Are wooden surfboards hard to make?

Are wooden surfboards hard to make?


A common question that is pondered on frequently...yes, they are difficult to make.. when you don’t know what you’re doing! But with a system and plan in place, all the right materials and equipment plus some elbow grease.. a wooden surfboard is absolutely possible to make with great success. 

Not only can a wooden board be more sustainably friendlier than a foam board, they offer a classic charm and celebrate the beauty of wooden watercraft. Much like shaping a foam board, there is a lot of scope for customisation with building a wooden surfboard. It comes as a surprise to many that a wooden surfboard is often much lighter than anticipated, but they will be heavier than a foam board which in turn offers more stability in the water. 

The core of a wooden surfboard is an internal frame made of plywood. At Bywater Surf we have over 8 different board types and each frame is different with specific measurements and characteristics. We use a CNC machine to cut out each rib of the frame for accuracy and a bandsaw to cut out 6 paulownia rails for each board. How the rails and ribs come together, is through a process involving tape, glue, nails and pegs.

The skins of a wooden surfboard are milled down to a certain thickness, then depending on your chosen deck pattern, planks of timber like paulownia, cambia, cedar are glued together to form the bottom and deck skins. To strengthen the skins, fibreglass is laminated onto the insides.  Once the frame is shaped and fin boxes are glued in, the skins are adhered to the frame through a vacuum bag process. With a surfboard now slowly coming to life, the magic happens when it gets shaped and sanded to perfection. The final touches of leash plugs, vents and glassing complete the wooden surfboard making journey. 

While all this may sound daunting, with expert guidance it is really a walk in the park and a very enjoyable, rewarding experience. Our 4 Day course is suitable for those who have little to no woodworking experience, by the end of the course students walk away with a solid understanding of wooden surfboard making and woodwork fundamentals.For those who wish to tackle the board-making journey at home, that’s where our do-it-yourself surfboard kits come in. Select from a range of different board styles, sizes and deck patterns, and with the help of our comprehensive How-To manual, you’ll impress yourself (and your friends) with your handcrafted wooden surfboard. 

A wooden surfboard can be made over about a week, factoring in glue setting time. Once the board is shaped and sanded, you can then glass it and resin coat it so it looks professionally finished and water ready. The curing process will add in more time, so realistically allow up to 3-4 weeks of creating your very own timber surfboard. 

The satisfaction from making your own epic surfboard out of timber is unmatched. We encourage you to see for yourself!