It's all in the shape...

It's all in the shape...

It goes without saying that the shape of a surfboard is incredibly important, from the nose to tail, to rail to rocker. The combination of all is an integral part of the overall performance of a surfboard.

Across the range of Bywater Surf wooden surfboards, all styles are individually unique and ready to go with minimal amendments. However the beauty of crafting your own board means you can add your own touch and be strategic with the intricacies of your board to optimize ride-ability and enjoyment.

The general rule of thumb is that the more surface area a board has the more buoyant it is. However this trait is not congruent for the speed and agility that’s required for performance boards. Beginners will desire a thicker board with a wide nose and tail.

The nature of building a board from scratch will see you have a hands on approach to every part of surfboard making and you’ll find there are several stages to executing the shaping of a timber board. Once the internal frame is constructed and glued together; the rails, ribs, nose and tail blocks are carefully shaped in preparation for the skins to be applied. While more shaping is performed after the skins are on, it’s the initial shaping of the frame that will set you up for success later down the track. The skins applied through a vacuum bag technique, where they will mimic the exact shape of the frame you have shaped.

Understanding how the surfboard and its features work in the water is helpful to determine how you’ll like your board to be shaped. If you’re after a more performance based board, you may shape your rails harder with more of a defined edge towards the underside of the board and opt for deeper rocker in the nose.

An important part of board shaping comes down to the contours of the bottom of the board, this is the part of the board that meets the water and has a lot to do with how it cuts through the wave. There’s many options, from flat to concave, double concave or a ‘v.’ A flat board will be slower in the water as it has more surface tension to drag, but adding in channels for the water to pass through will result in more speed.

A block plane and hand plane are the tools to get the shaping done for your wooden surfboard. On our 4 day course, we spend most of the last day on final shaping. It's a very satisfying process to artfully shape your own wooden surfboard and even more satisfying when you take it out for the first surf.