The idea of using a wooden board over a standard foam sled sounds like an idea that disappeared ages ago.
I also didn’t think much about the wooden surfboards until I received a package as a birthday gift.
In the wrapped package was a thin, oval slab of wood.
It was a surfboard like no other.
The board was made out of wood and looked like a hand-crafted piece of furniture with its smooth lines, wood grain, and glossy finish.
Apart from the material, the other thing that I noticed was how slender it was, and it lacked the traditional contours and fins of the traditional surfboards.
Of course, I wanted to try this board so badly, and I took it to the nearby surf break.
At first, the experience was a bit weird, and I think it’s because of the added weight, so it had more momentum than my traditional foam board.
While it wasn’t one to make sharp turns, it pushed through the smaller sections easily.
It allowed me to catch more waves and enjoy riding them whatever the waves were doing.
As I came to learn later, I was riding an Alaia (pronounced ah-LIE-ah), which dates back to ancient Polynesia.
It was a good experience with the board and more like a revelation.
So, fast-forward, I’m now a champion of wooden surfboards, and I’m really glad many surfers have responded positively to this “new” opportunity.
Today, surfers are open-minded, and the wooden surfboards fit nicely into an “alternative” surf craft.
Beyond performance and durability, many riders are opting the wooden planks because of the sustainability element.
Riders want a long-lasting surfboard with the least environmental impact, and the wooden boards seem to offer just that.
More importantly, wooden surfboards help to build a stronger connection with the products we surround ourselves with.
Now, if you’re ready to jump ship, I’m here to guide you.
In the guide below, I’ll share everything you need to know about wooden surfboards. I’ve also included five of my favorite go-to wood boards that will treat you to an authentic surfing experience.
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The Best Wooden Surfboards For The Money
#1 Tonn The Lysander - EDITOR'S CHOICE
Tonn the Lysander slots in at position one of our best wood surfboards for several reasons.
First, it’s an ultra-lightweight longboard.
The middle part of this board consists of honeycomb heart material that feels lighter than its foam counterpart.
One of the benefits of this design is that it’s easier to handle and won’t fatigue you as much as other boards made of natural materials.
Another highlight of this board is the incredible flex. This way, surfers of all levels can find joyriding this board, starting from beginners to advanced.
But that’s not all; Tonn was created for portability, so you won’t struggle to get it on your truck or even on your bike.
It doesn’t fail to impress on the performance either, thanks to the generous volume. It has excellent buoyancy, floats well while still allowing smooth surfing.
On top of that, this wood surfboard has a straightened internal frame and a unique bottom that offer better wave riding and the right balance as you practice surfing.
#2 Truwood Black Mamba Surfboard - Best Wood Surfboard for Intermediate to Advanced Surfers
Truwood is still a relatively new brand in the market.
But this doesn’t make their boards inferior. In fact, some of their models, such as Truwood Black Mamba, are giving the established boards a run for their money.
One of the main attractions of the Black Mamba wood surfboard is that it’s unlike any other wood board.
Yes, it’s made entirely out of natural materials, but it also has a mix of modernity in the execution of the design.
It’s an attractive masterpiece and is sure to satiate even the most discerning surfers.
But the main highlight of the Black Mamba is the excellent performance. It pleased us with its unmatched versatility, allowing us to catch both small and big waves.
While it has a relatively shorter length than the typical mid-lengths, it has a superior performance.
For example, it comes with a widened chest and deck, and this is crucial for paddling.
Meanwhile, its flat rocker plays an important role in enhancing the overall board’s speed.
While still in the shape, surfers will appreciate the round-pin tail construction that helps with better balance and control for easier maneuverability.
Overall, the Black Mamba wood surfboard is a nice eco-friendly choice, quite sustainable, and versatile.
#3 No-Made Nostromo Fish&Retro - Best Wood Surf for Trying New Skills
If you need an eco-friendly surfboard that will help you transition into a new surf skill, consider the Nostromo.
It’s a wonderful mid-length wood surfboard that ticks the boxes in all the right places and is the ideal pick for those who need a performance-oriented all-natural board.
First, it’s made from all-natural materials, primarily from Paulownia wood.
But the best part with the design is the hollow paulownia wood construction.
It’s a nice design, and we love it because of how balanced the board feels and how it improves maneuverability on the waves.
But that’s not all; near the nose, you’ll find a nifty pressure vent, which works magic at improving the board’s overall performance in the waves.
The other distinctive benefit of the Fish & Retro is that it’s an all-around surfboard.
I’ve used it on all types of waves, and this is because of its volume and sheer size.
The 3.9″ nose and 2.3″ pintail will take even the largest waves while still allowing you to surf with ease and maintain better balance.
On top of it all, it has a deep vee that runs from the deck to the bottom of the direction, which facilitates smooth changes in direction and maneuverability.
This deck also has impressive versatility because it can accommodate different configurations.
For example, you can use it as a single fin setup for riders who prefer a classic surfboard style. Alternatively, you can set it up as a 2+1 with a 7″ fin.
And before we forget, the board is intricately designed, with the resin graphics exudes an aura of elegance and a cool vibe. When not using it to surf the waves, I can hang it on my living room wall.
#4 Kayu The Brunette Surfboard - Lightweight Board
Kayu is located in Bali, one of the hottest surf destinations in the world.
Apart from that, their factory is surrounded by Balsa trees and important raw natural materials in making their products.
The brand has an exciting array of eco-friendly materials, but one of their sleekest and lightweight boards is the Brunette board.
The board’s design and cues resemble that of the Malibu boards. Both these boards have plenty of resemblances, including the sexy shape that will let you surf great on the waves.
