During a past trip to the west coast, we jammed a foot in the door of the Surfing Heritage Museum just before it closed. Barry Haun was nice enough to stick around for an hour so that we could run around the place physically touching the history that's inspired us. The boards are arranged on the wall roughly in date order so you can see the progression of board design and materials. It's an education and an inspiration and we urge folks to visit if they can, and if they can't - to donate so this great place can keep the doors open. With every donation they automatically give something back to you as well - goodies like T-shirts and gift certificates - so it's a good deal as well as a good deed. Just click this link: Support Surfing Heritage
We were able to look for some of our favorite boards which were almost all in the museum. There were a huge variety of original kook-box style boards there which, when you think about it, makes sense: many people don't realize that half the boards on California beaches (just before foam made the scene) were wood kookboxes. The other half were solid or chambered balsa, redwood or cedar.
We like to think about the heritage of surfing at Grain because our method of construction was born from that developed by Tom Blake in the 1920's during surfing's resurgence. Rendering modern-plan boards into durable, high-performing surfboards using a deeply evolved but related plank-on-frame method connects us to that heritage.
We also think a lot about the connection everyone gets to this heritage when they build their own board. For the first fifty years of surfing's modern-day comeback (1903-1953), that's what everyone did. It was the only way to get a board, and that inspired innovation and discovery. These were the days of Bob Simmons, of Joe Quigg and the hot curls and of some of the true milestones of board evolution. Building your own board in those days was normal, so it was also an integral part of the surfing experience that no surfer could - or would - miss.
Soon, one-time home-builder Dave Sweet got the foam/glass board dialed and that begat pro-shapers, which begat surf-shops which begat Gidget, and so on. The world changed, and building your own became a fringe thing. But slowly, the world is swinging back, people crave uniqueness in a pop-out world as well as ways to be environmentally responsible. We are always psyched to see how many people are out there trying to build their own. There's no reason not to: there are lots of surf-supply companies that cater to home-builders now (besides Grain) including Foam-EZ and Greenlight Surf Supply. All you need is the space, a little instruction, and you're back where some of the greats started; building your own and thinking about how to make boards surf better, hopefully with less impact on the planet. It's a great winter or no-swell project, and you won't believe how satisfying it is to meld with surfing's history just a little bit and and get your own board as well!
Some other places where you might find inspiration:
korduroy.tvSurfer SteveWooden Surfboards Blog from Australia