The surfie is a one size fits all body board. It is a very good size for the average person and will surf really well in small to medium surf. The best part of the board is the flex. A thin flexible board feels so good in little waves that it is addictive. It is like the energy of the wave resonates in the board and is passed on to you. As you ride across waves you can bend the board into the wave and maximise your speed and when you straiten off and ride towards shore you become immersed in the power of the wave. I vividly remember as a child riding a wave right up onto the sand and loving it. I still do this and I still love it.
The surfie differs from an alaia because it has a flat top and bottom. The Alaias have a convex top and curves on the bottom. Each alaia that I make is a custom shape for an individual and is designed for advanced surfing. The surfie is a very good board too but it is not made with big tuberides in mind. It is for enjoying average surf. The thin flexible board allows you to really engage in small surf and go fast!
The complexity of the surfie is in the cuts and quality of the paulownia I use. Everything has to be perfect to make a board that is 11mm thick and will flex into the power of a wave without breaking. It has taken me over 10 years of making wood surfboards from paulownia to know the wood well enough to put my name on this board. The shape is simple but the design is not.
The inspiration for the surfie comes from the UK. I was invited to the World Wood Belly Board Contest and met a world of surfers who had been riding thin wood boards for years. Most of them were over 60 years old and the belly board had kept their surf stoke alive for decades. I met a very nice, core surfer named Charmain who was celebrating her 86th birthday. She had been surfing the thin wood body board for probably 70 years and her smile says it all. In the cold Cornwall surf she explained to me how to properly catch a wave. You wade out into about waist deep water. You wait for a wave to come to you and when it is about 10 feet away you turn around and face the shore. Just as the wave pushes against your bottom, you jump up and then lean forward onto your board. You catch the wave with ease. I have been following her advice ever since and it works! am hoping to bring the stoke of the UK belly boarders to Australia. There are so many small days that are not so good for stand up surfing but are the best for the thin wood boards.
One more thing about the Surfie; it will keep your stoke as you get older. Getting old is something we do if we are lucky. I feel so sad for many older surfers who think they cannot enjoy surfing any more because they cannot stand up on a surfboard. I can relate to them. I have had problems with my knees and hips and they freeze up. This is no reason to stop surfing. I have met several older surfers who feel the same joy on a belly board as they used to feel on a regular board. Here are two more photos from the UK World Wood Belly Board Contest.
I am not saying the surfie is for only for older surfers. I am saying that if you used to love surfing but are intimidated by the waves and the crowds do not give up. Grab a surfie and find (like I have) that riding little waves is really fun and challenging with the same buzz as any other type of surfing. The thin wood belly board may be the fountain of youth