Better Ways to Build Surfboards: shaping in 1935

"At the California beaches there are schoolboys who easily rival the best Hawaiian experts in the thrilling sport of surfboard riding. That is partly because of the superior surfboards they use - light, buoyant and beautifully finished".


The opening lines of "Better Ways to Build Surfboards", a 1935 article published in the famous "Popular Science" magazine, are simply delicious. The entire text written by Hi Sibley explains a common citizen how to build a surfboard with reinforced balsa wood and laminated pine-and-redwood.

Back in 1935, handmade drawings were crucial to design the best surfboards possible. The concept of "shaping" had other priorities. Size, thickness of the materials and overall hydrodynamics assumed different functions and final results in a wave.

Interestingly, building a surfboard was something that the average non-surfer could actually create, according to the publishers of "Popular Science". If you had the right "foam" and a few math skills, you could get you first surfboard for riding Californian waves.

It is also interesting that surfing was showing signs of high popularity. Publishing a two-page article about surfboards in a science magazine was a huge hit for the surfing community.

"Better Ways to Build Surfboards" is a great piece of surf history. Find the details and, why not, try for yourself. You can read it in a better resolution.

Learn how to shape a surfboard.