Advice for a total beginner?

What works and what doesn't. Share design ideas, references and contacts for paipo board builders.

Advice for a total beginner?

Unread postby WillLeiper » Mon Mar 13, 2017 6:26 pm

Hello! I would love to build a paipo from scratch with my father to use in Pensacola, but I don't quite know where to start. I am mostly confused about the type of wood needed and whether or not the paipo is supposed to float in the water or if it just glides on the wave. Any advice or links to guides would be greatly appreciated. Sorry if this is really stupid, but as I said I am a brand new.
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Re: Advice for a total beginner?

Unread postby mrmike » Tue Mar 14, 2017 10:31 am

a 3/8"' thick 1/2 sheet of ply wood for your first board is a good place to start real cheep but get good plywood birch is good choice @ the home depot. The board does not have to float you it just has to plane well. the best advice I can give you is have fun with it because you will make more .
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Re: Advice for a total beginner?

Unread postby WillLeiper » Tue Mar 14, 2017 11:27 am

Sounds great, should I worry about any fins or bending the wood at all?
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Re: Advice for a total beginner?

Unread postby mrmike » Wed Mar 15, 2017 10:26 am

for the first board keep it flat with no fins. after that one you can try bending the nose then go wild there is no wrong way
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Re: Advice for a total beginner?

Unread postby Nels » Wed Mar 15, 2017 8:30 pm

Advice item #1: Have fun! Have fun researching, have fun making the boards, have fun in the water, and make more boards and have more fun. If you aren't having at least that much fun with the paipo experience, you need to work harder at having more fun. You can't have enough fun, but you can try.

Advice item #2: Take time and go through all the various threads here and see what others have done and may have asked. You will get a wealth of info available nowhere else. Materials, tools, coatings...everything. There are many photos in there too which are great illustrations for you. Read way back as the info is pretty timeless.

Advice item #3: Every time you make a new board and ride it you will immediately see both how much you have learned and what works and what doesn't and will get ideas for the next one. That's one reason to go less expensive with early boards, even if they don't last as long.

Thin materials (wood) tend to flex and with that you don't need something with a turned up nose. I like to piddle with .25" birch ply. I keep meaning to go thicker and someday I might actually do it...

Fins...with boards this small you'll be hanging parts of you off it anyway. Your feet with swimfins can provide all the directional stability and control you'll need. Fins on a board can be a bit of a safety hazard especially when you are just getting into it. That said, fins can add to the experience...and once you cross into that then fin size and placement and a million variables come into play and good luck when you get there...

Ask more questions, especially once you've exhausted the info available here. And be sure to read all the interviews and look at the photos at mypaipoboards.org. Lots of fun stuff, lots of examples.

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Re: Advice for a total beginner?

Unread postby bgreen » Thu Mar 16, 2017 3:13 pm

As Nels said, do some research. Here are some links to similar questions:

viewtopic.php?f=4&t=443&p=3234&hilit=beginner#p3234
viewtopic.php?f=4&t=375
viewtopic.php?f=4&t=218
viewtopic.php?f=4&t=403
viewtopic.php?f=4&t=3234

A wood bard will never be a real floater (perhaps unless you get a chambered one), but it shouldn't sink to the bottom. Ply is a safe known quantity, a wood such as paulownia is good but start simple as others have said.

I don't know what sort of surf you want to surf or how surf fit you are or your surf background, but you might want to start out in a shore break or something close in, to start to get a handle on catching and riding waves. Imagine you are bodysurfing rather than riding a mal.
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Re: Advice for a total beginner?

Unread postby Nels » Thu Mar 16, 2017 3:31 pm

Ooooh...Bob's post reminds me...you don't need to worry much about float, even in Gulf Coast waves. The flat bottom of the paipo will plane once you catch the waves...even if they are small.

Again, this is something that will become more obvious, as in immediately, once you start riding the waves. You could go smaller in board size if made from foam, but we're already talking small boards, and you can go too small.

If you are riding really really small waves in Pensacola and you may be standing and pushing off without swimfins, then maybe a couple of small fins on the boards would help. I'd still start finless though.

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Re: Advice for a total beginner?

Unread postby bgreen » Mon Mar 20, 2017 3:37 pm

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Re: Advice for a total beginner?

Unread postby zensuni » Wed Sep 06, 2017 2:25 pm

Hi, I have been building and riding plywood paipos for 2 years, from my short experience here are some advices:

- go plywood, it is super easy to saw, protect it with some varnish or even home paint.
- if you surf at crowded places, and thus need to use a leash, you can fashion a very simple leash plug by drilling a small hole at the bottom of the board.
- don't use a coiled bodyboard leash, you don't want the board to hit your face if you wipe out. I use a regular surf leash attached to my biceps and to the bottom of the board (in case of wipe out I want some distance between the board and my head). Having said that, plywood paipos are super easy to duck dive, so it is very rare to loose the board.
- unless you ride big waves, you don't need skegs, the board rails and your swim fins do the job, just like a bodyboard. On flat sections you can disengage the rail and enjoy the planning, thus the speed.
- something I struggled to understand at the beginning is how to catch waves with a board that barely floats. Actually you need to position your body far back in order to be as flat as possible (you almost swim behind the board), then when the wave catches you, you position your body on the board.
- get good swim fins that push a lot of water, I use Dafins, it helps a lot to catch waves.
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Re: Advice for a total beginner?

Unread postby GeoffreyLevens » Thu Sep 07, 2017 8:55 am

One more tip, a lot of (all???) plywood has stiff flex in one direction (down its length) and is much softer and more bendy in the other (across the width. Orient your template so the length of your board is the stiffer flex.
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