Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Make a Wooden Surfboard in 4 Days!

My good mate Stuart Bywater will be running his next wooden surfboard building workshop at the end of August 2016. It's a 4 Day Wooden Surfboard Class run on August 25th, 26th, 27th and 28th.
Each day commences at 8 am and finishes at 5 pm. The workshop includes the full assembly and gluing of the frame, gluing of the top and bottom skins, shaping the rails, fin placement, and sanding. At the end of the workshop your board will be ready for glassing. If you've always wanted to build a board but the process seemed a little daunting, then this workshop is for you. Stuart is a master craftsman and excellent teacher so you'll be in capable hands.


Here's a few photos from the May 2016 workshop.

 All the ribs have been laser cut ready for each board. Saves heaps of time.

 All the deck and bottom skins, rail bands machined and ready, there is allot of work to get this done.

 Laying out all the pieces of the puzzle.

 Ribs in and rail bands added. Hi-tech light weight clamps that do the job and that is all you need.

 Now it looks like a surfboard board coming together.

 Loosen all the clamps and check out your efforts.

 Time to glue up the timber skins and any detail pieces for pin lines. Jeff & Brad are very happy and Tim hasn't stop smiling with his progress.

 Jeff & Brad are very happy with the deck skin glue up and all those pin lines.

 This is the tail block shaped from a solid piece of Paulownia.

 This was the end of day one.

 Day two was about getting the frames sorted and the boys look pretty pleased.

So now it is about blending all those curves for a smooth transition so that the top and bottom skins sit nice and snug with no lumps.

 Skins are on, packing tape holding it all in place and then in the bag to pull it all together.

 The vacuum bagging is the best clamp you can ever use for this as it is an even pressure on all surfaces and no heavy clamps pulling it out of shape. All lined up ready for a sleep over. 
End of Day Three.

 Brad from Armidale is keeping a nice 50/50 rail on his board.

 Jed from the Goldie is making sure he has a good nose rocker for those late ones at Burleigh.

 Shane is doing his final shaping of the nose. Yep, he hasn't stopped smiling for the last 4 days.

 Sanding is always dusty, but Rod is still smiling...somewhere underneath that mask.

 G is on the final stretch and warming up fast.

 Brad sanding out his rails.

Jeff told me that this was one of the best weekends he has ever had. Jeff came and did the class with his son Brad.

The May class of 2016
Tim, Brad, Jeff, Ray, G man, Jed, Dale, Shane, Ron. Special thanks to David and Michael for their expertise this weekend.

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Palang Belly Boards - Papua New Guinea

Namaste Belly Boarders. For the past decade I've been travelling on and off to Papua New Guinea for surfing safaris and I've been fascinated by the traditional belly boards used by the kids up there. Before the arrival of conventional modern fibre glass surfboards, the local piccininis were crafting their own unique belly boards from local timbers. These belly boards are called "Palangs" which is the Tok Pisin word for plank. Palangs were traditionally made from the bottoms of old dugout canoes but in recent years the locals began fashioning these boards from native bush timbers such as Malo. Malo is a large rain forest tree with a buttress root system. The roots are cut from the tree with a bush knife and shaped into crude surf craft. Palangs were traditionally only ever ridden in the Taro harvesting season when food was plentiful and precious energy could be expended on leisurely pursuits such as surfing. These days food is abundant and the kids surf whenever the swells are around. 

Ever since I'd seen these boards being surfed I wanted to acquire one for my wooden board collection.

So with the help of one of the local Tupira surf guides I headed to Sarar beach, a small bay just south of the surf camp to see if the local kids would be keen to trade a palang. I was quite happy to pay for one but the surf camp manager Nicki suggested that I trade my paulownia belly board instead of giving money. Trading would produce a more positive outcome as the kids could use the belly board as a prototype to make more new belly boards in the surf camp's wooden board workshop.

We got to the bay, and my guide whistled the boys over to the shore from where they were surfing. He proceeded with the pitch in the local dialect. The translation went something like this:

"One of you boys is going to be very lucky today. This white fella has a really cool belly board that he wants to trade for one of your palangs".

At this point the kids looked over at me in complete disbelief. They replied (in their local dialect) "Has he had a head knock on the reef or something? Who would want to trade that really cool belly board for a piece of shit palang"?

My guide reassured them that I was of sound mind and that the offer was genuine.

So off they bolted (literally) into the scrub looking for old belly boards that they had ditched. After a couple of minutes they returned with two very weathered and well surfed boards and we made the trade. I took the smaller of the two boards out for a test drive in the bay and it surfed surprisingly well.

My paulownia belly board is 1200 mm long, 400 mm wide and about 10 mm thick. The kid who scored it was screaming past me riding it upright like an alaia. Their surf skill absolutely blows me away.

With the introduction of modern surfboards to PNG, I've noticed that the shape of the Palangs has been evolving to look more like a thruster. The noses are now more pointed and the tails more tucked in. The boards that I managed to score are still the traditional Palang shape.

 Sarar Bay

Sarar Bay

A local boy with his Palang at Tavulte

My belly board that I traded. 1200 mm x 400 mm x 10 mm

Friday, 17 June 2016

Wooden Board Day 2016

This years Wooden Board Day will be Sunday 7th of August and we will have an open forum discussion with guest speakers Tom Wegener and Stuart Bywater at around 11am so that we can find out what Tom has been up to and what projects he has been working on and what is in the pipeline for him. Stuart is a fine furniture designer and maker as well as a great teacher in the art of building wooden surfboards through his classes he conducts throughout the year. I am sure he has also learnt much from all the questions that arise in teaching board building. It will be interesting to hear Stuarts stories.

A great time to share your projects learn from others and ask all those questions form others who have learnt the hard way before you need to go there. Bring your boards, go for a surf, brake out the picnic lunch with the family in the park and soak up the day.

It is a non competitive gathering of like minded people who enjoy building and riding wooden surfboards.

We are different...  " We are a splinter Group"

Any questions flip Grant Newby an email : grantnewby@bigpond.com

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Wally and Pete's 9'1" Longboard

Namaste Wood Peckers and welcome to this latest instalment of Wally and Pete's 9'1" Longboard.

A little while ago, Wally called me up.

"Hey Wood Buddha" he said. "Can I get a copy of that absolutely awesome tube riding machine of a long board of yours?"

"Wally." I replied. " Does Ironman have stainless steel balls?"

"I don't know Wood Buddha" he said. "But I'll take that as a yes."

So I slung him the template and Wally and his son Pete got stuck into it. Between the two of them they produced a ripper of a board with some amazing nose and tail blocks. An absolute pearler if you ask me.

Heres's a few photos for your viewing pleasure.