Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Kala

6’5” single fin round-tail, single concave to double concave/vee, moderate rocker, 2 5/8” thick. Multi-color resin tint with cutlap on deck.

Monday, November 28, 2011


Konahuanui is the name of the highest peak on the Koolau range on Oahu. It sits prominently over the Hawaii Loa campus of HPU and looms large above the Pali gap (where the lookout is). The name, according to Tom Stone (professor of Hawaiian studies at Kamehameha) means “his large fruit”…as it is shaped a bit like…well, you get it.
Anyhow, this board is a full-on big wave gun – built for tackling serious North Shore surf. 9’1”x21.5”, vee in the nose and again just forward of the fin to flat out the back. This is based on inputs from a couple of prominent shapers – the vee in the nose helps negotiate chop on those big Sunset faces, and vee-to-flat in the tail provides a good balance of stability and maneuverability. Triple-stringer 2.0 EPS with heavy glass (double 6 oz bottom, triple 6 oz top).

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Gun Show

Shaping a 9’ full-bore rhino chaser.

Ride Report: Hynd Sight

Riding finless takes an entirely new mindset to surf. Paddling and catching the wave is pretty much the same…but try and crank a bottom turn off the tail like a “normal” board and you’ll just swap ends. Move your weight forward – engage much more of the rail – and order is restored. It’s  much more sensitive to small inputs; and the crutch is to stay very low and use your hands for coarse corrections – but it’s totally manageable. On a wall, once the rail bites it really takes off. On the flats it’s more squirrely. I understand D. Hynd’s 360 moves now – they functionally slow up the board while the wave catches up. Plus they are fun! Easier to paddle and take off than the alaia, with the same speed thrill.
2011 OCT 10 Sand Island2011 OCT 10 Sand Island12
2011 SEP 30 Kualoa42011 SEP 30 Kualoa5

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Hynd Sight

The natural evolution of my finless surfboard obsession was realized recently when I came across some video of Derek Hynd surfing Jeffrey’s Bay on a finless board with deep channels in the tail.

I’ve been a fan of channels for a long time – my go-to board for the North Shore in college was a 6’ 10” thruster with deep channels. It was the fastest board I had ridden and would make sections that otherwise I’d get stuck behind.
Anyhow, Mr. Hynd’s boards are somewhere in between an alaia and a modern fiberglass board, with the funky tail. I’ve had success with my hollow-wood “Nohu” board – I’ve ridden it nearly exclusively since I made it. One of my lessons learned is that the tiny little twin fins on it bite almost as much as full-sized fins.   Between the rail, the tail design and those fins, it really held tight. Maybe too tight for what I was looking for.
So I took what I could glean from Hynd’s designs and combined them with my alaia and Nohu knowledge to come up with this “Hyndsight” design. It’s 6’10”x 21 5/8”, about 3” thick but with a good amount of foam removed from the tail concaves and the nose. The top and rails were painted to match my old Sunshine quad from 1984. The bottom…well, I let my creativity get the better of me.
  1984, Florida
Left: The New model. Right: The inspiration from 1984.

Above: Pay no mind to the man behind the curtain…

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


This is for my youngest daughter, who is a pokemon fanatic. It’s the same “Malasada” template I used on the “demon hands” board, but a little thinner. It makes a great kids board as it is wide and stable, yet it is a full high-performance adult shortboard as well – thus it will grow with the kid.
I think it’s a good move to teach kids on a shortboard as soon as they are comfortable in the water. It builds strong surfing fundamentals – paddling, turning, balancing – where a longboard does not. I can always tell someone who learned to surf on a longboard – their style reflects the easy and forgiving nature of the big stick.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Malasada

It’s a “Hawaiian Biscuit”.  Short, wide in both tail and nose and shallow rocker. Vee-tail with channels for speed. K3 fins on FCS Fusion inserts. Lightweight. This board will go airborne off the lip.

Friday, July 1, 2011

A Reasonable Facsimile

One of the joys of doing surboard art is using my technical abilities to bring an artist’s design to life on foam. Noted artist Paul Arnold designed the spectacular graphic design for his Waimano model mini-longboard. For this design – I call this the “Malasada” model (it’s like a CI Biscuit…but Hawaiian) the young man who ordered the board worked up this design with his father:
Armed with my new Iwata airbrush – which, once one gets the paint consistency and air pressure figured out, works like a dream – I came up with this:

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Grey Ghost

A 7’ funboard (the “Kalaeloa Blaster” template) for my Nephew Al who just graduated from high school (Westford Academy, home of the “Grey Ghosts”). Epoxy/EPS construction with airbrushed skulls and highlights, FCS fusions and lightweight glass with a deck patch.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Paul’s Longboard

Fresh out of the shop, a sweet 8’ longboard for my high school buddy Paul. He designed the graphics and paint scheme on it, and I designed the template/shape for the board. A classic shape with concave to double concave on the bottom, soft-to-hard rails and a modern 2+1 fin setup. With the pintail and a nice continuous rocker it’ll work in just about anything from ankle slappers to overhead tubes, looking good the whole time.

