Alaia for prone riding

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Alaia for prone riding

Unread post by spudnut » Thu Nov 03, 2011 11:40 pm

My son and I have been really curious about riding an alaia surfboard. We are thinking about a board approx. 5 1/2' long that can be used both for standing and prone. How does a board of that length ride prone (e.g. speed, wave catching ability, duckdiving, turning) when compared to say a 4' board?

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Re: Alaia for prone riding

Unread post by GeoffreyLevens » Fri Nov 04, 2011 10:55 am

Uncle Grumpy is da Man around here for that. BJ Shearsby aka Kid also but I don't think he has migrated from old forum yet, proly too busy w/ his kidlet and surfing.

This is from Tom Wegener's site
The Finley Model alaia (Japan – Hina)
This is my favorite style alaia because it works great both for lying down and standing up. It is for just about any wave, from huge to very small. Where I live, the surf is mostly small.
Length: 5’5” to 7’8”
Thickness: ¾ to 1”
Width: 15 ½ to 18”
This alaia has a light roll on the deck and a concave running from the nose all the way to the tail. The concave is 3/8” deep. This really helps keep the surfboard from sliding sideways too much and gives the board more traction in the face. The goal of the Finley alaia is to give the surfboard just the right amount of flex. With a good flex, catching the wave is easier and the surfboard is very responsive to turning.
The Finley model alaia is also great to ride prone. It is very fast in small waves and makes them very fun and exciting to ride. Because this surfboard is so thin, you control the flex and fit into the wave dynamically.
I think this model is most all round alaia surfboard imaginable. It rides tiny, midsized and massive waves. I went to Taiwan expecting to find small surf and I only brought a 6’ and 6’6” Finley alaia models. To my utter surprise, the surf was very big on one side of the island. In the morning I rode the big surf prone and was able to handle big drops and a dangerous impact zone on the 6 footer. In the afternoon on the other side of the island, I rode small waves standing up on the same alaia surfboard model.
Recently I was in Japan on a promotional trip. The weather was beautiful but the surf was very small. With regular surfboards, even the long boards, the trip would have been sad. But, with the Finley Model alaia I had an absolute blast and surfed 6 hours a day. I visited many beaches where the locals were waiting for surf. I let them use an alaia and they were with me catching lots of little screamers. One local said, “This is a lot more fun than a boogie board.”

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Re: Alaia for prone riding

Unread post by Uncle Grumpy » Fri Nov 04, 2011 12:25 pm

My daily ride is modeled after Tom Wegener's Finley.
We met at Sacred Craft a few years ago and I bent his ear for quite a while before building it.
It is by far, my favorite board for surf under head high.

5' 5" X 15.5" X < 3/4"
Paulownia with a Tung Oil based Salad Bowl finish.
IMGP3438.JPG
IMGP3362.JPG
IMGP3352.JPG
Speed? This is where these boards really shine. Got to be one of, if not THE fastest surf toy around. The extra length allows me to get my fins totally out of the water when needed for maximum speed.

Wave Catching? It's like any other low volume/flotation board. Sit on the peak or stroke really hard. Your choice.
I have to say, if you plan on riding it stand up, you may want a bit more length and/or volume and you better be a helluva paddler.

Duck Diving? Low volume & flotation = Super easy duck dives. More volume will of course be harder to get under.

Turning? It will make beautiful, smooth cut backs and mid face turns but plan on some time to get it sussed out.
I have been riding this board almost exclusively for close to two years now and learn something new about it's capabilities almost every go out.
Another, in the many reasons I really love this board.
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Re: Alaia for prone riding

Unread post by spudnut » Fri Nov 04, 2011 2:35 pm

UG,

What do you think the pros & cons of that exact same board would be, only increase the width to 20"?

