It seems that as a shaper I have gone full circle, from foam to chambered wooden boards and back. However, the sandwich construction draws on the best elements of each process, delivering an eco aware board with no compensation for weight or performance.
All the boards have a hand shaped EPS foam core, which is then sandwiched (vacuum pressed) between 4 oz fibreglass cloth and wood or cork to form a block. The wood for the rails is then steamed and glued on before the final shaping.
All boards have a choice of tail and nose blocks, as well as fin set up.
The board is then finished in oil or varnish with the cork left bare. Scratches and dings are easy to fix - just clean the surface and touch up. More substantial dings can be repaired with wood and glue. The board doesn't need to be re-coated for years, but if you like your board to look new, or the scrapes are adding up, its great fun to re-oi or re-varnish the board. I use pure Tong Oi or Ronseal clear yacht varnish.
All of my surfboards are made from Paulownia timber grown in Europe. Light, water-resistant, strong, renewable and environmentally friendly it is the ideal wood for surfboards. The Paulownia tree (common name: Princess Tree), originates from Asia, where it is revered for its unique qualities in the production of a wide range of products including aircraft fittings, furniture and musical instruments.
Light, odorless and an easily worked hardwood, it is the lightest known timber other than balsa, but unlike balsa is water-resistant meaning no need to fiberglass or varnish. Only oil is needed as a final coat, meaning no dead weight and a fast surface.
Paulownia trees are ready to harvest after 9 to 12 years with the trees re-coppicing from the stub to produce the same volume of timber in 8 to 10 years. Renewable, fast growers, they are great absorbers of CO2 and must be one of the most environmentally friendly raw materials for surfboards.
There is the option to replace wood on the deck with CoreCork from Amorim, Portugal that is 100% natural, reusable and recyclable.The advantage of using cork is that it is lighter than Paulownia (140Kg/m3 vice 270Kg/m3), does not absorb water and does not require wax as when wet it becomes a natural, non slip and non-abrasive surface.
EPS Foam reduces the weight of a board by around 70% and after much experimenting I do not believe there is an alternative, at the moment, for high level performance. I currently use Marko Foam Blanks