Ricky Muniz got inspired to do something he had never tried before, pulled out his camera to document the process and began building. Inspired by the late Tom Blake as well as Tom Wegener, Ricky utilized the internet (blogs, forums, etc.) as a resources to create something he had never seen in person before. He set out to improve upon an alaia he had previously built by giving it more flotation yet keeping the wood construction. The result: a hollow 4’11”, finless, wooden, kookbox-esque board.
How long has this project taken you to complete?
This is actually part of what I like to call my “Dream Projects”. I started with skateboard decks, a hand-plane, surfboards (P.U. foam), a couple of Alaia’s and now the 4’11 WOODbox. For this last project, I spent months drawing, thinking about the building process, design, tools I would need, etc… but from the moment of buying the wood to sealing the finished shape it took approximately two weeks; working by myself, and with some surf in between.
There was a lot of “off time” in the process waiting for wood glue to dry which I used to start working on the edit and the custom cover. I just got in touch with a local supplier who has the vent plug, which I’ll soon install. I hope to have it ready for the next swell.
What is your background in woodworking? And how did you learn to make a hollow wooden board?
I have never seen any other hollow wooden board so I had to improvise. I live in Puerto Rico and we have a strong surfing culture but this kind of equipment is not common around here.
I got into woodworking influenced by various family members, from arts and crafts to furniture building. Recently, I finished my bachelors degree in Industrial Design, during which I got to better my skills by collaborating with other professional woodworkers on furniture design. At that time I was spending a lot of time sailing, so I started focusing most of my free time to learn about boat building techniques and hull design. There was a lot of reading and research, but a big step was getting the opportunity to help build an 18’ wooden boat with a local boat builder.
As a surfer, all this process helped me understand better my equipment and I started seeing on the web (You Tube, Swaylocks, Korduroy.tv, etc.) what Tom Blake, Bob Simmons, George Greenough, and many others shapers have done on recent times; they all rode and worked on refining their equipment with whatever material they had available at the time. This inspired me to start the exploration into the world of surfboard design. In the last two years I’ve shaped two P.U. surfboards, various alaia shapes and my first prototype of a hollow wooden surfboard.
What made you choose that design?
The first and only wooden board I had seen two years ago was a Tom Wegener alaia in a surf shop and I haven’t seen them since. The bottom contours and feeling of the wooden shape immediately inspired me to go in that direction. After shaping and riding the Alaia I started thinking about working on a similar design, but with better flotation. This led me to a hollow wooden board, and it was designed so that I could build it while working alone on my backyard with the tools I already had.
This board has a strong influence of Tom Blake’s paddleboards on it’s shape, build and flotation, and Tom Wegener’s finless creations for their bottom contours.
What are the dimensions, bottom contours, rocker, etc?
It’s made out of Cedar wood since it’s the lightest wood available in Puerto Rico. 4’11″ x 17″ x 3″ slight hull entry to single concave. Very soft nose rocker (3/4″ aprox.) and almost flat tail.
And lastly, what types of waves do you intend to ride it on..?
I intend to ride this board with a clean swell on one of the softer reef breaks in the area, preferably front-side on waist to chest high waves. At the moment in Puerto Rico finless surfing is almost non-existent so I’m starting to explore the possibilities around our breaks.
I hope everyone enjoys the building process… Any other questions feel free to post them, or go to my website to see other projects…
For more on Ricky’s projects, check out www.wix.com/rickymuniz11/idprojects