Got Lucky?

Wanted to start this thread out with a giant shoutout to BB30 for all the helpfull advice he gave me through this. He’s one of the reasons this site is great.

As a garage hack with probably a dozen board builds under my wing, I always try to challenge myself & try some new skill on each new board. I may have bit off abit more than I could chew on this one with multiple new skills.

I needed a new kite surfboard to replace the one I broke last season( after 3 years of hard use). The design was based on that board with a few minor tweaks. Final shape was supposed to be 6’2" x 18-7/8" x 2-1/4".

Challenge#1 - I didn’t have any place to shape inside and was forced to shape out in the driveway in direct sunlight. Real tough to site the board for eveness. Ended up only shaping for an hour or so every evening at sunset & hoping to not piss the neighbors off.

Challenge#2 - Up to this point I’ve shaped all my boards with hand tools. This was my 1st board with a Hitachi planer that i modifed from Newleafs’ videos. I skinned the bottom and everything went great. the design called for 1/8" V in the nose; 3/16" V in the tail & 1/8" to 3/16" single concave in between. It went better than I expected  & I felt it was the best I had done of any of my previous boards. Skinning the top was problematic with the planer & I messed up from side to side. By the time I finished fixing it (went back to my hand sanders), the blank ended up 2" thick ( hoped that the missing 1/4" won’t be a problem).

Challenge#3 - I wanted to lam the bottom with a cloth inlay that wrapped the rails. I found a black & white cotton tweed at the fabric store & thought ( next challenge) if I use a blue tint in my epoxy it might have a “cool black/blue carbon fiber/texillium” look to it. Bottom layup was 2- 6 oz. sandwiched around the cloth. I also used a wetout table for the 1st time. 1st 6oz. (untinted) went on great- thn the problems started. I wet out the cloth inlay with the blue tinted resin & it didn’t taker it evenly & was very splotchy. Since I was lamming outside, I should have paid closer attention to the weather. The winds started blowing suddendly (~ 20 to 25 mph), & by the time I tucked the cloth around the rails it was so strong it would blow the cloth off the rails(cutting darts in the edges didn’t help). I then put the 2nd tinted 6oz on top & figured I would use a larger lap to hold the cloth inlay underneath to the board until I bagged it. It didn’t help with that much wind. Then came the peel ply; release film & breather. It was impossible to smooth it out in that much wind, so I just threw it in the bag & told myself I would deal with it later. It took me hours & hours to sand out all the wrinkles/bulges, etc. & it was still ugly / splotchy from the uneven color of the cloth inlay. My solution was to do 1 layer of tinted 4 oz. & then I would also tint the hotcoats. I figured the board was either gonna be butt ugly or i might luck out & it would have some kind of “artsy random pattern”.

Challenge#4 - I use footstraps on my boards & I wanted to put the Chinook inserts in the board before lamming because I felt it would be stronger. For this board I put a cherry veneer top deck on.  Since the bottom lam/rail wraps were so ugly, I cut the veneer larger than normal & ran it out almost to the edge of the rails. So that I would know where inserts were after lamming, I stuck finish nails (point up) at the front & rear of each of the inserts that would “poke through” the cloth & cherry veneer when lamming. My lam schedule for the top is 2 - 6 oz. + a full length piece of 2 oz Innegra under the veneer + patches across the two foot areas.Once again I used a wetout table & I convinced a friend to help me with the lay-up. His job was to hold the veneer up off the board at the nose & “center” it over the nose while I started pressing the veneer down over the nails/footstrap inserts from the rear. In hindsight, I should have started at the nose & worked back, as the veneer at the nose was about ~1/8" off. It didn’t seem that bad & figured I could hide it with a resin pinline So I went ahead and lammed  the 2nd 6oz on & threw it i the bag. It must have shifted more in the bag, because when I pulled it out it was worse & almost shifting on to the edge. My solution was the 1-1/4" black pigmented resin pinline.

I learned alot on this board (of what not to do), but the next one will be much simpler ( other than the channels in the design).

Ride Report: I’ve ridden it about 6 times & love this board. It works exactly as I hoped. The V in the nose helps me punch out threw the impact zone without thrashing my knees & the V in the tail works for me in the wave from bottom turn to the top. The single concave through the middle seems to allow the board to plane quicker & stay on it. For most days, I barely notice the missing 1/4" thickness. A couple lightwind days, though it did seem to drop off a plane if the wind lulled, but I’m already planning for a light wind board (oversized “vanguard style” with bottom channels).



I’m very lucky to know BB30. He’s a very generous person. He showed my brother and I how to make Compsand boards, and how to work with epoxy. There’s at least a dozen of us here on Oahu, who have been lucky to get his help.


Next time I visit Hawaii from california, I hope I get a chance to meet him ( & hopefully you and some of the  other Swaylockians over there).


Did you get some of that wind a couple weeks ago?

Yes I did Chris @ A-beach. The board works perfectly there. The bummer is my kiting buddy(whose also a friend of John  mellor) got hurt there when he missed an inside jibe & slipped off his board landing in about a foot of water & shattering his heel bone. Had the surgery to plate & screw it back together, but hes done for about a year.

  I also got out Thursday after work @ Pico. Some nice chest to shoulder high waves .

Nicely done Parthenon. I appreciate you sharing the struggles (happens to me too, only on my 12th board) and compliment you on the finished product.

Thanks for the compliment Randy. Like the title of this thread- I think I got lucky with the “recovery” from all my challenges. We’re always learnig; I guess I need to start shaping more boards to get better.

Alway nice to meet other surfer/buiders. Keith Melville is here this week. I plan on spending some time with him.