Spent last week shaping Alaia's. One of the benefits I find in the shaping process is the space it gives my mind to wander. As I was planing/sanding away I found my thoughts drifting to hawaii.
The boards the hawaiians rode. The sort of waves they might have rode them in. The tales I read in Tom Blake's book 'Hawaiian Surfriders 1935'. The Hawaiian Chiefs. The Priests. The Missionaries who came towards the end. The tales my father shared with me of his visit to the Bishop Museum then later on when he met Tom Stone and shaped a board from Wiliwili with him. The waves I've ridden on my replica Alaia's and Kiko'o's. Catching one wave on the Olo Tom Wegener took with him to King Island.
To me riding an alaia is a lot more than just riding a piece of wood. I have had quite a few people joke with me - calling the Alaia an ironing board, or making jokes about chopping it up for firewood. Thats ok... Maybe they can't see the subtle curves which blend seamlessly together. Maybe they don't realise that in times past surfing was sacred and these were sacred craft. I love the idea that in some small way, I'm sharing in our rich surfing history that spans possibly 1000's of years. And I also love that I can have a heap of fun even when I'm simply trimming.