Question re: hand plane(for body surfing)

fantastic boards guys!!

i have been making some lately too, from some pieces of scrap ply that i had lying about (numbers 3 - 6). 2 is a handboard made from the nose of a windsurfboard, and 7 is a kiddy skimmer that i HAD to getr because of the graphics :) works great too.






I've always put one or two nylon web straps on mine and ride with my hands flat on the board. I really have a hard time imagining what it is like to swim or bodysurf with my arm extended and my hand clenched around the opening of a handboard "grip". Probably too many years bodysurfing without, although I've used a handboard of and on since the old Hand-Surfa back when I was a kid (hand flat there too). What does it feel like gripping?

I get my nylon web at hardware stores, inexpensive by the small roll, sometimes with plastic "buckles"  if they come in a kit. I attach with hex screws, sheet metal or wood, depending on what's avaialable and the thickness of wood I'm playing with. Sometimes I need to add a little wood to keep the screw tips from being exposed. When I do that I configure it to be mini-keels on the bottom. Given the small size of mine - true "hand planes" in every sense, I haven't played with rocker or concaves. I also have been coating the screws with eoxy glue prior to installation, which has worked well. If they pull out it will mean curtains for the board, but then I get to make more...

Thin birch plywood and poplar so far.


Not a huge fan of straps, they can be very limiting on hand placement when you ride.  I have done a few with and the same model without and truely there is not much difference.  It is a little easier to switch hands to go left or right with out a strap.   [img_assist|nid=1043185|title=Soul Scene|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=0|height=0]




Here is my newest one that I have done, all of it was done by wood burning. I have the blisters to prove it.  Apparently when you are preoccupied with telling your son to put down the pull saw, you might mistake the hot end for the handle. 

This one is the sweetpea 1 and it will hydroplane as good and any of my big planes that are 19" +.  For only being 10" long it is off the hook and tucking into a nice barrel.  Hands down my favorite one to take out.[img_assist|nid=1042720|title=Sweat pea|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=0|height=0]





Ill post some more picks of things I have been doing recently.


Just finished my second hand plane. They’re both made from walnut and measure roughly 12" long, 8" at the widest point. The first one has a flat deck and rolled bottom. The second has a rolled deck and flat bottom with some single concave through the tail. #2 is ready for a test drive. So far, the first one works really well and I like not being strapped into it. The moon-shaped holes works great. Hope to get better at the whole process. 


thank you again for the beautiful shape…  can’t wait to get out again… so fun…




No worries Brian. Glad you enjoy it. I tried the other “hullish” one yesterday. It works good. I think it’s the best template for sure. More to come…

McDonalds, plastic food trays worked wonders for the kids in Hawaii at one time and some of those handboards look like old Hawaiian Paipo boards from years ago but no finger holes. Finger holes "disturbed" the flow of water.




Yes, the plastic trays work great. Well, until they shatter.


I’d be interested to try the hand planes with the hand strap. I feel being attached is a bit scary, but who knows. The finger slots work good because you only have the tips of your fingers in them to guide the board. 


I’d love to ride an old paipo shape too. Lots of different ways to ride waves. Thanks.



Here's a link to some wonderful bodysurfing as well as handboard bodysurfing here in Hawaii recently. These guys are some of he Top bodysurfers in Hawaii. They just got back from California and got to bodysurf The Wedge during the last big swell. They also bodysurf'd Boomers, in San Diego.


And another video produced by a friend of mine that lives here on Kaua'i,  well known bodysurfer and travels when time allows. It's an 8 minute video but well worth the watch.




Here ya go.... last one that I'll post up here... Panic's, as it's called, sits adjacent to the entrance to a small boat harbor and is the only place designated for bodysurfing only in Hawaii. Across the channel, surfing takes place and then further up towards Waikiki. Usually a one man wave, there is a pecking order.


Hahahaha........... I guess I should've checked in on Swaylocks this morning, it would have saved me a day of shaping one.. I'd never seen a handboard before but I'd heard of them.. I had a screwed up blank lying around on this drizzly Saturday afternoon so I thought I'd give one a try.. Having a hell-of-a-time trying to figure out a decent grab strap mechanism and thought about glassing in a rope or something.. Anyway, I think I over did it..

It's 22" long and 11 3/4" wide up in front. I tried to shape in an arm channel and of course, a shallow concave fading into two Bonzer type concaves out the back..

