Saturday, January 30, 2010


Of the variety of surfboards ridden by pre-contact Hawaiians (among them were alaia, olo, kiko'o, and paipo), the alaia was probably the most versatile. They ranged in size from 6' to 12', and were usually made from ulu, koa, or wiliwili. Usually, they were thin (.75"-1") and finless.
Recently, alaias have undergone a resurgence, in large part due to the work of shapers like Tom Wegener, who have basically reverse-engineered the design. For more information on Mr. Wegener's journey, watch the talk he gave at Patagonia's Cardiff Surf Shop (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4). For an idea of how the boards work watch this video:
You can also get a pretty good sense of the sliding effect by looking at this picture of
the always stylish Rob Machado:
And here's a photograph of one of the greatest dramatists in history, George Bernard Shaw, not holding his Nobel Prize. (This one's gonna be a huge get for theater historians and dramaturgs. You apologize in advance to the surfers, in case they see a bunch of pasty intellectuals in the lineup trying to tap into the Shavian stoke.)

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