Alaia Making, the business side of fun

The making of traditional Hawaiian surfboards is a growing passion of mine. Business should always be fuelled by passion so perhaps that is where my timber planks will lead grow. Due to the reality of spending most of my time travelling, the creation of these sliding devices is difficult. But when the time and opportunity presents itself I can be found in my workshop covered in sawdust scouting the grain with a grin.

 My enthusiasm for these boards was fuelled by buying a cheap old alaia from a second hand surf shop on the northern beaches of sydney. I rode this alaia for about 6 months, catching some of the best waves I've ever ridden, During that time I repaired it 4 times. The timber was tiring, over 8 feet long and only 11mm thick in the centre with a huge concave made it a casualty of long grain splits from tail to nose.  Each break and repair of this beautiful board also made me realise how much I loved it, so I decided to research more; and before I knew it I had shaped three, a 6ft 3" little terror called Poi, based off Tom Wegners peanut model but with a wider tail and a narrower nose. A 6ft 8" Bullet with a huge concave and wide nose perfect for bigger waves with alot of face to find the space to carve and trim, named Uncle George, this board has surfed everything from 5ft tofino, 10ft ho'okipa to 15ft Punta de Lobos. Both of these boards I'm carrying with me right now. The third I shaped was a slightly smaller and slightly thicker replica of my original, named Lani, it's basically a log. you can step all over the thing and in small swell it's all you need.

"A board is like a human, you don't bury it when it breaks, you patch it up and show a little love, the scars give it character and can tell our story"

I've got a huge woodworking shop just outside bellingen from which I shape everything. I use Paulownia for every board and source it from a good friend and fellow surfer Karl Seahorse. I make the blanks myself from 45 x 150 mm planks joining them with biscuits and finishing the whole board off with a coat of Bees wax. My reasons for not using linseed oil are for the sake of repairs. My philosophy is: "A board is like a human, you don't bury it when it breaks, you patch it up and show a little love, the scars give it character and can tell our story". The use of linseed oil, makes re-glueing difficult to near impossible, the linseed oil  penetrates the wood making the epoxy glue less likely to hold. Bees wax is natural and while it doesn't give the stained beautiful finish of linseed it looks natural and humble.


The original Alaia that ignited my love for the simplicity of this kind of riding waves was named Lani, at a little over 8 ft long she seemed leggy and elegant. Paddling fast and effortlessly, was an easy transition as far as riding finless timber boards go.


Healing time. This was one of many scars that this board endured at my feet.


Day to day sliding,  where I am now. here.


So the plan is to make more, to spread the idea to others, and share the stoke. My suitcases are packed and I'm on a road. If you're interested in riding an alaia feel free to contact me. my details are on the "staying in touch" tab of this blog.



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