Back in the early 1960's I was doing ding repairs for So Cal surf shops ranging from Dana Point up to the San Fernando Valley. I used to hit the shops every week or so to pick up dinged boards and drop off the repaired ones. Those were kind of the glory days for the ding repair business because the boards were so big and heavy that when they bumped each other the dings were pretty significant. The congestion at Doheny and Malibu alone gave me virtually endless work.
ABOUT WOOD SURFBOARD PLANS
Ding repair was a pretty good gig but I really wanted to build my own surfboard. I met Jack Hokanson when he opened a "Jack's Surf Shop" in Anaheim. It was a small spinoff shop from his Huntington Beach location and it sold surfboards, skateboards, wetsuits, and and other surf-related stuff. I used to hang out there and drool over the new boards. Jack knew I wanted a foam blank but since virtually every penny I made went for gas and taco's my chances of being a paying customer weren't good. I finally managed to talk him into trading a bunch of 8 x 10 action photos I had taken at the 1963 West Coast Surfing Championships for an ugly 9'8" hard-shell blank nobody else wanted. I sanded it and got rid of the bumps and yellow spots and glassed it with 20 oz cloth (yup, 20 oz.). The resulting board was wide, flat, and kinda heavy but it was "my board" and I loved it. My shaping and glassing skills got better over the years but that first board - as crude as it was - will always be special to me.
The surfboard industry went into shock in 2005 when Clark foam abruptly closed. Looking back though, it was great for me because a few months earlier I had started working on building my first hollow wooden surfboard. It was an idea I'd had in my mind for several years and I started working on it at just the right time. My goal was to make a wood board that had a modern shape, surfed well, and didn't produce a bunch of toxic waste. I didn't have a lot of woodworking experience so I had to learn as I went along. During the build I took lots of pictures of both the things that went right and the things that didn't. I assembled everything into a book and figured out how to convert that to a pdf file (which wasn't that easy in those days). The result was Version 1.0 of the instruction manual "How to Build a Hollow Wooden Surfboard". When I listed it on eBay the response was amazing. Turns out there were lots of people that wanted to build a hollow wooden surfboard!
We've grown and improved over the years. That first book has gone through 14+ updates as the boards evolved from flat-decked boards that tended to be a little heavy to the dome-decked boards we offer today. But the idea is the same, build a real wooden surfboard that looks good, surfs great and is made using a process that cuts the damage to the environment.
We feel very blessed to have lasted so long in this industry. It's great knowing that we've helped thousands of people build their "dream board". We are never too busy to answer questions and we'd love to help you build the nicest board you'll ever own. Contact me any time at email@example.com