Ecuadorian Balsa Boards

Hey guys, here’s some pictures of two balsa boards my sister brought back from Ecuador. She is married to a local and on their last visit down there, they thought it would be worth exporting a couple boards. One is 8’0 and the other 9’4. They are thinking of selling them and are wondering what price they would fetch. A balsa Yater at the Beach House in Santa Barbara goes for around $3000 I believe (don’t know why). They are quite nice and were glassed with cloth from Fiberglass Hawaii that my sister brought down to the shaper because materials are hard to come by down there.

The pics were nicer before I shrunk them to upload, but you can still see the quality.

nose shots

shaping pics

Howzit surfstar,

Where in Ecuador is that? I spent some time down there myself.

Those boards are nice. My neighbor bought two for $600 a piece. That is the tourist price for those boards. Though they look beautiful, they are most often solid balsa. The ones that are chamber/hollowed out are more expensive. You can probably get double your money in a surfshop on the mainland. I think they are too heavy, but even the tourist price of $600 makes them a tempting purchase. The craftsman that make those boards are amazing, and 99% of those guys don’t surf too.

newschoolblue, i’m not sure exactly where it was, i’ll have to ask when i go see my sister and her husband this weekend, but they did show me some pictures of a nice rock reef/point setup right where this guy shapes.

cmp, this shaper does surf, as my brother-in-law showed me some pics of him riding some balsa boards at this nice setup they have out front. looked really fun - head high and peeling for a while.

the funny thing is that my sister said they rent the balsa boards out for beginners down there, as they don’t have any selection of boards for tourists and beginners to rent. i bet someone could go down there with some BIC or soft-tops and make a trade for some nice balsa boards.

Howzit surfstar,

I spent a year in the Montanita vicinity. When I was down there ('97 - '98) I tried to get a balsa board operation going. Spent all my savings trying to make it happen, in a desperate attempt to live there. I really liked it. Perhaps things are easier these days, with the internet being used even in the countryside, but I found that to get anything done in a developing country takes gobs of time, burocracy, money, and patience. If you ever decide to try importing balsa boards, shoot me a personal message. I might be able to give you a name or two.

i visited my sister this weekend, after scoring some awesome SW swell here, and yes the boards are from Punta Montanita and are shaped by Cesar Moreira. i definately plan on visiting Ecuador on the next surf trip - it sounds pretty nice.

another question offhand about the boards, after checking them out this weekend, it seems like the top coat was not finish sanded or polished. it has small bumps on the glassing. is there a way we can sand this without damaging the final coat? i’m completely out of the loop when it comes to glassing a board, so i don’t have a clue.

Without a picture, it’s hard to say what the cause of that issue might be. Plus, I’m not the best glasser myself, so I’d hesitate to suggest anything. Cosidering the potential value of the boards, it may be worth it to seek the advice of a reputable glasser in your area. He should be able to polish out any blemishes and really bring those boards to life.

Best wishes,