Many surfers are also intrigued by the wood board performance, particularly the clean line on the side of the deck that helps with easy maneuvers to the users.
The wood surfboard also comes with a decent volume. Not much, but greater than most of the comparable foam decks, so it has better floatation and buoyancy.
But Brunnete’s strongest suit is on the lightness. It doesn’t mean fatigue riders when surfing for extended periods or carrying it to the beach. More importantly, it will allow you to perform the tricks with ease.
The final reason you should consider this board for your surf is that Kayu is proud to keep the locals in manufacturing Balsa surfboards.
So, when you buy from Kayu, you promote the community.
#5 Buchholz Nafish - Best Fishtail Construction
Our final pick, the Natfish, is the best fishtail in our wooden surfboard category.
It’s a snappy shortboard, perfect for experienced riders.
When it water, it gives riders real speed and has incredible maneuverability.
Even better, it responds quite well in the mushy and low waves because of the fishtail construction. It can easily maneuver well in short breaks while offering unmatched versatility.
The board is also quite versatile, as it’s easy to set it up in different configurations.
For example, the bottom can be set up with a triple-fin design to help with more speed and balance performance.
Meanwhile, a flat rocker shape and straight deck line assist with the smooth slides.
And as with most of the wooden boards, Natfish doesn’t fail to impress with aesthetics.
It arrives in a stylish design and has a shape that gives a more elegant look.
While at it, we give the manufacturer a big thumbs up for including an epoxy frame handle covered with resin tint for extra durability.
All in all, the Natfish serves as an incredible shortboard on the waves. Its performance is explosive, especially the speed.
Best Wood Surfboards Buying Guide
Choosing the best wooden surfboard can be nerve-wracking, especially with such a huge array of options to pick from.
But it doesn’t always need to be that way.
In the section below, I’ll share everything you need to know about before heading to the market for a new surfboard.
But before we start the process, let’s look at the different types of wooden surfboards.
Types of Wooden Surfboards
The four common types of wooden surfboards are:
- Hollow wooden surfboards
- Chambered wood surfboards
- Wood-skinned surfboards
The Alais, also known as the solid wood surfboards, are boards shaped from purely a stock of wood.
They’re made from trees already cut down, washed ashore, or those that fell.
Alais tend to be heavy because pure wood materials tend to be stubborn when trimmed and turned.
The hollow boards are challenging to build.
As their name suggests, they’ve a hollow internal skeleton covered with planks.
Unlike the Alais, these boards are built rather than shaped because the different parts need accurate measuring, clamping, and gluing.
Chambered Wood Surfboards
The chambered boards are shaped from blank wood.
They’re later added with air chambers to every section and finally finished off with fiberglass or resin.
The chambered surfboards are great for experimentation and perfect for newbies.
They’re the most popular wood surfboards and are typically made by covering EPS foam with a thin layer of wood.
The wood-skinned boards have the properties of a wood board but are lighter in weight.
Generally, wood-skinned boards are made using a process known as vacuum press. It uses glue to bind the different materials and layers together.
Getting the Right Wooden Surfboard- The Factors to Consider
Now that we’ve gone through the different types of wooden surfboards let’s look at the features to consider in your next selection.
As with any surfboard, size is important when selecting the best wooden surfboard.
See, wooden boards can go from shortboards, mid-lengths to longboards.
Beginners should opt for a longboard or mid-length board because it floats better and has greater maneuverability.
Natural Materials- Best Woods
If you’re an environmental-conscious surfer, a wooden board is a great ride for you.
Beyond the organic materials used for assembling the board, the wooden options are also more durable, long-lasting, and reliable.
While you could use any type of wood, some woods will be better options than others.
However, if you’re really interested in the ultimate sustainability and eco-friendliness, we recommend the reclaimed wood or upcycled wood,
Some of the popular wood surfboards are:
- Salvaged redwood
- Paulownia wood
- Agave stalks
Now, depending on your location and budget, a combination of different woods and materials make the most sense.
The features of your board determine whether your choice will be right for you.
For example, decide whether you need a board with a planing hull, rocker, flat shape, and so on.
Ultimately, they’ll determine where you ride the planks, the waves you handle, and how you progress into surfing.
Aside from the plank itself, it’s also good to consider the useful accessories that go with it.
While some brands include the accessories to their wood surfboards, others only offer them along.
Some of the handy accessories that you need to look out for in your wood surfboards include an ankle leash, traction pad, and a fin.
Best Wood Boards Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: Is a wooden surfboard better than a foam surfboard?
A: It all depends.
For example, if you’ve a passion for surfing and are conscious about the environment, a wooden surfboard would be a great purchase.
While it costs a lot more than the foam or more conventional surfboards, it’s more durable, so you often won’t need to replace it.
Q: Why are wooden boards so expensive?
A: The reason is wooden surfboards are hand-crafted, more often than not.
Unlike the mass-manufactured boards that go through an assembly line, the wooden options are made by one craftsman from start to finish. The crafting of the materials can take days.
Q: Can I Craft a Wooden Surfboard?
A: Yes, it’s possible to make your own wood surfboards.
You simply need to master the craft and have an interest in woodworking. You also need the tools and experience.
There’re also plenty of workshop programs that can help craft the perfect wooden surfboard.
Wrap Up: Our Choice
Our first surfboard is a winner for the best wood boards.
Tonn the Lysander is among the best grain surfboards on our list and in the market as a whole.
We like this pick’s great internal structure that makes it quite a solid offering.
It can take a battering and anything you throw at it while offering an enhanced and far much better performance on the wave.
Yes, it’s expensive, but the all-natural materials used in the construction and the excellent performance make it a go-to option for most surfers.
I would recommend it.