Concave Paipo

For alternative surfcraft afficionados, does anybody have knowledge about the home-made wooden concave paipos ridden by an older guy on the Oahu westside?  Last December the North Shore was a wee bit too big for my capabilities so we drove over to surf Makaha, breaking 6' to 10' (Californian), 4' to 6' (Hawaiian).  It was great.  There was one older guy in the water who just charged on a wooden concave paipo.  This guy caught every set.  He told me he made the boards in his wood shop in his garage.  I believe his board had two smaller twin fins.  One of the "boys" at the lifeguard stand told me the guy was a long-time "Makaha legend."  Thanks.  Envesq

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Hi Grumpy -

Rod also has compiled some excellent paipo rider intervirews.  The Makaha gut might be one of the the subjects.

Hi John

I think you may be right.


I don’t believe we have interviewed a guy who rode paipo with small fins.on a wood paipo. Larry’s friend Harry Akisada rides finless boards as far as I know.

The interview with Larry may take a little time to load, but includes a photo of Harry and some other paipo guys.  See

If it’s not Harry, let me know, I can ask Larry Goddard who in the past surfed Makaha regualrly



Bob:  It's not Larry. This guy was asian (which of course could mean a poi dog mix of japanese, chinese, filipino and hawaiian).

The guy charged!



Scroll down the page for a picture of Harry and his mates. Just give the page time to load.




It could well have been Harry Akisada.  The photo on Larry's web page only shows the side view of Harry's face but the concave wood paipo looks just like the board I saw.  Truly a well-designed alternative surf craft.  If it's Harry, Harry rips, both in the garage and at Makaha!


Mr. Grumpydude - that is really cool!  Gorgeous board!

I want that – and I also want waves that it works in. :expressionless:



I’ll ask Larry about the garage construction etc. I gather Harry has won more than his share of comps riding paipo.




Wondering what the difference is between paipo and boogie boarding . is it as vast as between longboarding and shortboarding ? Or is it a feel ,as hull surfing is. Where can i see video as on youtube the offerings are fairly mediocre. Also . what type of paipo in very average beach breaks? Sorry to ask such blunt questions but at moment not enough hours in the day




I’ve never really tried a boogie board, so I can’t comment, performance wise.There are some guys around who have ridden both.


One consideration is that there is so much variety in what is classed as a paipo.  Wood boards ride very differently to a fibreglass boards. Then there is the question of fins or no fins.

I suspect some of the best paipo riding has never really been documented. Gerry Lopez stated in a Patagonia presentation with Jock Sutherland, that Sean Ross was one of the best tube riders at Pipeline. As far as I know there is no footage of Sean.

The more neutral bouyancy of a paipo is a key difference in the two types of craft. Another consideration is the age of the different surfers - I’m guessing the average paipo rider is older than the average boogie boarder, and is approachng riding a wave very differently. It may be a case of fun over perforamce, the feelings you get from riding a wave.



IMO Paipo are faster then regular "boogie" boards.

 You could strap a dead body to a "boogie" and it will surf it's way to the beach; Not so with a paipo, you have to make it work and if you wipe out and lose it, it's usually right there next to you  

Mike Stewart has even jumped on the paipo bandwagon, hooking up with Tom Wegener for a limited edition "Signature Model". 


If you have the tool skills, you can whip up several paipo for the price of a soulless petrochemically produced booger. 

Quite a bit of paipo riding on youtube. BTW 


The reduced bouyancy of a paipo has pros & cons. Getting under waves & whitewater can be easier as well as fun, staying in position when there is a strong current is harder on a paipo.


There have been a few boogie board riders ride wooden paipo recently - I’m not sure if the paipo is their board of choice on big, serious days.


I’ll have to look into the interviews I have done to see if there are any specific views on the subject.


Uncle  G - not so long ago that search term wouldn’t have revealed too much at all.



Larry had this to say:

“Yes, that WAS Harry Akisada at Makaha last December! I talked to him on the phone before he went out. It was pretty big, and not too many guys were out, so he got lots of rides. There were sets breaking in the 'Outside Boils”, so it was probably 12 ft or larger on those.

Everybody there knows “Harry”! The guy is a Two-Time “Makapu’u Paipo Champion” from the late '60s. He’s been making his own distictively-shaped plywood paipo boards (Triple Concave Bottom for blazing high speed) for over 45 years, now. "