balsa wood
clamping wooden surfboard
Interior view of wood surfboard
Balsa hollow wood surfboard
wooden fish surfboard
eco-friendly wooden surfboard
making of a hollow wood surfboard
surfboard making workshop
wooden surfboards


   Wooden surfboards have been documented as early as 3000BC in surfboard history, which were used by Peruvian fishermen. Though Hawaii is where it really begins. Back in 1777 Captain James Cook recorded sightings in his journal of Hawaiians riding waves on giant wooden boards. Surfing in Hawaii was a spiritual activity. There were two kinds of surfboards, the 'Olo' and the 'Alaia' which were made from Wili Wili, the Ula, and the Koa trees. The 'Olo' was 14-16ft long and rode only by chiefs and noblemen and the 'Alaia' was 10-12ft long and were rode by commoners. In the 19th century surfing almost died out and didn't make a comeback until the 20th century. A man named George Freeth decided to experiment with the wooden surfboard design and cut the board in size to a 6-10ft board. He then took his board to California where he became the first professional surfer. The next major design change to the wooden board was made by Tom Blake, who designed the first hollow board. The board was referred to by the Hawaiians as a 'Cigar Board' due to its design of many holes on the interior and then encased by a thin board on top and below. This new hollow surfboard proved to be faster and became the first mass produced board.

 History of  The Wooden Surfboard

  Our handcrafted hollow wooden surfboards are made from a variety of woods such as balsa, western red cedar, eastern white cedar, teak, walnut, and pine.  Each board is made using carefully selected planks that are structurally sound and visually appealing.  When selecting the planks to be used on the decks, we look for "imperfections" such as knots and turn them into "beauty marks" whenever possible.  All species of wood are unique and bring with them a vast array of qualities.  Our intention is to hone in on the special attributes of each species.


  Each phase of the construction process compliments and strengthens the structure of the board.  Once the bottom deck and the frame have been separately constructed, they are adhered to each other using a flexible, non-drying, waterproof adhesive.  This process ensures uniform weight distribution throughout the board, particularly while under live load stresses of both the surfer and the oncoming wave traffic.  The rails are glued in individual strips along the edges of the board and then trimmed to fit the top deck.  Before enclosing the board with the top deck, provisions are made for fin blocking, leash plugs, and vent plug placement-the vent plug insures that the board will not let water in but will allow air to escape with changing pressure.  Once all of the components are glued and dry, the shaping of the board begins.  Although the overall shape of the board is largely dictated by the frame design, it is during this stage that the board truly starts taking on its finished shape. The rails are planed and sanded to suit the roundness and sharpness needed for the board to perform in its intended wave environment.  This concludes the "building" aspect of the board.  


In order to make the board waterproof, fiberglass cloth and resin are applied to the board.  This process is commonly known as "glassing".  The glassing procedure consists of an initial "squeegee" coat- to wet out the cloth, a hot-coat, and more-than-likely, a touch up coat or secondary hot coat.  Much sanding is required in between coats to smooth out uneven surfaces.  Once the board is evenly coated and sanded to a smooth consistency, it is further sanded to the desired preference of sheen.    


   To add to the originality we offer the option of utilizing the board as a canvas and truly making a statement through personal expression or a choice of  select artists prior to glassing.   

Big 'O' Bords are eco friendly, beautiful pieces of art, and provide a smooth ride unparalleled to a conventional foam board.

Big 'O' Bords Uniqueness