Pakalolo restaurant and bar in Hout Bay have an excellent promotion going, in association with Jack Black beer. Visit the bar and buy a pint of Jack Black and you could be in line to win the surfboard pictured here – a beautiful, handcrafted hollow wood twin-keel fish made by Groundswell Wood Surfboards.
Jack Black, a Cape Town based craft beer company inspired by traditional recipes from America to England, have their distinctive logo glassed into the board, which is made from some striking pieces of South African redwood, perfectly bookmarked with character-filled knots and a swirling grain.
All you have to do for your grab at this collector’s item board is to visit Pakalolo – situated at the bottom of Chappies in Hout Bay – and order a pint of delicious and distinctive Jack Black.
The draw takes place at a party on 27 November, so Christmas is definitely coming early for one lucky beer drinker. The more Jack Black you order the more tickets you get.
There are over 60 pieces of wood in the 5’4″ twin-keel hollow wooden fish in this video. This means that, at a minimum, over 100 cuts were made with different varieties of saws to get those pieces of wood to the right length and width. That’s to say nothing about planing the wood to the correct thickness, edging, hundreds of individual clamp applications, hand shaping of the rails, sanding through numerous grits of sandpaper, glassing, more sanding and final polishing. Take all of that graft away though, and essentially this surfboard was once a collection of rough planks on my workshop floor. And before that it was a tree, swaying naturally in the wind. Watching Alan and Simone Robb get to grips with the flex and flotation of wood, it seems like the timber’s memory of swaying in the wind has been given new life as the sway of the wind becomes the flow across the wave face.
Some spots just keep on giving.
I haven’t been going as much as I used to, distracted by wanting to surf other waves, kids, work. And the crowds, you tell yourself, mean it’s not worth the trip.
You forget that it’s the sense of place too, the history, the familiarity that has somehow found it’s way into who you are. Or the way you shed a load of stress when you step out of the car and look across the bay and down the beach at a scene that, compared to some places, really hasn’t changed much at all since you first visited 25 years ago.
There really wasn’t anywhere I would rather have gone when it came to a camping trip. It was calling me somehow, even though the swell forecast was dim and I wasn’t expecting waves. Like the handprints in the rock paintings that symbolize the drawing of strength from the rock face, I somehow needed to go there to rejuvenate, fill up.
And it gave. Small and fast, breaking into a howling wind, the ocean white capping on the outside. Go for a paddle, I thought, and then hooked one all the way from the outside almost to the beach. That was worth it. And then another. And another. The best surfs are when you don’t know how good it’s going to be.
Light a fire, crack a beer, watch the skyline turn orange, hear the waves crashing, the first star coming out, the silouette of the point. ‘Do you want potatotes and salad with the meat,’ I tune my lightie. ‘Just meat Dad, we’re South African my bru,’ he chirps. Later, bored with cooking one at a time, he wants to take the whole packet of marshmallows and chuck them in the foil we didn’t use for the potatoes and then put them in the fire – with a slab of chocolate on top. Yum. Gooey like melted marshmellow. Kids have the best ideas sometimes.
And that’s it.
All shapes are available for sale. Groundswell surfboards are also available for shop displays. If you’d like to arrange to have a beautiful wood-grained surfboard hung in your shop, then write to email@example.com Visit our gallery for more pictures showing how beautiful these boards are.
Just finished the woodwork on these two fish shapes. The one is a 6.0 and the other is a 7.4 – an interesting interpretation of the fish shape. This is the funny fish, destined for the stage with comedian Mark Sampson, as blogged about a few posts ago, but also certain to see some water time, knowing Mark’s enthusiasm for surfing. Mark, if you’re out there somewhere, there ain’t no surf in JHB dude!
Soon we’ll be posting some extraordinary footage of the 5.6 eggy quad made out of wood (pictured here) shooting down the line popping floaters and then showing that it can also take a hang five just for fun. In this picture, the pocket rocket is being surfed as a twin-fin and being put through its turns with a grab rail carve.
Here’s a selection of hollow wooden surfboard shapes, from a 5.6 egg shape that is just about finished right through to a 9.6 gun. It’s a good time to post a picture showing all the boards together because this website was two years old in August and Groundswell Surfboards as a journey in wood surfboard making is now four years old.
It seemed crazy to start making and riding wood surfboards and four years later it still seems crazy, but maybe a little less so. The greatest thing about making hollow wooden surfboards has been the people that I have come into contact with. From the countless people who have stopped and asked about the boards at the beach and taken the time to chat about surfing waves and life in general, to those who know more than me and have offered advice and encouragement along the way (Annabel, Milan, Byron, Ralph, Wade, Robin, Patricia, Cees, Anja, Cath, Fred, John, Mark, Mike, Ray, Kev, Steve, Spike, Adrian, Chris, Andy, Lee, Justin, Kelly, Peggy , Stefan and many more) to those that have taken a leap of faith and actually bought one, I’m really, really grateful. Thank-you!
I stepped out of my workshop this afternoon, away from the bright lights and into grey day. When I went in I was wearing brown shorts and a black t-shirt. I looked down at my clothes and they were white with sawdust. The hairs on my forearm were filled with a thick layer of dust. It’s been a hectic month.
Just finished an 8.0 mini-malibu that’s being sanded at the moment and should be ready for sending shortly. Always have mixed feelings about sending boards away without surfing them. And then there’s one that’s going to be especially hard to send away – a 6.0 early 1980s twin-fin with a stepped rail that has come out beautifully. It’s going to be auctioned and the money will go to the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) and Save Our Seas Foundation (blog post on this coming shortly).
Then in the background there’s the big project – the making of a 9.6 big wave gun. I’ve cut the stringer and I have some beautifully-grained 10-feet long planks. Now that I’ve finished with some orders, it’s time to plough on with this project – the idea of surfing it gives me goose bumps.
Here’s a shot of the latest fish model. It’s a 5.9 and although I haven’t weighed it yet, it’s very light for a hollow wood board. It was great fun on four foot reef waves earlier in the week. See the gallery for a larger image.