Lets see...its been a little over four years or so since i have 'blogged' on this site. Many waves have been ridden, good, bad, and the other kind. A few boards and bags have also been produced with help from some amazing friends and my beautiful wife Terry (a.k.a. Keleka). This little dream is still chugging down the tracks and the next couple months will no doubt be 'interesting'. A move from my carport into a real space with a few like-minded (noisy, dusty) woodworkers will be a whole new start in a way. A start that looks a little daunting and yet amazingly exciting at the same time. My boards are now 'shaped' on a cnc machine and i am hoping to learn more about them. Perhaps eventually to program and operate the shop machine. For now i hope to observe the Masters and not get in the way. It will be nice to be working indoors over the winter. Some aspects of building the uncarved blocks and finishing the shaped boards just don't work in cold and damp conditions. i am stocking up on wood and supplies for this upcoming winter. Hopefully not too many seasons will pass before my next update. Stay tuned! peas, radish.
Worst job i ever had...pickin strawberries
Best job i ever had...pickin raspberries
i am eating fresh raspberries from our backyard. i have a very bad headache so i am taking it easy today. it has been 732 days since i got hit by a truck. this morning i had a nerve in my neck surgically burned using needles and radio frequencies. i hope it works. these raspberries sure taste good.
i am no longer able to make my paipo boards the way i used to, using simple (non-electric) tools. i am so glad i had the experience of making some in this way. i am now working in collaboration with Graham Buksa at Rayne Longboards.
this is going to be fun.
Today i started to get one side of the block flat and smooth. To save wear and tear on my neck i am using an electric plane. It is a small Makita and man does it ever blast through cedar. I can't believe the pile of shavings i generated after only 20 minutes. While making my first couple of boards i used only hand tools (non-electric). I inherited a small collection of my father's and grandfather's tools and use them whenever possible. Using these simple tools fills me with a joy that gives my boards a little something special. It is not anything that i can see but i definitely feel a strong connection to my dad and grand-dad while working on and especially riding my finished boards. It is at this stage that i get my first real sense of the colours of the wood. This board is a combination of red and yellow cedar. I get the wood directly from the sawmill so i can go through the stacks and find the real nice stuff. When i told the guy in the mill yard what i was making he smiled and said "come with me , i have something to show you." He took me to a room where they keep the best of the best. It was like being shown a room full of treasure. He told me this is the wood they hold aside for boatbuilders and that surfboards would now qualify . "Take your time" he said and left me to poke around. Well needless to say i definitely scored a few armloads of "treasure." Enough to make two boards at least. I buy 4" x 4" boards and rip them into "bookmatched" 2" x4"s. This will also be my first completely bookmatched board. When i was a kid my oldest brother had a water ski made by 'Maharaja' and it was made of bookmatched strips of mahogany. It is still i think one of the most beautiful objects i have ever seen. Hopefully this paipo will also be something that is beautiful as well as fun.
In this blog I will try to share the process of making one of my paipo boards. "What is a paipo?" "What is paipotherapy?" Well lets start with a little history. Paipo boards are part of the family of ancient Hawai'ian wave riding craft. They are the great grandparents of modern surfboards. Other members of this family are alaia and olo boards. Paipo are the 'babies' of the family ranging in size from about 3' to 6'. Alaia are the 'teenagers' at about 6' to 10'. Olo are the 'adults' and can be as large as 20' in length. Paipo and alaia were ridden by the "common folk" and olo were only ridden by "ali'i" or "royalty". Certain locations were also restricted to ali'i only. Paipo and alaia were traditionally made from the wood of the wiliwili tree and olo were made of koa wood. My first exposure to these amazing boards was in 2009 at the saturday market under the giant banyan tree in Hawi on the big island of Hawai'i. It was there that i met Josh from Xylem Surfboards. You can check out his incredible website through my link to "the paipo society". Josh had several examples of his beautiful boards on display. I fell immediately under the spell of these gorgeous craft and knew i would have to make one for myself. I am starting my sixth board now and the spell has most definitely not worn off. A few days later i saw Josh riding one of his alaias at Hapuna Beach and the hook was set even deeper. The waves were small (by Hawai'an standards) but i couldn't imagine anyone having more fun.
Now for the "Paipotherapy" part. In July of last year i was hit by a truck while walking in a crosswalk in my neighbourhood of New Westminster, B.C. (thats in Canada) Since then i have been dealing with whiplash and a concussion that will not go away. This board will be my first try since then. As i do most of the work using simple hand tools i have no idea if this is going to make things worse or not. Anyways, please come along for the ride and i will hopefully be posting again soon. MUCH ALOHA tim watson (aka radish)