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Re: Alaia for prone riding

Unread post by bgreen » Fri Nov 04, 2011 2:56 pm

5'-5' 5'" should be fine for an alaia to be ridden prone but probably too short to be ridden standup. Not impossible but difficult. The low bouyancy makes paddling and catching waves more difficult - especially if you are used to higher bouyancy surf craft. If you've ridden a HPD or ply boards the transition shouldn't be a big deal. I was out in the surf with a guy who made an alaia but gave up on it because he couldn't catch waves and when he did couldn't turn it like his surfboard.

The learning curve can be pretty steep, again all depending on what you have surfed previously. If you go with the attitude that you are learning to surf all over again you'll be fine. Find a spot where there aren't too many people out so you can catch more waves and not kill anyone in the process. This applies much more to standing up as the prone basics should come easier. These boards are also ideally suited to longer lined style waves.

If both you and your son are wanting to ride them, I'd go for a shorter and a longer board rather than trying to find the perfect all purpose length. I was reading John Clark's book on Hawaiian surfing, and traditional alaias were being described as 10'. You can go way shorter than this but it gives you the idea that 5' may be too short for stand up. On the other hand, if too long this will require more moving around to ride it prone.

Bob

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Re: Alaia for prone riding

Unread post by Uncle Grumpy » Fri Nov 04, 2011 3:09 pm

UG,

What do you think the pros & cons of that exact same board would be, only increase the width to 20"?
To be perfectly honest, I have no idea.
However and keep in mind I ride prone only,
The first board I built was 5' X 20 X 3/4 and I'm in the process of cutting it down in width and thickness.
I'd say, if you are looking to ride a proper alaia for both prone and stand up, go longer and thicker, not wider.
As mentioned, these boards are not easy to ride or paddle standup style.
Bob's idea of two boards is better if it's in the budget.
Surfboards are like boats, none are perfect and every one is a compromise.
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Re: Alaia for prone riding

Unread post by spudnut » Fri Nov 04, 2011 3:45 pm

This design has really got me thinking about a combo board, the price - ouch!

http://www.xylemsurfboards.com/-The--In ... laia-.html

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Re: Alaia for prone riding

Unread post by Uncle Grumpy » Fri Nov 04, 2011 5:54 pm

Considering the costs of lumber these days that's not a bad price.
You could make it yourself for 1/4 that price of course but finding appropriate wood is the hard part.
These guys have paulownia but it ain't cheap.
http://www.woodsurfboardsupply.com/wood_kits.html
Many of the woods in the list I posted the other day would work as well.
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Re: Alaia for prone riding

Unread post by bgreen » Sat Nov 05, 2011 4:30 pm

Are you near Jon Wegener? See if he will let you test ride one? You could always ask Tom. Supply your weight & height. He's pretty helpful.


Bob

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Re: Alaia for prone riding

Unread post by Uncle Grumpy » Sat Nov 05, 2011 7:43 pm

Yeah I shoulda mentioned Tom & Jon are both very approachable and nice guys.
They can on occasion be hard to get a hold of but I guess that's true of most surfers........ :)
Jon is based in Hermosa I think Spud.
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Re: Alaia for prone riding

Unread post by spudnut » Sat Nov 05, 2011 8:18 pm

I will see if I can get in touch with Jon, since I figure that he is a bit closer :lol:

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Re: Alaia for prone riding

Unread post by spudnut » Sun Nov 13, 2011 10:52 pm

Uncle Grumpy wrote:My daily ride is modeled after Tom Wegener's Finley.
We met at Sacred Craft a few years ago and I bent his ear for quite a while before building it.
It is by far, my favorite board for surf under head high.

5' 5" X 15.5" X < 3/4"
Paulownia with a Tung Oil based Salad Bowl finish.
IMGP3438.JPG
IMGP3362.JPG
IMGP3352.JPG
Speed? This is where these boards really shine. Got to be one of, if not THE fastest surf toy around. The extra length allows me to get my fins totally out of the water when needed for maximum speed.

Wave Catching? It's like any other low volume/flotation board. Sit on the peak or stroke really hard. Your choice.
I have to say, if you plan on riding it stand up, you may want a bit more length and/or volume and you better be a helluva paddler.

