This project came about as a result of an attempt to recreate for my kids, the simple sensation of being propelled at speed on a wave, using only a crudely fashioned (and from memory completely flat and unfinished) piece of wood. In the same way that my Dad had done for me.
The basic principle remains intact. That however is about all that remains the same. The first boards I made were simple and effective, but I felt there was scope to improve both the function and the aesthetic.
The first aim was to improve the buoyancy over a solid wooden or plywood board, but without changing the shape or thickness. To achieve this the the boards are constructed with laminates of Finish Birch plywood or solid constructional veneers, with a core made of closed cell foam and Balsa Wood. In order to keep the thickness to a minimum while maintaining the strength, the boards are fibreglassed and finished with a plant based bio-resin. This process of construction is the basis for the shaping and finishing of the the other boards also.
The next aim was to improve the speed and performance of the boards, so the vacuum forming process creates what are effectively small fins at the tail end of the rails and as a result a concave bottom to the board. This helps create speed and directional control.
Following the success of these boards, I have developed a number of variations. Firstly the “Spring Board”, which is exactly the same profile as the foam cored board, but has no foam, but instead a combination of birch plywood and internal fibreglass laminates. This board is only available in Birch and comes with a tough acrylic finish. It’s a little thinner at 6mm and as the name suggests is very flexible. It has little or no buoyancy, but really flies, and the amount of flex allows it to perform quite unlike any other plywood board I’ve ridden.
In trying to build a board that replicates the way a modern foam board performs, I first tried making the core thicker and thicker to get the buoyancy a foam board has. This just resulted in a heavy board with a dead feeling and zero flex. So I started looking at the traditional Hawaiian bodyboard or paipo. The result is a thin, light, flexible board that measure 112cm long by 50cm wide with a thickness tapering from 15mm at the nose to 4mm at the tail. This board is very fast, turns and tracks the face of the wave brilliantly.
Finally there are the aesthetics. There is an inherent beauty to the shape, which combined with the natural grain of the timber lends itself to making the boards into much more than purely functional objects. Here the possibilities are endless. My intention is to offer the foam cored board in a choice of Birch plywood or solid wood veneer finishes. These will be available in a number of solid colour ways with the "BUTCH" logo. There will also be limited runs of fully decorated boards as the "Sea Holly" design by Emma Hardicker, and the Chinese Silk designs shown on this page. Personalisng boards is also an option, and I’m happy to discuss options.
A dedicated website is under way and will hopefully be up and running soon. In the meantime if anyone would like to discuss a board then please contact me by email or on one of the phone numbers at the foot of the page.
I'm also keen for the boards to be tested further, so if you are a keen/experienced bodyboarder(foam or wood) then I'd be pleased to hear from you. A farm in rural Herefordshire isn't the most obvious location for surf craft to be made, or the most convenient.
Finally, I have a number of skateboards, either as decks only, or I can supply complete with wheels and trucks. There are simple cruiser boards, laminated decks and longboards. All using beautiful locally sourced timber, and with a twist here and there. I’ll put a couple of images on this page, but will go into a little more detail when I get the new website up and running.
Italian Black Poplar Bellyboard
Foam cored bellyboard constructed with locally sourced Poplar and decorated with dried pressed seaweed collected in Devon. The seaweed is sealed beneath the fibreglass finish.
For Sale : £275.00
Birch plywood with a foam core, wrapped in a Chinese wallpaper design by Fromental. Fully fibreglassed. FOR SALE £275.00
Laminated Birch plywood board with foam core. Decorative laminate taken from a silk screen print design by Birmingham based artist Emma Hardicker. FOR SALE : £295.00
Ocean Pitch Boards
A little collaboration with the brilliant Ocean Pitch in Croyde, Devon. There are a couple of boards as demo boards at the site, and available to buy as either traditional bellyboard and paipo. As standard they are available in Birch , but I can offer other options including personalisation. Please contact me for details.
COST: Bellyboard £225.00 Paipo £240.00
Packaging and carriage £20.00
Laminated Birch plywood board with foam core, with a design taken from a hand painted silk wallpaper by Fromental. FOR SALE : £275.00
The underside of a bare wood board prior to fibreglassing, showing the vacuum shaped rails and tail of the board.
Constructed from laminated Birch plywood with a foam and Balsa wood core. Fully fibreglassed outer with a polished finish. 117cm x 30cm x 1cm thick. FOR SALE : £195.00
American Black Walnut laminated to a foam core, and fully fibreglassed. FOR SALE £250.00
Black Walnut Alaia
I've had a number of requests from surfers as to whether I could make a board in the style of an Alaia using the same construction methods as the belly boards. Alaias are traditionally solid wood, fin-less surfboards. So the aim is to take the style and performance characteristics of the Alaia, and try to build on that by adding extra buoyancy, and because the board is shaped by vacuum laminating, develop a shape that would be more difficult if shaped from solid, and hopefully improve the performance. The first board has been tested and the results were better than I could have hoped for. A second, and slightly altered board is now under construction. This board is 5ft 8inches long, 18 inches wide and 1.25 inches thick. The outer veneers are American Black Walnut, with a Balsa wood and 1 inch thick foam core. The surface finish is fibreglass with a bio-resin. Please contact me for further information.