Inspirational. That’s the best word I can think of to describe the experience of being part of Groundswell Wooden Surfboard’s first board building course. Five guys literally lived hollow wooden surfboards for a week at Imhoff Farm Village in Kommetjie, taking a pile of planks and shaping them into stunning wooden surfboards.
I’m totally inspired and humbled by the amazing group of guys who joined up for the first course: The two Patrick’s, Lewin and Matthew demonstrated buckets of enthusiasm, commitment, engagement, skill and craftsmanship. The result is four boards that are truly beautiful and a credit to the craft of wooden board building. Check out the gallery below for some great visuals of the location, how things unfolded and the boards produced.
What’s been great about this course is that it has shown how a group of guys with no experience in board building can craft their own wooden boards that are not only functional, but also highly individualized works of art.
The course has also crystallized something for me that I think I’ve known for a while without being able to articulate. Watching four guys at work making their own boards – rather than being the one building a board – showed me that there’s something very meaningful in the process. It’s not just about producing a surfboard that is pleasing to look at, although that is an important end result. The process of craftsmanship that the guys engaged in seems to me to be about far more – it is a process of expressing human qualities that we all have, but which maybe often don’t have expression in our daily lives. It’s about connecting the movement of our hands with our brains, of creativity, of expressing passion and love through the creation of something that is so closely connected to surfing, an activity which we are all deeply connected to. Seen this way each board is a a journey, really, and one I’ll gladly take over and over again.
But don’t take my word for it. Check out the pictures below and write to firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to sign up for a course. Click here for our course schedule for the rest of 2013.
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It’s been a very busy few months at Groundswell Wooden Surfboards. We’ve been hard at work building custom boards and preparing for our courses in May, June and beyond. The gallery below has a selection of some of the boards we’ve made recently and some pictures of how we build them.
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Resin on wood: I love seeing the grain stand out when the first brush of resin goes on a new hollow wood surfboard. Beautiful and a really rewarding part of building a wood surfboard.
“Just wanted to say a very big thank you for the amazing surfboard you made & sent up. Its flippen awesome & genuine piece of art!” That’s a quote from one happy customer about a board we made recently. Feedback like this obviously makes us happy and is further motivation to strive to make the most beautiful, finely-crafted and functional hollow wood surfboards that can possibly be made. It’s a life’s journey and we’re always learning. Every day.
Other news from Groundswell Wood Surfboards is that we’re hard at work preparing for the course being held at the beginning of May. Four guys are going to be building some awesome boards in the space of a week – an 11′ longboard, two 6′.4″ eggs and a 6’4″ fish. Stand by for further pictures, either on this website or keep up to date through our Facebook profile.
And I’m really excited about an artist/artisan collaboration with fine artist Kelly John Gough. The board is nearly done and then I’ll be handing it over to Kelly to work some magic. Stand by for pictures soon.
Below are pictures of some of the amazing boards that have been made in the last few weeks. Have a look and if you want to order one, please write to email@example.com
Groundswell Wood Surfboards, makers of finely crafted hollow wooden surfboards since 2007, will be running a six-day course on wooden surfboard building in May 2013. Those participating will walk away from the course with their own handcrafted and very beautiful hollow wooden surfboard.
The course will take builders through all the theoretical and practical aspects of building a wood surfboard. We’ll look at the different types of timber, the environmental aspects and the design dynamics underpinning wood surfboards. This will be combined with the practical process of crafting a surfboard from a pile of planks into a one-of-a-kind work of art that can be surfed.
Participants can choose from any of the hollow wooden surfboard models we’ve developed and tested at Groundswell Wood Surfboards, which can be viewed here. We can also accommodate custom requirements*.
It’s not essential that you have DIY or woodworking experience as we’ve devised a programme that everyone can follow. Both ladies and gents are welcome. Participants will build their own board (it won’t be done for you), under expert assistance, so you must be prepared to do a degree of work. The course is inclusive of all tools and materials. Lunch will be supplied.
Dates: 6-11 May 2013, 8.30am – 5pm.
Venue: Cape Town. Details of the exact venue will be forthcoming.
