Quick Facts About Alaia Surfboards

Alaia surfboards are made like the old surfboards that were ridden before the 20th century in Hawaii. The boards were usually between 7 and 12 feet long and weighed up to 100 pounds. These surfboards were usually made from Acacia koa and had no ventral fins, like is found on modern surfboards. Modern alaia surfboards are made of almost any wood, but usually paulownia wood is used. Consider some quick fact around alaia surfboards.

The Use of Paulownia Wood

Paulownia wood has the ability to resist saltwater, which makes it a great wood to use to make a surfboard. Because of this, you do not need to varnish or glass boards made of this wood. You can just put beeswax and linseed oil to get the finish you need for good surfing. Paulownia wood is also a very light wood, which makes it better for surfing. This board will also have enough flex to fit the contours of the wave but not so much that it loses speed. This wood used to come from Asia, but is now grown in Australia and even in the United States. Paulownia wood is in high demand and hard to get. In some cases, the wood can have knots. If there are knots present, this can keep the board from splitting. However, too many knots can make the board weaker.

Shaping Alaia Surfboards

If you want to make your own board, you can get a blank that has a template on it. You can shape it with only hand tools if you want, but you can also use electric planers, rotary sanders, and vibrating sanders. The nice thing about making your own is you can shape your board, oil it, and take it for a ride. If you do not like the way it handles, you can take it back and try shaping it again. You can actually keep cutting away until you have a paipo-style board (a smaller surfboard used for wakeboarding and body surfing), and still have fun on it.

Shapes of Alaia Surfboards

If you want maximum speed, use a board that is between 7 feet and 8 foot 4 inches in length. If you want to do maneuvers, use a shorter alaia. The smaller alaia surfboards have a tighter turning radius for better maneuverability. The Finley and Anchovy models are straighter through the tail, which are normally used in the longer alaia surfboards. This makes the boards super fast and hold a nice trim. The Stuth and Peanut models are normally 6 feet 8 inches or shorter with concave bottoms. This makes these surfboards more maneuverable and you can do the forward slide with them, which is called lala. For surfing backside, the Peanut works the best. You can get a square tail with a "V"-shaped bottom or a swallow tail board.


Jon Wegner, the owner and manufacturer of Wegner Surfboards, recommends that you buy an alaia surfboard off the rack, and learn to surf with it first. Then, once you know how an alaia surfboard works, you can decide which type of surfboard you want to purchase or make yourself. Woodworking or wood-shaping experience will help you, but it is not necessary to make your own surfboard.
Ancient Hawaiians and Japanese rode surfboards that were built like the alaia surfboards. The boards have no fins, have less rocker, and less flotation. These surfboards can be from approximately 7 feet long and weigh up to 100 pounds. Riding alaia surfboards, once you learn how, will give you a great surfing experience.

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