Swaylocks Inspired Phil Edwards Balsa

About six months ago there was some discussion here about 60s vintage reverse fins. Bill Thrailkill posted information he learned when working for Hobie and Phil Edwards in the early 60s, which led to my desire to make a balsa tribute of the first Phil Edwards signature board shaped by Phil for Hobie. Phil was widely regarded as the best surfer in the world at the time and apparently this was the first “signature board” by any surfboard company.

The board was finished in February but I failed to post it until now. 9’ 6" chambered balsa, nose and tail blocks and reverse fin are made of Hawaiian koa. Stringers are Honduras mahogany. The fin and board are from original templates. Thanks to the Swaylocks team, especially Bill Thrailkill, John Mellor, and Terry Hendricks for their information regarding Edwards boards.

Hey, you should put that one on E-bay: “What you’re looking at is an authentic Hobie/Phil Edwards Model by the Man himself…”

Kidding, of course. Outstanding job! I can’t think of anything else to say…

Gosh, Richard. Beautiful work. Wood deserves treatment like that.

Word is, nobody but PE could actually make his ‘personal’ shape work all that well…have you got it wet, yet? Will you?

Beautiful work.

I know there is details in the other thread, but to keep things some what self containted can you give a brief description of the board. Dims, rail shape and bottom contours, weight, glass schedule…

Seeing all this wood is getting anxious. Got to get some time in the shop.

Great job and nice pics too.

that definitely goes in my personal list of the top 10 prettiest boards ever posted on Swaylocks.

You should teach classes or something.

Richard, It’s a pleasure to see work like this, knowing that the craftsman (meaning you) has a respect and reverence for wood. Wow, that nose block has a life of it’s own. Absolutely beautiful. Doug

Well done Richard, and you should contact Phil to autograph it. Yes, Phil/Hobie did make the first signature model ( seeing him surf in his prime is still one of the joys of my life), although that was foam with wooden stringers and fin, as you know. I did check out Phil’s original solid balsa board ‘Baby’, but it wasn’t as nice looking as that! (as a matter of fact I don’t think anyone else could have ridden it…)

Sheesh Richard -

BEAUTIFUL WORK! Phil Edwards would be understandably proud to have inspired such a work of art. I’m speechless.

thats a work of art

cheers Paul

wow richard that is sensational to say the least, i’m in the throws of designing my first ever board, i’m going to build it based on Paul Jenson’s hollow method and i can only hope it will be half the work of art your baby is! congratulations! I am a carpenter here in Australia and can fully appreciate the craftsmenship and skill that has obviously gone into this, again congratulations.

Rob Morris.

Thanks guys for the comments. Regarding Keith’s vote for top 10?? That one is not deserved, but the comment certainly helps the ego on a bad day for sure. I’ve been a wood hacker for many years, but the guy that opened the door for me to shaping blasa boards was Jim Phillips. Phil Edwards autographing it is likely never to happen, but what an honor that would be!! I’d love to meet him someday.

cb’s request for dimensions: 9’ 6", 16 1/2", 22 1/2", 15 1/2", 3 1/8", WP at 5% behind center (5 1/2"). 50/50 rails bumper to bumper. The fin photo makes it appear to have a hard / rolled edge at tail, but it does not…just tried to keep the end of the “egg” a bit crisp back there). Slightly rounded belly with soft V through tail. 2x6oz deck, 6 oz bott, high gloss. With so much lumber and overkill glass my goal was not to exceed 40 lbs so when it weighed in at straight up 39 I was happy. The first board I ever owned in 1965 weighed 42 lbs (an over repaired Surfboards Hawaii).

I’m a little reluctant to wax it up for a ride, but it’s very tempting and may likely happen on some perfect early morn. Thanks again to all.


I actually watched the whole process of this board being built and believe it or not he built 3 other balsas that are just as beautiful if not more beautiful. If anyone has not checked out his website yet…well go immediatly. Richard is a MASTER with wood not only in surfboards, but furniture as well. The website is mccormickfinewoodworking.com, definitly check out the bed. As Richard would say…“What the?” He sells some skegs on there as well that are becoming real popular. Anyway, I just wanted to let everyone know that Richard is great person, mentor, and fine wood worker. Great job Dick!

Ps. Now we just have to convince him to actually ride one. Can you imagine never have riden any of the boards you ever made???

you have to ride it at least once. you will always wonder if you don’t. wondering would not be good.

and let us know how it went.