Its been a while since I've written as life has caught up with me and I've found time sailing on past as I juggle the every day amazing alongside the mundane. I've been thinking a lot of what direction I want to see myself go long term and what I want for my life (as I guess we all do) and one thing I do know I want is to make things with my hands, things that are beautiful, functional and give me the creative outlet I crave. I have written this down on a list, along with a few other things, and I keep it in the pocket of my journal to read it aloud as part of my morning routine. There’s power in words, in intention, and in putting pen to paper. True to this, only a few days after writing my list I saw something pop up online, a small ad that stood out and captured my attention. Workshops in building wooden surfboards, and all of about five minutes walk from my house. With a raised eyebrow and a quick smile of gratitude, I got on to the phone and made the call. Seems just what I ordered had been delivered almost to my door. The power of Intention, writing and words.
So that’s how I met Greg, Owner of Bodhi Tree surfboards, and had a look at his shop. An amazingly creative place with people so stoked on what they’re doing and creating, all bringing things to life and all inspired in the same way, in the mind and the heart. It was during the first meeting that Greg mentioned how he changed a twenty-year career to follow what he wanted to do in life, and again I had that feeling of being on the right path. He showed me around his shop and, having had chat about the process and design, I signed up and have been working down at the shop every spare minute I get. There’s something about making things with your hands, taking raw materials, which by themselves are so far from the finished product, and molding and shaping them into something beautiful, something that captures both the parts of the material, and of yourself. It’s such an amazing process. To be able to combine this even further with something I can take into the ocean, to do something I love, this I guess is the completion of the circle. To understand how exactly it all works, how we interact with the ocean with the craft we ride. For a long time I've wanted to learn more and take a more active interest in the overall process of riding waves, and look forward to seeing how the little things I do to this board will make a difference in the water.
The process from raw material to the basic shape is actually happens quite quickly. Watching it take form and come together into something that you are just so stoked about is what it’s all about, and the fact that Greg is just excited about the whole thing speaks loads about how passionate he is. He states it quite simply; “I couldn’t tell my son to follow his dreams if I wasn’t following mine”. Within a few days the shape was there, the board evolving in its own way into the final form that would dance its way across the water. From putting the decks on, to gluing the rails together and cutting the excess material away, in about three days we were down to the most difficult, and time-consuming piece of the puzzle, the rails. These are all done by hand, using simple tools to get the perfect shape, rolling off the deck and rounding back around to the underside of the board. You plane some off here, file down a bit over there, lightly sand another, always running your hands along the rails, eyes closed, patiently trying to get the right feel, the right curvature, trying to match one rail to the other. It’s a process done by feel, by touch, and by intuition. How much more respect I have now for all the boards I have previously ridden, with their smooth, flowing rails throwing water aside as I ride along, sometimes blissfully unaware of the intense interaction and complicated physics happening just below my feet.
I do openly admit to being biased, but my board is beautiful, the deck and underside, although from mirrored pieces of ply are incredibly different, the top white and clean and the bottom a deep red, with a dark feature running from the tail through the center. I originally had plans for wooden inlays running the length of the board, but on placing them on the deck, they just didn’t fit, anything else on there would take away rather than add to what it was, a piece of wood, shaped to ride on water. The minimalistic nature of it said mostly all it that needed saying. It did need something though; something small and relevant, and I found this by inlaying a simple silver pendant. A lotus flower encompassing the Ohm symbol placed in the center of the board, in line with my heart, resounding of the message I have received in so many ways recently, “Live with an open heart”. Greg suggested the spot, and when we dropped it on there for the first time, it simply fit. We were both so stoked.
Days passed and slowly I worked on the rails, walking my way around the board, feeling and adjusting little things here and there. You would seem to be so close, and then you’d talk to Greg and he’d show you something about the rails and the shape you wanted and why, and you’d find yourself back with the file in hand, with so much more work to do. I still don’t know the formula to it, but after working for a little while my eye would tune in and I would just see the shape I needed and it would start to all make sense. Then as quickly as that, after an hour or two, it was gone, i couldn't see it anymore and just didn’t know what move to make next. Slowly though, it took shape, until one day I just simply didn’t want to touch it any more. There it was, It wasn’t perfect, it never is, but it was at a point where I needed to see what it was like in the water before I could change anything else. And to do that meant I was finished. Next step was glassing and after a quick chat with Adam, the glasser, she was off for this final process. Felt weird to think that it was finished, but so amazing as well. Can’t wait to get her back and to see how she goes in the water. From the work Adam has done on the other boards, it’s going to look amazing.
This whole process had been something really good for me. It’s a step in the right direction, it’s helping me to figure out what I want to do, and to have the courage to go out and do it. There have been a few things recently that have all been working towards that. Life has had its way and some things have changed for me from the plans I saw in my mind only a week or so ago. Letting go of these things to trust and be open to what life has in store seems to be the message of the moment. Who knows what will come. Similar, I guess, to the way a simple piece of ply had no idea that one day it would be a surfboard, riding waves and helping someone interact and learn from the ocean. Or maybe it did have the slightest inclination, and had the faith to believe that when all those around were becoming bookshelves.
Just want to say a big thanks to Greg at Bodhi Tree Surfboards for all the help, guidance and inspiration mate, keep on living the dream. If your interested in finding out some more about these awesome boards you can check out his site at http://www.bodhitreesurf.com.au/