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First Paipo Build

Posted: Sun Dec 22, 2013 7:07 am
by TK1
Hi all,

I thought I'd document my first foray into building (and riding) Paipos.

Following an arm injury which curtailed my competitive kayaking activities combined with a long-repressed desire to surf (I'm 42 and did some when younger, but life got in the way) and a recent surfing lesson, I figured it was time to get into surfing. And in the spirit of walking before I run, I thought I'd lie before I stand. And I really liked my surf mat when younger :D

So, that's my motivation. I'm heading off on holidays in 2 weeks to camp on the coast (south coast of NSW) so just enough time to make a solid wood board and then I can test it out.

As a starting point, I thought I'd use what I had available. Photos show work on day one...I've ripped some red cedar (surian/Australian cedar) - the red stuff; paulownia - the medium light bits, and balsa - the white bits. I was going to use pine instead of balsa, bit thought the balsa would add a bit of lightess/bouyancy. The cedar was just under 1" thick so I've used this as a starting thickness. The cedar was about 12" wide so I decided to cut thatnito strips and combine with the other woods for contrast.

At this stage the plan is to make the final length 40" - 50" (total useable length of the wood is 55" but this is getting onto alaia lengths). Width at the widest point will be around 20" and I plan to have a slightly rounded nose and taper towards the tail by a couple of inches. I'll reduce the thickness slightly and taper towards the front. I'll cover with a thin layer of fiberglass to protect the balsa, then varnish.

Only decision now is on fins/skegs, I'm thinking of a couple around 6" at the base by 3" high, glassed on wood fins in cedar. Bottom will be flat.

I'm open to ideas and input on final shape, tail design, bottom profile and fin placement/size. We'll see how it progresses!

Tomorrow or the next day should see it all glued up, then on Boxing Day I'll define the final shape and finish ready for glassing.

May make a handplane or two for bodysurfing out of the scrap.

Regards,
Darren

Re: First Paipo Build

Posted: Sun Dec 22, 2013 3:28 pm
by bgreen
Darren,

Looks like you don't need any wood working advice and your skills would be much greater than mine anyway. Personally, I wouldn't worry about fins too much.

To avoid disappointment - some comments. You'll find the board has much lower flotation than your surfmat, a bodyboard or surfboard. If you haven't swum a lot or used flippers in a while, I wouldn't be counting on getting out to a bank a 100 metres off shore and catching lots of waves. As a beginner you'll probably get in other's way and as a prone surfer be at the bottom of the pecking order. You'll need somewhere with a break not too far from shore to get started - keep expectations low and you can have a lot of fun.

You could get away with a virtually flat bottom (I put a bit of roll just before the rail to thin them a bit - a hard rail edge is fine - softer toward the nose), add a bit of nose lift starting 12" -18" or so from the nose to reduce nose-diving. If you go finless a reasonably flat tail would be fine, the corners /rail line become your fins. I've never heard of varnishing a fibreglassed board.

Bob

Re: First Paipo Build

Posted: Sun Dec 22, 2013 5:08 pm
by TK1
Hi Bob,

Thanks for the design tips, I'll definitely incorporate them...although looking at some older boards, I am also considering a slight pin tail and single fin fir a retro look. Any thoughts on comparative performance between this, twin and finless?

I wasn't expecting comparable flotation, I figured it would be submerged until I get on a wave. I plan to coat with varnish as I do this on wood kayaks, as it protects the glass/epoxy and also.makes it shiny.

I appreciate the surfing tips too :-). No plans to paddle a ling way offshore! althoygj a strong swimmer, I'll be practicing in shore breaks and don't expect to see any huge waves where I'm going anyway. So this will just be for learning and fun so I have some experience before building more boards, including a longboard so I can stand up.

As a balding, 42-year old noob who also rides a SUP I expect to be at the bottom of the pecking order even if I was on a shortboard :-) so no drama there, I'll hang with the other bodyboarders anyway.

