WOODEN SURFBOARDS

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For those who didn’t know that wooden surfboards were having a moment, there is plenty of proof online. Such is the devotion of the natural board’s fans that there are now more than 120 websites dedicated to their manufacture. Once the means by which islanders would sail between atolls in the South Seas, wooden boards have become not just the most coveted of surfing equipment, but the most expensive. Master craftsman Roy Stuart recently made the ultimate luxury board, the $1.3m Rampant, its surface hand-painted in gold leaf and finely skimmed in Paulownia. This Asian wood was relatively unknown by surfboard makers until it was used in Australia in the 1980s by the American board-shaper Tom Wegener, who has subsequently become its greatest supporter. Not only is the Asian wood lighter than balsa, it is also more resistant to salt water than any other wood. Today, inspired by the ancient alaia boards in Hawaii’s Bishop Museum – often more than six feet long, finless and only half an inch thick – Wegener has created the finest, lightest waveriders ever created. driftwoodsurfboards.co.uk