DESIGN: Alaia/Gothic/Church Window
One piece solid Koa Wood.
|FIN: none, standard for the period.|
Collected by J.S. Emerson in Kailaua, Hawaii in 1885
Held by the Bishop Museum, Honolulu, Catalogue No. 293
Images : Margan and Finney, page 23
The Polynesians arrived in Hawaii circa 1000 B.C. with an unequalled maritime knowledge and skills to the finest surfing location on the planet.
Not only was there consistant swell and a tropical climate, but a previously untapped store of timber. Unihabited for X0000 million years, the Hawiian Islands had produced a massive store of surfboard building materials - trees large enough to build sixty foot canoes
The main timbers were...
A tree was selected and felled, sometimes
with religous ceremony or offerings, and a board was roughly shaped by
a stone adze on site.
The finishing process was completed with the addition of kukui nut or coconut oil to assist waterproofing. These contruction processes were not exclusive to surfboards - they were standard practice in canoe building.
Further coatings of oil were regularly
applied as ongoing maintainence.
Dimensions vary between 6 feet and 12 feet
in length, average 18 inches in width, and between half an inch and
an inch and a half thick.
Contemporary accounts definitely confirm that Alaia were ridden prone, kneeling and standing; and that the riders cut diagonally across the wave.
Details of wave size, wave shape, stance and/or manouvres are, as would be expected, overlooked by most non-surfing observers.
Most early illustrations of surfing simply fail to represent any understanding of the mechanics of wave riding. Modern surfing experience would suggest that high performance surfing is limited more by skill than equipment.
It is a distinct probablity that ancient surfers rode large hollow waves deep in the curl - certainly prone, and on occassions standing.
13. Large waves are faster than small waves.- a larger board is easier to achieve take off.
14. Steep waves are faster than flat waves.- a smaller board is easier to control at take off.
15. Control is more important than speed
16. Surfboards are precious.
|Plans and Specifications : Alaia, 1938|