Bamboo Surfboards Hawaii small header
Bamboo Surfboards Hawaii small menu placeholder

by Gary Young

From my first trip to the Big Island in August of 1989, I noticed an attraction, a comfort. It was not until living here for a few years that I realized why. Hawaiians call the Godess of the volcano “Pele”. The mana (energy) of Pele is a new or creative energy that I find inspirational to my creative urges. It is here on the Big Island that my bamboo surfboard ideas emerged into the real world. Like lava flowing, techniques for making bamboo for surfboards have been evolving for many years. What follows is the first installment in a series of updates and history of that evolution……….the Evolution to Bamboo.



Photo Left:
New beaches on the Big Island of Hawaii are being created by lava even as you read this. But, it will be many, perhaps thousands of years before someone can surf them.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, 2001


I paddled into my local lineup on the rocky, reef deficient East side Big Island today. A haole kid saw my bamboo board and in slight pidgin, asked: “Eh, brah! Nice board! How long you been shaping?”

In preparation for this article I had been looking at lots of old photos. I had just seen the first board I had “shaped” in 1963 - an old Walker blank from San Clemente. My “shaping” consisted of scrapping off the hard foam crust. It wasn’t a close tolerance blank - but hey, I shaped it - didn’t I?

So I told the kid “I started in 1963.....” expecting him to figure it out .

“Brah, I go Pahoa, I no can do da math.” he said.

I replied “I have been shaping over 40 years.”

“Wow, dats a long time. Anyway, da bamboo THEORY kinda’ cool!” he remarked.

“THEORY!” I gasped. “This is NO THEORY, it is real!
It is not just an idea, this is a real board.”

Photo Above: New Bamboo Surfboards are being created almost daily. Sherri, Clyde and the first Biofoam Bamboo Fish - You CAN ride these at your local beach. January 2007, Hilo.

“Well mabbe if dey moa popular....” he said.

A set was coming, I muttered as I paddled for position
“Just because Bamboo surfboards are not in the
magazines does not mean they are a theory.”



LEFT: Kona’s Ceviche Dave – testing the ‘Bamboo Theory’ - Winter 2007 on a 6-5 Bamboo Fish shaped and laminated by Gary Young.
Photo: Blaine Alconera

Next Page    >    Bamboo and Composites


What's New


Surf Boards

Alaia Lite

Standup Boards


Bamboo Stuff


Contact Us

Please Visit Our Main Web Site at
Wooden Classics Hawaii

topmenu placeholder