'Balsa's French surfboards history photos ......

as a friend who sent this to me today said,

“we were all groms once”

a '70s single fin…

“artwork” aside , I like the shape …how about you ,young sir Josh ??

cheers !


I’ve seen this before. French made ?

Be good for waves like Wiamea, A little too narrow for me. (is the board around 73’) good to see more single fins. “keep em comming” hehe.

7’ x 17 1/4 x 3" at least , he said …

Pierre , I would probably be shot if I told you .


I like the shape of this one also

but still prefer

Quite simaler in outline.


7’ x 17 1/4 x 3" at least

17 1/4" thats getting narrow. must be spearlike to surf at 3" and 7’. cool!


7’ x 17 1/4 x 3" at least , he said …

Pierre , I would probably be shot if I told you .


Too late …

PierreB, you just got shot.

As I told Ben, “We were all groms once…”

Pretty handsome grom, I would say… That’s what chicks kept saying, anyway…

Hi balsa,

Is that your Greek pintail on the left ?

I’m pretty sure that the Maui model pintail is what the girls were referring to, no offense! Such a radical tail for the time, I can see why you’re nostaligic. My lovely French wife and I have both commented on the single fin deco on many occasions, way ahead of its time.

Pierre, yes it is… (sigh…) And you will have noticed that the original “tigertail” fin had already been broken and replaced by what was in stock at Barland’s back then…

The original fin was pretty much like this one, except with resin swirls.

Jeffrey, YOU, at least (and your charming wife, too), are loyal supporters. Thank you both.

Were you fan of Don Quichotte ? LOL

Er, sorry, Pierre, but you will have to explain this one…

I’m afraid I didn’t quite get it.

Is that private “girondin” humour?

Your painting made me though of a Don Quichotte portrait with some 70s psyche Dalipicassian edge.

Now, I understand better that twisted fin of yours that you put on that fine hollow balsa longboard-gun.

Believe me, maybe it’s time for glasses. That might really change your outlook on the world…

french humour [??] aside , check out THESE ones the same "mystery person " sent me …

…keep them coming , “Mr. X”

[yeah …THANKS , Pierre ! Nice “unmasking” there, buddy !]


10’ triple stringer and 13yo mysto boy wonder …

and the fin …

(Merci Dieu for people who took photos at that time eh ?!)

and , do you have a shot of that even NARROWER gun you told me about , please ?

cheers !

monsieur ben


…keep them coming , “Mr. X”

cheers !

monsieur ben

You aint seen nothing yet mate… You should ask for the nose flip model.

But you also really need to see the gorgeous curved stringer blue gun. It’ s a pity that you’re selling that one (if anyone wants to purchase a gun, this one is really a gem).

…alright !! thanks for the info , Pierre …

“Balsa’s photos thread” , here we come ! [I’ll rename this , if you post 'em!]

…please , Bill ?

…whatever other gems you want to post mate …let’s see some French surfboard history eh ?

love to see them !

cheers !


[you too , please , Pierre , or any other er more “mature” [read : “older” french blokes out there …]

www.whenIwasyoung.com From: balsa

Date Sent:

Dec 14, 2005, 4:22 AM

Winter 1969. While a huge swell hits Hawaii, two young surfers landlocked in Paris decide to build their first surfboard. No foam blanks are available back then. The two young surfers have heard about balsa being used in old pre-foam era boards, and they somehow manage to find a wood supplier who carries some. Problem: lengths over 5’ are not detailed, you have to buy a full 1M3 of them and the two young surfers can’t afford that.

So they decide to build a 5’00" balsa surfboard.

Shaping and glassing are done in a bedroom. Balsa lumbers are glued together using rubber straps. All the shaping is done by hand, of course, with small block plane, a rasp and some sandpaper. When they start glassing, the smell makes neighbors think of gas leakage and they call the fire brigade. The two young surfers have a hard time explaining to the firemen what a surfboard is.

At last, the “thing” is over. The two young surfers are so proud of their first creation that they go under the “Arc de Triomphe” (second most famous monument in Paris, right after the Eiffel Tower) to take some shots.

Only one of those has made it through all these years. Here it is: my old friend Daniel proudly displaying our first “board” right next to the famous unknown soldier flame…

Seems like Ben had some photo uploading problem. Here it is: