Hip or no hip in an alaia template

I was interested in opinions as to whether I should leave some hip in the planshape of an alaia. There seem to be two broad approaches to alaia - rounded nose, and parallel rails from the wide point to the tail. The other approach is to not have parallel rails but to pull the rail line in from the wide point to a narrower tail.

Attached is a very rough, draft template, derived from a Tom Wegner alaia. The straight line on the right, parallel to the centreline just indicates that I will make the board narrower. The tail will be narrower, and I want to pull the rail in - evidenced by the faint pencil line on the left side. Overall, I want to try the board narrower, with the tail several inches narrower than currently.

The wide point is about abut 53 cm from the nose and remains crurved for about another 19cm before the rail lines become more parallel. Overall leangth is 1.5 m. My question is: would it be better to start pulling in the rail line from the wide point (53 cm) or pull it in from after the hip (53 cm + 19 cm)?

Any comments are appreciated,


i think this question flows along with the ‘whatever works’ concepts , the ancients developed their boards for their conditions and they worked in the waves. That said,two of the three that i have made generally taper from wide point to tail , the total taper being about 1.5 inches on each side , and they fly on the wave, one was shaped totally straight and it flew on the wave also. maybe you should ask tom stone ,who has done more pure research than anyone on these issues?

I’m putting sidecuts in mine, kind of like a Snowboard, since i believe I have to rely on it’s flex for turning more than anything else, and the sidecuts should help keep the tail on hold, if it’s pulled in it’s more likely to slide out.

then again, what do I know?

the quest for reproductions

aka I visited the bishop muse

have been a pop justification

for my ears to hear for many a year/

make me a board just like

my new wava

my der Kat zen jammer

my UFO

my beer distiller

get it

they will be closer

and closer


but never the same

so either conning ones self is the goal

or the goal is making a cool board

or making a hot board

no two velzy’s were the same…

or if you belive they were the same

if you cannot be helped

or disuaded from that

opinion,bless your mortal soul

make a jig and don’ hand shape

now if’n yo wonder wet ther

a hip or not to hip?

the answer is clear as good moon shine


make 2

make too

then by takin’ em oout w/ a friend y’all

can make an underwriters labratory


whenst Y’all have sat on em in the water

and discussed the last and next wavicle

tour opiniions will not just shed but

will indeed hold water.


Should men have never

made buckets with bottoms

we would be a culture of funnels with corks.

ambrose, well say!, i think thats what i was trying to say, at least i think so…what the heck,it’s fun to mess around with wood and waves…:wink:

Hi mate.good questions. ones i asked myself too. i started with a paralell rail version. after a few surfs i changed that board to a curved outline. the board then turned/slid around easier. with paralell rails it had a little more controlled side slip. i think the paralell one is better ti learn Alaia skils on then progress to a cutvier outline. the Ambrose is correct make a few , the woods not too expensive. i have drawn up a batch more and one has side cut like a snowboard. my next batch of wood is about 2 weeks away! i have taken a little block plane with me a couple of times and made little adjustments at the car to try things out like different edges etc.

Thanks all,

I have enough wood for two boards. My sense of experimentation was less refined than Ambrose suggested - I wanted to try two extremes: 1) wide point up front and either parallel or tapered rail line versus 2) the wide point at or near the tail and a narrower nose. Regarding the second option, Surffoils made me a compsand paipo so I was thinking of making a longer version of this or a variation on the guitar pick type of board.



I’ve tried both on boards of various lengths and thicknesses, and they both seem to work fine if you play around with how you do your bottom curves. I’ve found that with a more parallel rail, the bottom can be flat or concave the whole way through to the nose, but with a narrower tail, its best to keep the concave in just the back 3rd of the board or else the nose tends to pull up the face. The side-cut or parabolic rail adds a huge degree of hold in the pocket, and also makes the board turn on the rail, rather than just side-slipping or spinning. I think the one key factor is width. It’s tempting to go with the same width as in a foam board, but the alaia catches waves easier if its 16inches or less, in my experience. It also makes rail to rail control much better too !

I almost forgot…the most important thing to know about building and riding alaia’s is that, at first, they’re just damn hard to ride! I’ve been building and riding em for over three years, and I still haven’t forgotten the first three or so weeks where I was sure that these things were a complete wast of time! It takes persistence, mainly to allow your brain time to re-wire itself around riding a board that doesn’t have a fixed forward direction. If you keep in mind the idea of how a snowboard feels, you’ll get it dialled a lot quicker than I did. The rewards are well worth it though, and your surfing technique on other “normal” boards will benefit immensly.


Thanks. I think the approach I will take is to leave the hip in and if it doesn’t work, I can remove it later as Dave has done.

Can I check some terminology. By side cut, are you referring to a splayed out tail? Also, I saw one definition of parabolic as referring to the rail cross section not changing from nose to tail. Is this how you are using these terms?


I take side-cut and parabolic to mean the same thing, ie: the tail being flared out slightly. I might be way off using those terms, but I’m not the best terminologist guy !

As for the rail cross-section, I’d honestly never given that much thought, but I just popped out to the shed and had a look, and I guess the rails are pretty uniform around the whole board. This probably has more to do with my favourite board only just over half an inch thick, so there isn’t too much depth to play around with.

Keep us posted, with pics if you can ! I’m always keen to see how other people interpret the whole Alaia thing. There’s no wrong way, and it’s often by doing something weird that you find a new way to improve these things !



Thanks. I have been taking some pics. Once it is looking ok I’ll post some.