I know the pics are crap but what's the concensus of you all out there?


from the looks of it you are gonna ride left-handed.

this is also an arm board - aka arm plane …

 entry is abrupt perhaps a bevel

would lift rather than push water 

before attaining plane


that said 

this is a beautifully executed sculpture

seal it in resin and save.

make the next one



true inspired stuff w/out the disadvantage of

being exposed to the monkey see monkey do

aspect of design inspiration stiffling of conventional

acceptedI know ship-itus.


there is nothing greater than doing somthing new and wrong .

according to the mainstream, to drive the discussion into a new

freshness …





bitchin form…

does the elbow 

hang off the tail?


Hey thanks for the comments Ambrose,

I have no idea at this point how one would differentiate a left handed board to a right handed one. I just put my arm down and tried to trace a basic outline around it them groove accordingly. I started to make it so my right hand (since I'm personally right handed) but quickly realized that someone would probably want to be able to use it right or left handed, however the pics are bad and you really can't see it that well. As for the entry, I'm assuming you mean the "nose" of the board? I shaped in about 3/8" of "rocker" to it so it wouldn't catch too much in the nose but again the pics didn't really catch that, I just don't know if that's too little or too much. I do want to clean it up a bit and probably try to take some of the blockiness out of the nose area to lessen what I assume would be a tendency to fight the hand pressure needed for subtle turns and manipulation of the wave surface as it relates to the board itself. Oh, and I have long skinny arms myself so my elbow hangs off the end by about 1/2" (I've always had a problem getting long sleeve dress shirts to fit because I need them in 17.5 neck and 35" arms where as I have a 33" waist and am (now) 5'11" tall (but used to be 6' 1 1/2" before this dreaded disease I have kicked in, keeping me out of the line up on ANYTHING.. So, I don't have the ability to ride anything I shape...

Again, i'd never seen a handboard/armboard before but was intriqued by the idea, but I think after looking it the earlier pics of everyone elses boards (by the way, I LOVED the walnut one!), I think I tried applying too much surfboard design and concepts into something that needs a fresher way of thinking (at least in MY case).

I'm taking a 6'0" Winged Fish I finished Friday, to the glasser tomorrow and I am going to show him this and see what he wants to glass it.. It may end up that I give myself a reason to glass this myself but that's another area that I have never tried before short of the usual ding repair.

I've still got a pile of old blanks lying around so I think I'm going to do more research online and here on Swaylocks to get a better idea of what to do WITHOUT of course doing the Monkey see, Monkey DO thing.. Hell, if you were to see the regular boards I shape, well................. let's just say, you'll never see stuff like mine in the racks at the surfshops here in San Diego.. Whether that's a good thing or a bad thing is entirely left up to the individual eye.. I just get off doing stuff slightly outside the envelope... I'm starting a Paipo board this afternoon if I can get my pain level down some..

Thanks again for the encouragement and best regards to all.



I reshaped the nose this afternoon and ended up grooving a channel in the blocky part of the nose area along the "rail" and gave it more of surfboard style rails while giving it sort of a UFO looking front end. I also shaped in a touch more chamfer/rocker in the entry point. I think I should stop here and not try anything else.. I think I'm going to have two FCS plugs sunk in the deck and talk to a guy I've met that makes fins, and have him custom make me a loop that will fit into the boxes, that way others can also be made custom fit and will still retain it's surfboard inspired design..


two leash plugs

with velcro for

adjustable handles.

looks like leash plugs for handle
solutions are finite
variations are endless

I’ve made a few hand planes (arm planes).  Never used foam,  only when I used to shape surfboards.  I’ve been using pine with Thompson’s water seal.  Seems to work pretty well.  As far as the strap, I use 2 straps.  I just glass 2 pieces of pvc into the deck and use 3 medium sized zip ties through tubular webbing.  I also place the straps closer to the nose so you can grip the front.  Check out my blog for more details.  Later,  JM

I have had some hand planes un handled for some time now.

I just flashed whilst lookin’ at these two photos…

'glass on two fin sheet strips

ilke 3/16 wide and high

 six or eight inches long

or on my paipo a foot long

with holes to take line along

their length one to the other

so that handle placement

can vary and indeed

the number could increase

to one fore and another aft

as my paipo has great lift aft

where the concave is.



some times a fallow field

will give a better yield.

interesting threads never die

Great stuff bra.


I just posted this on the other handplane thread.

I use 12mm marine ply, and I seal them with urethane. I've never had any trouble with them at all! They (and surfmats) are the ultimate "Swiss-Army" surf-craft. Here's a link to a pair of Ply "twin hand pods" I made last year. They were super fun, but ended up getting sold. I need to make myself another pair.

And here's a link to a paulownia handplane I made for a friend in Holland.