Duck Diving? Low volume & flotation = Super easy duck dives. More volume will of course be harder to get under.

Turning? It will make beautiful, smooth cut backs and mid face turns but plan on some time to get it sussed out.
I have been riding this board almost exclusively for close to two years now and learn something new about it's capabilities almost every go out.
Another, in the many reasons I really love this board.

What do you like to ride when the waves are overhead such as DOH with some juice?

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Re: Alaia for prone riding

Unread post by Uncle Grumpy » Mon Nov 14, 2011 12:42 am

A beach chair. :lol:
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Nose on the nose,
No grunting he-man pose.
See how fast he goes!
What is it he knows?

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Re: Alaia for prone riding

Unread post by spudnut » Mon Nov 14, 2011 12:48 am

:lol: :lol: :lol:

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Re: Alaia for prone riding

Unread post by Uncle Grumpy » Mon Nov 14, 2011 11:14 am

Seriously,
DOH is waves in 10'-12' range. I ride prone because of physical limitations and waves that big are generally not in my repertoire anymore; 6'-8' is about my limit.
If there was a spot with a channel and a peak I might give a go but around here size means lots of paddleing and BIG CROWDS.
The board I currently use on bigger days is a custom balsa twin fin shaped by Terry Martin with fins by John Cherry.

50" X 21.5"
terry_martin_paipo[1].jpg
terry_martin_paipo[1].jpg (11.03 KiB) Viewed 2809 times
paipo[2].jpg
paipo[2].jpg (13.05 KiB) Viewed 2809 times
nubby_fins[1].jpg
nubby_fins[1].jpg (19.43 KiB) Viewed 2809 times
I also have a couple other boards in the works at this time........
Paipo surfer in repose,
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See how fast he goes!
What is it he knows?

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Re: Alaia for prone riding

Unread post by flojo » Mon Apr 06, 2015 1:22 am

I have a wegner 5'8 albacore and when riding it prone, I have a hell of a time keeping it from sideslipping if not in exactly, and I mean exactly, the right spot on the board. it is very fast, but I find the sideslipping so annoying that I hardly ride it anymore. I have actually thought of adding a fin or two --although that seems almost sinful.

Do the 5 foot + wooden boards have this tendency or does the thinness and lack of floatation help the hold better?

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Re: Alaia for prone riding

Unread post by Uncle Grumpy » Mon Apr 06, 2015 10:13 am

The thin wood boards that make up most of my quiver will side slip, but only down in the flat, they hold well higher up in the wave. YMMV
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No grunting he-man pose.
See how fast he goes!
What is it he knows?

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Re: Alaia for prone riding

Unread post by OG-AZN » Mon Apr 06, 2015 3:09 pm

The thin wood boards side slip less because it's easier to get their thin rails to bite when you lean into a turn, and the traditional alaia style shapes have a narrow tail section that makes it easier to trail your legs/fins over the side for additional control.

Thicker, wider soft boards or foam/glass boards over 4ft are much harder to ride prone without skegs because you have less ability to use your fins and legs for control, and the thicker rails don't bite like thin wood boards. It's easier to stand up surf on them because your weight is distributed differently , you have more leverage/ control using your feet/legs, and you can stick your hand into the wave face for additional control too.

@flojo do you ever surf OBSF?

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Re: Alaia for prone riding

Unread post by flojo » Tue Apr 07, 2015 9:17 pm

Hey Og-yes on occasion, I do surf OB

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Re: Alaia for prone riding

Unread post by nomastomas » Tue Apr 07, 2015 10:35 pm

Uncle Grumpy wrote:Seriously,
... is a custom balsa twin fin shaped by Terry Martin with fins by John Cherry.......
That's a classic, representing two master craftsmen. Does it have concave between the fins? The fins look to be symmetrically foiled and set without toe-in, is that correct? Beautiful board...
"This is a paipo site...isn't it?"
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