Friday, May 27, 2011


The nohu, or scorpionfish, is a real ugly fish. Thus I named  my newest design after it. It’s a 7’ twin fin fish with minimal rocker and a wiiiiiide tail. I made it for small days when it’s too mushy for an alaia, as an alternative to a longboard. We’ll see how it rides – the fins are real small, so it should slide quite a bit but still bite enough for control.
Here’s the inspiration (not one of my prints):
And my take on it. Meranti marine plywood interior frame, bookmatched redwood top, redwood rails, lauan ply bottom. I actually ripped the ply and alternated the light/dark faces for the bottom, using a layer of fiberglass to bind them into a single sheet prior to gluing to the frame. It’s not the prettiest but it’s easy and  inexpensive, and stucturally both light and strong (as it’s glassed on both sides). Fins are my own design; nose/tail blocks are redwood with paulownia on the nose and mahogany on the tail block. :

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Laminating/Pinlines and a Completed Board

DSCN0375For a board like this, laminating is a multi-stage process. I like to do the majority of art and color right on the foam. Once the art is good to go, I do a “skim coat” of thin epoxy resin over the raw foam. This fills in the many small gaps and spaces between the EPS foam beads, and will provide a solid base for the glass coat to lock on to. Once it starts to kick, I’ll lay out any logos or art that I’ve done up on translucent vellum and squegee them flat, ensuring all the air bubbles are out from underneath. Then the glass goes on – while the thin “skim coat” and wet decals are kicking. A nice tight lamination, pulling out from the center to the rails, usually gives a nice flat surface with the cloth well adhered to the blank.
On this board I’ve done a fabric inlay on the nose. Once the fabric is cut out, I pour on the resin, spread it around, give it a minute or two to soak, and squegee it flat. The edges will get covered with pinlines after the lamination.
pre-lamination layoutLaminated under glassPinlines and polish
If I’m doing pinlines, I’ll wait a day or so for the first lamination to cure. I clean the board with denatured alcohol and a tack cloth,  and then lightly sand down the area where the pinline will go. Then I mask it off and lay the line using an art brush and good-quality opaque acrylic. I’ll do a thin, quick coat which will seal the edge between the board and the tape, then lay it on thicker. Once complete I pull the tapes, clean up any goofs, and it’s off to the next lam.

Between lams is also a good time to look at the board up close and far away, and see if any changes to the art need to be done. This is the last chance I’ll have to put something under glass (and thus make it a permanent part of the board).

Overall I’m fairly pleased with the end result. There are numerous imperfections that are clear to me, as I’ve hand-crafted every square inch of it from blank to polish. Everyone who’s seen it so far has been impressed; hopefully the customer will be also.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


I like to make boards with a good bit of color. Not a big fan of clear/white boards. Anyhow, Paki’s 9’0 is coming along, almost ready for glass.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

9’ 0” x 22” HP Longboard

Time lapse video of Paki’s 9’0 getting shaped. Thin, fast pintail longboard shape.


Saturday, January 22, 2011

Promo Video

Check it out:

Thursday, January 13, 2011


From the Honolulu Star Advertiser article today:

Thieves recently stole thousands of dollars worth of tools and equipment that are used to teach Hawaii children the art of building koa canoes and making their own canoe paddles at Heeia State Park.
"I hope that whoever took it feels real bad," said Alana Burrows, a board member and founder of the nonprofit Puakea Foundation of Hawaii Inc., which works to preserve Pacific Island canoe culture.
The group was formed around the ongoing work of "Uncle Bobby" Puakea, the former head coach of the Lanikai Canoe Club who was given a proclamation in 2003 by the City Council for his commitment to preserving the art and traditions of Hawaiian canoe building.
A donation of a Matson shipping container to the foundation two months ago to store dozens of power tools and hand tools meant that the 70-year-old Puakea no longer had to haul equipment in his van to and from Heeia State Park five days a week.
"He was so excited to be able to leave his things there instead of taking hours loading and unloading every day," Burrows said.
But on Jan. 3, Puakea discovered the lock missing to the 20-foot container, and the door ajar.
"First I noticed the generator missing," Puakea said. "Then I saw I was missing carving tools, grinders, power saws."
Burrows believes the theft was the work of more than one person, given the size of the equipment and the number of items stolen.
Many of the tools are used by children to learn how to make paddles and carve koa canoes under Puakea's guidance, she said.
"There were generators and large electric planers, grinders, routers, extension cords, sanders, saws, worm drive saws, circular saws. ... To replace everything will cost $2,000 to $3,000 easily," she said.
Perhaps more important, Burrows said, the theft was a violation that left Puakea "with a broken heart."
"He does all of this out of love," Burrows said. "He teaches the art of koa canoe building because Hawaiians didn't paddle fiberglass canoes. He has so much knowledge to share. And he is the artistic director, founder and reason we work so hard at doing this for free."
The foundation now will have to divert funds intended for children's workshops to start rebuilding its tool inventory, starting with generators, planers and routers.
But to make sure each child gets hands-on experience, the foundation eventually will need lots of sanders, sandpaper, routers, tongue depressors for stirring, marine-grade varnish, circular saws, tape measurers, pry bars, clamps and other equipment, Burrows said.
For more information, contact Burrows at 342-5262 or
I've attended a few of Mr. Puakea's seminars on traditional canoe making. As well as being one of the few remaining folks with the knowledge of the art of traditional canoe building, he is the embodiment of old-time aloha. I remember once when a particularly self-important guy with a euro accent kept interrupting his talk asking why he didn't do things a different way...I wanted to get in the guy's face and tell him to shut up, but Uncle Bobby smiled and just said something that made the guy feel smart, and moved on.

I can only guess that the folks who ripped him off were druggies. No one who knows what he does for the community, and the importance of his stewardship of the craft, could be so heartless.

If you're on Oahu, and you have some spare tools in your shop, please consider contacting them to see if they can use a donation. I've been looking for a reason to upgrade a few items in the shop and I think this is the sign I was looking for.