Places are limited so if you are interested, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org or call Patrick on 073 232 3043 to register your interest. Questions welcome.
- Tuition: R4,000
- Cost of materials: R2,500-4,000, depending on the length of board ordered
* Custom orders cost R1,000 extra.
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Wood is wood, right? Nope. Just take a look at the grain on this 9’7″ hollow wooden longboard and you’ll understand. Even looking at the rough timber it was possible to see there was going to be a beautiful grain in the piece of Western Red Cedar used for this board, but it wasn’t until glassing that it really started to shine. The lighter colour wood strips are poplar and the contrast works well. Sold at the The Corner Surf Shop, Cape Town’s oldest surf shop.
The first 9’6” longboard made by Groundswell Wood Surfboards has long been on display at Pisces Divers. What’s worth a mention now is that Pisces Divers has moved to amazing new premises in Simonstown.
The building housing the dive centre boasts huge wooden sliding doors with the original fittings – above which hangs the Groundswell longboard (watch it being hang-fived here) – and massive Oregon pine roof beams that ooze character and style.
Situated 200m before the Simonstown Railway station on Main Road, the space was on display for the first time at a roof wetting party last week. It is stunning!
It’s big enough for Pisces to run a full dive centre complete with retail space and coffee shop. They’re minutes away from excellent shore dive sites or from their launch site to deeper reefs and wrecks with their dive boat.
I’m stoked to have a board on the wall of such a character-filled building and business.
And lastly, the table pictured above was also made by Groundswell. It’s nearly 3m long and made out of beautiful Oregon pine, standing as a centre piece in the middle of the shop.
Pictured here is a stoked Donovan Seymour, the winner of a Groundswell Wood Surfboard that was up for grabs in a partnership with Pakalolo’s restaurant and bar in Hout Bay and Jack Black’s craft beer.
Over the last three months, the beautiful twin-keel hollow wooden fish has been mounted on the wall at Pakalolo’s. Every time someone ordered a pint of Jack Black’s craft beer, their name was entered for the draw.
On Tuesday night the pints of Jack Black’s craft beer flowed freely as Pakalolo patrons keen to win the board made their last gulps in the hope of getting lucky. One guy I spoke to at the bar had put down five pints by 7pm.
But it was a thrilled Donovan whose name was drawn from the thousands of entries. He exploded into a jig in front of the DJ and performed multiple fist pumps. With his Movember mo, you just couldn’t take the smile off his face and it was great to see. A more stoked dude you would not have found in the whole of Cape Town.
Donovan described how he had seen the board while at Pakalolo’s on Friday night with friends. “I just thought to myself that’s mine,” he said. And it was. Donovan even hopped on his scooter and traveled across Cape Town from the West Coast to attend the draw.
He has won a board that could never be replicated and is a global one-of-a-kind. It is made from South African-grown redwood, with the bottom of the board made up of two planks of bookmarked timber cut with a very wide saw from the same piece of wood. The top is made from South African-grown Japanese Cedar and redwood. Click here and here to see more pictures of the board that Donovan won.
Groundswell Wood Surfboards would like to thank Stefan Richter from Pakalolo’s restaurant and bar in Hout Bay and Jack Black’s craft beer for pulling off an awesome raffle and great evening.
It’s great to get local support from Pakalolo’s and great to see a delicious Cape Town-based craft beer go from strength to strength.
It’s finally under glass. Sometimes it really has seemed like it was never going to get there and now that it is I feel a great sense of relief. That’s because once the first layer of resin goes on, it seals the hours and hours of woodwork – the measuring, the eyeballing, the planing, the scraping, the sanding, the constant attempt to strike a balance between getting it just right or pushing it over the edge and blowing it. Once the glass is on, there’s no going back. At times, I’ve felt like I’ve blown it; now that the glassing is on, I know it’s good.
This board has been some months in the making. It has a rolled bottom going into a V on the tail, and is made out of striking Western Red Cedar with poplar accent strips. It’s a special one and I’ll be posting the full story soon. In the meantime, here are some pictures that give a hint of what to expect.