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Aloha,

If you’re interested in making an Alaia surfboard this post will help you select the wood you’ll need. This is part of a larger manual which details the entire alaia shaping process. If you’re interested in the rest of it you can get it on our “Manual” page where it’s on sale.  Anyway, here’s the wood section:

Wood – Paulownia is the golden crown of wood for Alaias. However, if you have even thought of making an alaia before this you might know by know that Paulownia is either hard to get a hold of or expensive (usually around $300 and up for a ready-to-cut blank). Those of you who live in Australia or Asia (which I assume are not many of you) it might be a bit easier and/or less expensive as Paulownia is either native to your region or just more accessible there. If you intend to surf it, can find the wood, and have the money, I recommend it. Paulownia weighs about 15 lb/ft^3 as opposed to the next lightest would ceder which is closer to 23 lb/ft^3. For making an Alaia, you can’t beat Paulownia.

However, I would bet that most of you don’t have either the money or access to Pualownia. So to you guys, look into cedar (22 lb/ft ^3, but fairly weak) pine (28 lb/ft^3) douglas fir (30 lb/ft^3), poplar (28 lb/ft^3) or any other wood you can find that has a relatively high strength to weight ratio. Remember, the weight of your board will determine it’s buoyancy and your ability to catch waves, so make sure to get the lightest stuff you can (but don’t give up too much in strength either, for example, balsa is only 11lb/ft^3 but is so weak it would surely break on you).

For those of you making a decorative board only, well, it really doesn’t matter what kind of wood you use. Just pick something pretty.

If you’re not sure what to get I’d recommend heading to your local book store to check out a book about wood. Books like the Encyclopedia of Wood give you a more detailed breakdown of wood weights and strengths; knowledge that will help you decide on a certain type.

Hope that helps get you started.

Mahalo,

Jeremy
-Papa Kai-

Alaia Surfboard: Choosing Wood to Make an Alaia

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