New 14′ Hollow Wooden Paddleboard Kit
It has been a hot and smokey summer around Southern Oregon this year and in some ways I’m glad to see the rains come. But this change of seasons is the classical double edge sword. On one hand, the hot days and the smoke from nearby forest fires has gone away for the year, but so has the beautiful summer weather and the great flatwater paddling we have on the local lakes. On the plus side is that the newest hollow wooden paddleboard kit I have designed, a 14’er that should be fast and fun to paddle, is sitting out on the assembly table with the framework all glued up and ready to start stripping. That’s where the season change comes into play; the lakes just aren’t as inviting when the temps barely get out of the 60’s and the sun is looking pitifully low in the sky even at mid day so it’s easier to be in the shop working on a new shape! Don’t get me wrong here; I really do like to design and build these prototype boards but the reality is that it’s hard to put in the kind of shop time required to do the job right when it’s also the time to be on the road going to races and other events that are mecca’s for the sup paddling community.
The new 14’er has been cut out via cad/cam cnc routing production methods, and although there are some very minor issues that need addressing in the next production run, this should be a fun board to assemble. A couple of things that make this board an easy build are the rocker tabs and the rail shape. The rocker tabs make for a quick assembly of the framework and the rail shape should make the rails easy to strip. This new 14′ board is designed for minimal surface area and a rail shape that keeps side chop off of the deck. I’m really looking forward to getting serious into this build and getting it into the water for a trial run by the end of the year!
I paddled my first down winder the other day and what an eye opener that was! I did ok for a first attempt but using my flatwater board for a down wind run was WORK! Not that a proper downwind board wouldn’t have been work but with limited nose rocker in my flatwater board I had to be really quick in stepping back to the tail in order to keep the nose from pearling. Most of my efforts were successful. The efforts that were not were, well, humbling. I consider myself a decent paddler and surfer both, but dealing with the short period chop left little time to get things sorted and organized for the next little wave train I wanted to go for so I found myself paddling “catch up” a lot and being slightly behind the curve. So I learned a lot, had fun and now know what the right board should be and have a design started for the next racing season.
In my world, we make things out of wood. But it wasn’t clear at first just how involved our relationship with hollow wood paddleboards would become. Surfboards, paddleboards, and sup paddles have become an obsession. I have always involved myself fully when I commit to doing anything worth doing and building these boards and paddles is no exception. True, I want to make this my business. It’s a hell of a lot more fun than building cabinets. But it’s as much about sharing the stoke and building an artful object that you can go out and play with as much as it’s about selling paddleboard kits and paddles. The boards and paddles come alive when they hit the water. “They” are in “their” element when they hit the water and I am right there to help in the effort! What do I get out of all this? It’s about sharing with others the idea that any of us can create a hollow wood paddle board or surf board if we commit to the process, show patience in our approach to the work and perservere in our efforts to bring life to humble bits of wood.