Uneven nose and flowing templates - board #002

Just finishing up board number #002 which is a 7’0 semi-gun big boy type thruster. It is 7’0 x 14 (t) x 12.5 (n) x 3 1/8 thick x 20.5 wide. Although it is a vast improvement on my first board, thanks in part to UV resin and the awesome advice here on Swaylocks, I had a few problems with the template and hence with the final outcome.

In short, one side of the board, from around 14 inches up to the nose tip is slightly narrower than the other (skewed). Its just noticeable but still annoying. I think it happened whilst I was screening the rails at the nose and I took too much off on one side. Do you think that this will affect the board’s performance? – guess only one way to find out.

I found it really hard to get a nice flowing curve from the middle up to the nose. In particular, that last 15 or so inches tends to narrow quite dramatically or suddenly to the nose tip. I use a thinned down wooden batten to make my templates and true them up with the planer and I do take quite a long time to true everything up. Should I be using something with a more even curve such as a metal or fibreglass. The batten is very floppy and flexi and I wonder if that is half the problem? Anyway, photos of the board to come.

Thanks swaylocks


I had a similar problem with my first couple of shortboards. Firstly get a centre find ruler as it’s very handy for checking your outline on both sides of the board. Draw around your existing template(s) on one half of the board. Check to see if you like it. If you don’t try freehand drawing the parts you don’t like. Then use your template to try and match what you have drawn while blending into the rest of your outline as smoothly as possible. Get your centre find ruler and measure about every foot duplicating the distance with a mark on the other side of the board. You can probably figure out the rest on that side of things. Once you’ve got the outline how you like it take some measurements and write them down. This will save you some work next time.

Trying to duplicate the same curve on each side is difficult using a batten. You should use the batten to draw your curve on your template material (thin ply, masonite, plastic, etc.) Then use that template to draw your outline. This ensures a symmetrical outline because you will use the same curve (template) to draw both sides. Measuring every foot or so to make sure it is symmetrical or true is still something i do even after i cut out my templated outline. To better your chances of having a true/clean/symmetrical board at the end, you need to at least start yourself off with a symmetrical line to follow in the beginning…just my experience.


    I've got pictures of a magic tool that Bob (the greek) Bolen had shown to the surfboard construction class. He uses it to true up the curve on his templates and the rails on his boards. Its a piece of metal about 120cm long x 6.35cm wide x .3175cm thick with some cloth backed sandpaper glued on both sides. The metal is flexible enough and long enough to put a nice uniform curve on a template or surfboard blank. 


Hi Bizgravy, I did draw my template onto plywood its just that I am finding it hard to get a nice even and curvy outline up to the nose. The rails also look a little too parallel to my liking and I am wondering if it is because my batten is too flexy and doesn’t bend naturally when drawing the template on the plywood?

Deanbo – thanks for your advice. Im going to re-draw my existing template onto another piece of plywood and see if I cant improve the curve and get more of a flowing outline with more curviness. What batten material do you use?


I’m using Adobe Illustrator to draw my templates and then getting them CNC cut. This costs about $50 NZD. If you like I can try and send you a DXF file of my latest template (haven’t had it cut yet but it looks pretty smooth). If you would just like to know how to use Illustrator for this sort of thing then send me a message.

Thanks Deanbo for your help. Not very good at the computer thing so am trying to do it the more manual way. Just a case of practise i guess


AJ72- one thing you can do is download the aps3000 software and design your next board using their software, then you can copy the template measurements every foot or so, on to masonite and connect the dots with a flexible piece of plastic or other material. This way you’ll wind up with a fluid template. Try to avoid making a template with ‘numbers’ only, think fluid lines. This is where the aps3000 can really help. Good luck.

i use a wooden batten as well, but i mark the template out every 4-6" to make sure everything is even.

its a bit more work, but since i started doing it this way i have a lots less funky-ness to sort out…