radish empire
exploring the roots of wave and sk8


(posted on 14 Jun 2013)

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)