Darren

Re: First Paipo Build

Posted: Mon Dec 23, 2013 6:32 am
by bgreen
Darren,

A pintail would typically be designed for hollower waves - I wouldn't pull the tail in much because it is the turning/planning surface and will be easier to ride. Starting out you don't need to be too bothered by design. The alaia style shape has been tried and proven over many years - failing all else. The beauty of wood boards is their simplicity.

Single fin/twin fin (I'd go twins just because you can go smaller and you don't need a whole lot of fin)- these could be added afterwards if you decide finless isn't for you. Why not glass it, ride it and then decide if you want to add fins. You could then add the varnish.

Bodyboarders won't necessary claim you either. Find a wave you can ride away from the hordes - the more waves/experience will increase the stoke and your skill.


Bob

Re: First Paipo Build

Posted: Mon Dec 23, 2013 6:30 pm
by rodndtube
I have a fin orientation -- to keep things fluid think about adding two side fin boxes (FCS or Futures, or another favorite fin box) and a standard Fins Unlimited Center box. This way you can experiment with and without fins and certainly can change out fins types, sizes and center positioning. You will notice big differences between finned and finless and various finned variations.

Re: First Paipo Build

Posted: Tue Dec 24, 2013 7:48 am
by bgreen
Rod,

Not sure how thick the board will be and with all the issues of fin placement this might be overkill in a basic wood board.

Bob

Re: First Paipo Build

Posted: Tue Dec 24, 2013 5:51 pm
by rodndtube
Bob, that is why one should be open to experimentation before committing to one design vs. another design, single fin, 2, 3 or 4 fins or none. Each person needs to pursue their own path or the simple answer would be... buy a boogie board! Boogies work, too! As I said above, explicitly and transparently, I have a fin orientation :)

Re: First Paipo Build

Posted: Tue Dec 24, 2013 8:17 pm
by bgreen
Rod,

Your advice makes sense for a foam board - especially if you have a shaper you can discuss this stuff with. For a beginner, making wood board #1 I'd still keep it simple as.

Next year the brains trust finless board might be unleashed on an unsuspecting public. Then there is also John Galera's smaller wave board (not sure if I call 10' Hawaiian small surf) that has recently been tested.

Bob

Re: First Paipo Build

Posted: Wed Dec 25, 2013 1:40 am
by rodndtube
For me, using basic fin boxes for experimenting with various fin variations is a prudent way to go... if somebody is going to experiment with fins, wood or foam.

For every argument for or against material types, plan shapes, fins, rails, rocker, length, width, thickness, etc., there are examples by riders of a wide range of skill and ability and different wave conditions there is can work for the rider and the board. This is also true of foot boards, short and long. One needs to explore these paths for one's self based upon their own situation and preferences.

Re: First Paipo Build

Posted: Wed Dec 25, 2013 11:07 am
by soulglider
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boys, boys! both of you guys are correct except for one thing. i live in the land of all the great shapers, just ask any of them, they'll tell you. i have found out the hard way (in the pocket book-about 13 boards in 1.5 years) that the only true way to get what you are looking for is to build boards yourself. foam or wood. i am the laziest fvxk on the planet and i've shaped my own and got someone to glass them for me. foam boards cost me anywhere from $10-$75 for a blank and about $85-$150 for glassing. it was fun, messy, tiring and worth it. my ideas were always shipped on by these guys saying things like "that will never work around here" and "that goes against the laws of hydrodynamics". i can tell you one thing, it doesnt matter what you make, it will work. the question would be, do you like the way it works. for some unknown reason, your gut instincts are your best guide. the fastest, most manuverable wood board i made, i made in 15 mins and just dumped a bunch of shellac on. square rails, blunt nose, weird swallow tail bam! instant fun. and the foam? the biggest thing i found out is, that it only needs to look perfect or be perfect if youre trying to sell them. but, a wave doesnt know if both side match or if....it doesnt know anything, they are perfect. experiment! thats the key, to having fun. Mele Kalikimaka!

Re: First Paipo Build

Posted: Wed Dec 25, 2013 4:04 pm
by jbw4600
I agree with you about making your own boards. With all its flaws, my new foam board I made is the best board I have ever ridden. I even glassed my own board. It was very messy, especially having only having a single primitive workspace. I learned a lot from my wood board also. It was very hard to ride at first. The one thing I will say about your board build is to put as much rocker in the nose as possible. My wood board only has 1 inch of rocker. It works good in flatter well formed waves. But in steep "wilder" it nose dives very easily. But all the wood guys will have different opinion. I love twin fins also.

