Balsa & Redwood Chambered Surfboard

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Project by swied posted 02-07-2008 08:16 AM 17799 views 11 times favorited 30 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is my first post on this site. I thought that I would share a project that I finished about eight months ago. This was my first attempt at making a surfboard. I learned a lot about how to build it from a surfboard construction forum ( I posted a complete log of my project from start to finish. Here is the link:;sb=post_latest_reply;so=ASC;forum_view=forum_view_collapsed;;page=unread#unread

The board is unique in that I didn’t use any fiberglass. The finish is a marine spar varnish. I have been surfing it regularly since its completion. It is a great board.

I’ll be starting board number two soon. It is currently in the design phase.

-- Scott, San Diego

30 comments so far

View Rymann's profile


11 posts in 4019 days

#1 posted 02-07-2008 08:59 AM

That is soooo cool! I never even considered the idea of a board made of wood? How long is it? Guess I’ll check out your posts about the process. Very cool!

View cajunpen's profile


14578 posts in 4307 days

#2 posted 02-07-2008 09:46 AM

Don’t know a thing about surf boards – but the work that you did looks well thought out and executed. Good job.

-- Bill - "Suit yourself and let the rest be pleased."

View Blake's profile


3443 posts in 4116 days

#3 posted 02-07-2008 09:59 AM

It’s a good thing the South Pacific Islanders considered making them out of wood, or surfboards would’ve never been invented! :)

Swied, Sweet project! I am amazed that the hollow core board has held up that well for so long. Maybe not so many rocks in SD like there are here in Santa Cruz? Just shows that you’re an especially competent woodworker.

Excellent job. Glad you could post some construction photos. It’s really interesting to see it’s guts.

-- Happy woodworking!

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 4063 days

#4 posted 02-07-2008 01:06 PM

This is a nice looking board. I, like cajunpen, know nothing about surfboards but I appreciate the woodworking ex cerise that went into building this one. I enjoyed seeing the construction photo because it would never have occurred to to me that these boards are not solid.

Thanks for the post.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View toyguy's profile


1672 posts in 4079 days

#5 posted 02-07-2008 01:37 PM

Up here in Canada we don’t have much use for this type of project, but it is fascinating. I would love to build something like this…... And Balsa in it to boot…. I would have never guessed.

Great Post, and welcome to the Jocks.

-- Brian, Ontario Canada,

View MsDebbieP's profile


18618 posts in 4402 days

#6 posted 02-07-2008 01:52 PM

it’s gorgeous..

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View Eric's profile


43 posts in 4026 days

#7 posted 02-07-2008 02:00 PM

Very cool!

-- Eric

View Tony Z's profile

Tony Z

205 posts in 4031 days

#8 posted 02-07-2008 03:04 PM

Nice work. It looks like I have a gift idea for my surfer brother. How long did it take and what kind of surface is on the top? I guess I could just check out your log.

-- Tony, Ohio

View CharlieM1958's profile


16281 posts in 4460 days

#9 posted 02-07-2008 03:41 PM

Wow! What a unique board! I’ll bet it is a real conversation starter at the beach.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Critterman's profile


601 posts in 4051 days

#10 posted 02-07-2008 03:58 PM

Very cool

-- Jim Hallada, Chesterfield, VA

View Harold's profile


310 posts in 4089 days

#11 posted 02-07-2008 04:27 PM

Great board, I have been thinking about a paddle board, But this is really beautiful.

-- If knowledge is not shared, it is forgotten.

View swied's profile


74 posts in 4003 days

#12 posted 02-07-2008 05:05 PM

Thanks everyone. The board is 6’ 2” long, 20” wide, and 3” thick. It ended up being about 15 lbs when it was finished. This is a bit on the heavy side for a surfboard, but I have gotten used to it. In fact, I now prefer a heavier board. When I surf my old foam boards now they feel too flippy floppy.

I designed the board using a software program called APS 3000 ( ). I made sure to give the board a sufficient amount of volume to float me while paddling. The design came out at about 2.0 cubic feet, which works out to an average density of about 7.5 lbs per cubic foot. The density of balsa is about 15 pounds per cubic foot, and redwood is 28 pounds per cubic foot. You can see the obvious need to hollow out the inside. Knowing what I do now I could probably have shaved another 3 to 5 lbs off of the final weight by doing better wood selection, and more aggressive chambering.

-- Scott, San Diego

View Harold's profile


310 posts in 4089 days

#13 posted 02-07-2008 05:08 PM

Okay, I have just went thru the build blog, first what a wonderful group of people participated with you on the blog, that profile template in the sand was so cool. What is the weight of a similar sized foam/fiberglass board? I’m interested to see how the varnish holds up, if for some reason it does begin to cornflake. You could use a clear epoxy (fiberglass hawaii has a good one) to seal the wood first. On the exterior furniture and marine restoration I do, I will seal the wood with 3 coats of epoxy and then 6 coats of the spar. (The cool thing about a clear epoxy seal coat, is that it really highlights the natural colors and textures in the grain.)
Keep us updated man, passion tempered by patience is the way. greatwork!

-- If knowledge is not shared, it is forgotten.

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 4230 days

#14 posted 02-07-2008 06:42 PM

Very nice!

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View Mike Shea's profile

Mike Shea

152 posts in 4235 days

#15 posted 02-07-2008 06:51 PM

thats a great looking board.. and a verry unique project. i surf regularly as well and it has never really acured to me that i can make a board. you have just inspired me to look into making mine. maybey a 9’6 classic single fin with a fat nose for all ten toes….......

-- i can do all things through christ who strengthens me

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