Why do we build hollow surf and sup boards? Certainly not because it’s a quick or inexpensive way to get on the water! So, why? Since the first time I experienced sailing our garage-built sailing dingy as a kid, there has been a kind of magic in the process of building “homemade” watercraft, then going out and using them for fun and adventure. The passion for building things started with that garage-built sailing dingy and soon after I got out of the military as a young man, I could hardly think about anything but how to get my own sailboat. At that time in my life the process was all about sailing off into the sunset in search of perfect waves, but when I assessed my finances I quickly concluded that I couldn’t just buy the boat I wanted and sail away. But I did have enough cash to start building a sailboat one piece at a time so the boat building adventure soon started. I launched the boat two years later and sailed off in search of warm water and clean surf. I loved that part of my life, but after a few years moved on to other adventures, always wondering if I would ever experience that sense of accomplishment that came with creating and using my own vessel.
Years of riding surfboards, while also perfecting the craft of woodworking, led to a convergence of skills and interests when stand up paddle boarding came onto my horizon. I always wondered if I was ever going to experience the satisfaction of creating and using my own watercraft again, but I didn’t want to build another large craft. Hollow wooden boards seemed to be the perfect size….and I definitely was hooked on paddling sup’s! Off I have gone on this new adventure and I’m feeling that same sense of accomplishment and adventure that came when I built my own ocean going sailboat.
Building hollow boards has become much more than a business for me. It’s a personal journey that rewards me with every stroke of the block plane, and the big payoff is that I get to paddle a beautiful, functional craft that I built with my own hands. I continue to meet a wonderful cross section of interesting and engaged people in the sport and the building process both and am fascinated by the wide variety folks that decide to embark on the hollow wood board path.
If you decide to go down the hollow wood board path, be prepared to pay some “dues”. There is much to be learned and huge rewards to be gained. You will be rewarded with a beautiful craft that you have built yourself and that you can enjoy for many years to come. Enjoy the adventure!