – a 6.0 early 1980s twin-fin with a stepped rail that has come out beautifully. It’s going to be auctioned and the money will go to the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) and Save Our Seas Foundation (blog post on this coming shortly).

Then in the background there’s the big project – the making of a 9.6 big wave gun. I’ve cut the stringer and I have some beautifully-grained 10-feet long planks. Now that I’ve finished with some orders, it’s time to plough on with this project – the idea of surfing it gives me goose bumps.