Im not one to follow trends some say the Alaia is now tainted with the try hard label. One thing is for sure you try fu#@ing hard when you ride them
My friend who is a talented wood maker and i embarked on the challenge of hand shaping these ancient Hawaiian boards.
The workshop in all its glory.
I am hooked. The feeling of effortless speed the endless challenge of holding your rail the simplicity of flow the awakening of soul.
Ruby at tea time.
Feature story written for www.dylamagazine.com
I have been curious about alaias for some time. Project alaia started after a good friend of mine who steers away from any form of attention shaped a 5 11 red wood alaia the beauty of the soulful board was instantly captivating. On my first attempt at riding the alaia i was amazed at the speed you could generate it was an incredibly challenging and a whole new approach to the way i surfed needless to say i was hooked.
Although red wood alaias look the part they dont allow for the same amount of buoyancy paulownia wood does, believe me even the smallest amount of extra floatation when your riding one of these is worth its weight in gold. These blanks arrived on my doorstep from surfing green a company that focuses on the importance of keeping the ocean and surfing lifestyle as environmentally sustained and aware as possible which is always a good thing.
Its not to often you get hands on when it comes to surfing. Most surfers pick up a phone or an order form and ponder there dimensions and sprays. It is quite amazing to get hands on and really break down an ancient art-form.
3 The first step is cutting the Paulownia wood to your desired height and width you can play around with the tail we decided to stick with the basic concave square tail.
4 After you have cut out you desired board dimensions comes the sanding, sanding and more sanding.
5 You can use an electric sander during the early stages of refining the thickness but as it gets closer to the thinning edges its back to being hands on.
Adding concave. Besides giving the overall visual appearance of the board a bit of a modern approach from my experience riding them it only enhances the speed you can generate on a wave.
SEAL THE DEAL
6 Oiling the boards,Bio varnish is suitable for sealing alaias and other wooden surfboards. It is an eco friendly and non toxic product. This is due to the oil being Based on modified plant oil, wood oil, rosin, titanium dioxide, mica, silica, bentone, soja lecithin, UV-protector, paraffin oil, lemon peel oil, pine oil, Lead free drying agents. Wouldt it be good if resin could be so eco friendly.
7 Enjoy. Riding an Alaia is challenging yet so rewarding its all about refining your surfing, using your rail, embracing your new found speed, all with more soul then a 1970s single fin!
I was amazed at the speed you could generate on my first attempt at riding the alaia