Re: First Paipo Build

Posted: Thu Dec 26, 2013 12:44 am
by bgreen
Good to see a cross-section of views. Rod and I will probably always differ on fins but not on the stoke of surfing. I think the beauty of wood boards is, as Tim suggested, that a simple piece of wood can produce a whole lot of fun, even better when you've made it yourself.

Interesting to see what Darren comes up with.

Bob

Re: First Paipo Build

Posted: Thu Dec 26, 2013 7:14 am
by TK1
Hi all,

Good to see all the input and views, thanks for the interest and help :-)

Finally got it all glued up - pic below. Looks a bit messy at present! I used urethane so it expanded as I don't have a jointer/planer or thicknesser, so had to rely on my accuracy with the old tablesaw. The glue will fill any small gaps.

The pieces are around 1" thick. I am hoping to put a bit of rocker in the nose so will taper it down from the highest point (after some planing to get it all fairly flat) to around 18" from the nose. The nose profle will be a flattened semicircle (half an oval on it's long side?). From around 24" back I'll taper in slightly to the rear, which I'll leave flat. Maybe 1" off each side, just to give it a streamlined look.

I'll plane/route out the rear deck down to around 1/2" so there's a bit of curve up in the nose and I reduce the overall thickness a bit. I am leaning towards two small skegs/fins at this stage. My first one, so a bit of a performance experiement.

Hopefully get into the initial shaping on the weekend.

Darren

Re: First Paipo Build

Posted: Sun Dec 29, 2013 6:38 pm
by TK1
Hi,

Managed to get the board out of the clamps yesterday, took off the ends so it's currently about 44" long, and gave it an initial planing with a hand power planer. Some tear-out, and I managed to drop my square on a bit of the balsa so it has its first ding :(

Tomorrow will be cutting out the final shape...still unsure how short to make it, I'm thinking around 40" for this one. Then glassing on the weekend, a quick sand ant it should be ready to go.

Darren

Re: First Paipo Build

Posted: Sun Dec 29, 2013 11:22 pm
by bgreen
44"or how about 42". More important is how thick.

Bob

Re: First Paipo Build

Posted: Mon Dec 30, 2013 10:07 am
by GeoffreyLevens
[quote] More important is how thick./quote]
Isn't that what she said?

Re: First Paipo Build

Posted: Mon Dec 30, 2013 4:46 pm
by TK1
Hi Bob,

It should end up around 1/2" or so thick, plus the thickness of the glass (which won't be a lot I guess, and hopefully not add much weight).

Darren

Re: First Paipo Build

Posted: Mon Dec 30, 2013 6:33 pm
by bgreen
I'd go a little thicker. I just checked a wood board I have. The rail is 7/16 about mid-rail and 1/2" at the tail. The centre of the board would probably be appx 1/8" + thicker.


Bob

Re: First Paipo Build

Posted: Wed Jan 01, 2014 5:54 pm
by TK1
Hi,

Got the board almost fully shaped - see pic below. Was raining all day so squeezed in under the house (not quite head-high, so a few bumps) and a bit messy, but got the job done. Overall around 42" long and 1/2 or so thick - I'll measure once finish sanded - and just need to smooth out the curves a little more. Tapered towards the back by about 3/4" on each side, and I put a curve in the tail as I didn't like it squared off.

Pic is of the top, I'll taper the front up under the curved section and maybe 1 - 2 inches back, and a little at the rear to give it a slight rocker,a nd will add 2 small fins from scrap wood.

If the fiberglass place is open today, I'll get the epoxy and have it coated/finished on the weekend. Then can give it a try.

Darren

Re: First Paipo Build

Posted: Thu Jan 02, 2014 12:08 am
by rodndtube
Another fin (skeg) option would be checking out the fins used on kite boards. There are a number of screw-in fins that would be in the general size you mentioned you are interested in.