EARLY 1900s WOOD SURFBOARDS
By the close of the 1800s, surfing had all but vanished in Hawaii and elsewhere. Without getting into detail here, we'll just say it was due to 'outside' influences.
However, by the early 1900s there was a resurgence in the popularity of surfing, led by world famous surfing and Olympic swimming champion and Hawaiian Ambassador, Duke Kahanomoku.
Before the days of Duke Kahanamoku, the early wood surfboards were made of the local woods found in Hawaii. By the early 1900s, different mainland woods were being shipped to Hawaii for use in construction. This is the time redwood surfboards became the standard at Waikiki.
We'll never know who the first surfer was to build and surf a redwood surfboard but played a roll in the resurgence of surfing since boards were able to be made in large numbers and various sizes.
The old wood surfboards were referred to planks due to their shape resembled a straight flat plank 'Walk the plank'. They also looked like big elongated tomb stones. Most wooded surfboards would usually range in size from 5' to 12' and could weigh in excess of 100 pounds.
The 'plank' wood surfboards would virtually be the only board found in the surf until the late 20s when other woods and waterproof glues were introduced. Occassionally, a surfer could still be found surfing an old redwood surfboard into the early 1950s.
Nowadays these heavy old surfboards are only used for display purposes.
Surf History Preservation Collection
P.O. Box 5637 Hilo, Hawaii 96720
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Different styles of early wood surfboards :
Ancient Hawaiian Olo Breadfruit
Ancient Hawaiian Alaia Koa
1890's Hawaiian Plank w/ metal
Waikiki Redwood Plank
Balsa, Redwood & Pine
Tom Blake 'Catalina' Hollow
Makaha Redwood Hot Curl
Hawaiian 'Aloha' bellyboard
Bob Shepherd Sunset Beach Balsa
Greg Noll Balsa
Pat Curren Balsa & Redwood Gun
Velzy - Jacobs Balsa Pig
Surfboards Hawaii Balsa Gun
Diffenderfer Chambered Balsa