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Photo by Chris Hoopes
Heath/Kelley-Inspired Hot Curl Boards

Nose 12" back w 11 3/4" t 2"
Widepoint 82" from tail w 19 1/2" t 3 1/4"
Center w 18 1/2" t 2 5/8"
Tail 12" up w 10 5/16" t 2 3/8"
6" up w 8 1/4"
Square tail 3"

In 1934, frustrated by spinning uncontrollably out of large Hawaiian waves on ten foot square-tailed Hawaiian redwood boards, Hawaiians Fran Heath and John Kelley altered a board and created the first "hot curl" board that would hold in a hot curl. Kelley says, "On every wave we'd catch, if you tried to turn your board a little bit, the back end would come out because there is no skeg, and you'd just 'slide ass' sideways... So we came back to my house at Black Point , and I had two saw horses set up on the porch. I took an ax and said, 'Damn it, however deep this ax goes, I'm gonna cut that much off the side of the board.' So I let it fly and it went into the redwood, and we cut the rails down and made a board with a tail about five inches wide. Where the two sides came together at the bottom it became sort of a vee shape...by mid-afternoon we were back out there with this board. I caught a wave and the tail just dug in and I went right across, and we figured something had happened." (Thanks to Surfer's Journal,Vol. 3, No. 2) Indeed it had. Modern-day big wave guns came from here! The slight "V" shape, which begins about a third of the way from the tail, acts like a skeg and helps the board go down the line instead of spinning out.

This replica was made from salvage old growth redwood logs on the Wood Ranch in Southern Humboldt County. It captures the history and grandeur of those first Hot Curl boards. The lumber was finished milled in my shop.

Photos by Don Forthuber...On right, Doc Ball with a 8/10 board built for his son, Norman Ball, DDS.
Hawaiian-Inspired Redwood Planks

Length 10'
Widest Point 21"
Tail 16"
Thickest Point 3 1/2"

These "planks" were either laminated or solid. They were common in Hawaii and California from the twenties to the forties. The original body materials were combinations of redwood, pine, and red and Port Orford cedar, and some balsa; the nose blocks were usually redwood; the tail blocks often varied. Laminations in my replicas are made with Gorilla glue, a high-tech waterproof, environmentally safe product.

Replicas are available in 4/10, 8/10, and full size. They come standard with nose and tailblocks. Inlays are extra. Finishes are oil, spar varnish, or fiberglass. Every reasonable attempt is made to use recycled lumber or that which is milled from windfalls or logs left from old logging shows. Sawdust and shaving are mulched.

Some models are available in rare curly redwood in sections of the board or in the entire board.

Type, style, and length of board water-based finish marine varnish fiberglass
8' redwood laminated, with nose and tailblocks $2,000 $2,100 $2,700
9' redwood laminated, with nose and tailblocks $2,100 $2,200 $2,800
10' redwood laminated, with nose and tailblocks $2,200 $2,300 $2,900
8' one piece plank-no nose and tailblocks $2,200 $2,300 $2,900
9' one piece plank-no nose and tailblocks $2,400 $2,500 $3,100
10' one piece plank-no nose and tailblocks $2,600 $2,700 $3,300
9' balsa redwood combo, with nose and tailblocks $2,500 $2,600 $3,200
10' balsa redwood combo, with nose and tailblocks* $2,700 $2,800 $3,400
8' curly redwood slab* NA $2,500 $3,100
9' curly redwood slab* NA $2,700 $3,300
10' curly redwood slab* NA $2,900 $3,500

*Desk Holders for Full-size Boards - Make any board above into a desk...$300 (See "Furniture" button on home page)

*Curly redwood may not be available in slabs at all times. Longer boards may be available. Please email me (upnorthsurfer@gmail.com) about your specific needs. Or click here to request a quote.

Click here for more pricing information.

Born-Again Boards uses recycled wood whenever possible.

Background photo by Michael Kew.