Trying to revive the art of 1930s hollow wooden surfboards and expand the “sustainable surfing” movement, seven surfers recently took a four-day board-building class.
On March 7 — day two of the class — the woodworkers/surfers were working on cutting, placing, sanding, and shaping what would be the rails of their new board.
Hosted at the Patagonia surf shop on San Elijo Avenue, the hands-on workshop was offered by Grain Surfboards. The Maine-based company, founded by former boat-builders, conducts the classes on the East and West coasts. Their line of wooden boards are sold commercially all over the world.
Nolan Collins travels with the company’s “mobile classroom” bus and brings in all the wood, tools, and the premade wooden structural ribs — the internal skeleton of the board. John Waggener, a local surfer, joined in instructing and helped the participants through each step. The company just finished a course in San Clemente and will be heading to San Francisco and Portland next.
Sergio Solórzano came from Mexico City to take the course. He happily paid the $1700 fee, which included all the supplies and two meals a day. Participants have to find their own lodging, but at the company’s factory in Maine, the firm provides a campground for attendees of its summertime courses.
Unfortunately, due to environmental regulations and time constraints, the Cardiff students would not be able to glass their boards; they will be instructed on how to do it or contract with surf shops that still offer that service.
The connection by Grain Surfboards with Patagonia shops is a new one. Grain recently held a board-building class in the downtown New York City Patagonia store.