Weekend projects #47 (fun wave special DIY)

Andy Powers, surfer-musician-guitar builder, has blended a classic ‘Simmons design’ with and the Alaia to create… well, something … hem, whaw, mmm …

(read on to get inspired with next weekend’s project…)

With two small finlets on the corners of a wide square tail, parallel rails, and a concave bottom borrowed from Simmons’ designs, it’s constructed from thin, flat, flexible and not-very-buoyant wood, similar to an alaia; light balsa wood with redwood rails, weighing in a bit under three kilos.


“My brother got the idea to try one of these, so I bought some wood for him to make one. That first one didn’t ride too well for me, but it was fun enough to try to make some bet­ter ones. What I’ve been rid­ing lately is a combination—a real mutt of a board! I’ve been lam­i­nat­ing a blank of balsa and sal­vaged red­wood, like the old Pacific Sys­tem Homes boards. They are thin and flex­i­ble like an alaia, but with the bot­tom con­tours of a Simmons-built spoon. My favourite one even has two small “fin­lets,” those lit­tle ellip­ti­cal fins you see on the Sim­mons. The bot­tom has a long sin­gle con­cave, almost the entire length of the board, with a bevelled rail.”

“The rails have a hard cor­ner onto that bot­tom bevel, then grad­u­ally blend­ing into a very turned up rail near the nose. The whole thing is pretty small, about 6’3” x 15.5” and a lit­tle less than an inch thick. It is a ridicu­lously fun thing to ride on a small glassy wave; you can feel every lit­tle flex and move­ment. It feels like you are flow­ing with the wave. It is a really dynamic kind of experience.”

“The rail contour seems like the important part. It has a chamfered bottom with a hard rail in the tail, slowly tapering to a very upturned rail in the nose for some forgiveness,” says Andy.

“The template on my current version has a pretty smooth curve, but a slight concave in the middle of the board’s outline. This seems to really help the tail stick to the wave and hold a clean trim.”

Neat pics from surf-shot and text grabs stolen from here and here.