Monday, 7 May 2012

Bit of fun for summer like

Been liking the idea of Tom Wegener's Tuna board (Tuna's at T-Tree) for a while now, look like some good fun in the small summer waves, but was put off slightly by the £500 price tag on Magic Seaweed so thought I'd have a shot at making my own. 

In an effort to make it as cheap as possible I cobbled a blank together out of a sheet of loft insulation foam, chopped up and glued back together and rather than a traditional centre stringer, added a 1 inch thick band of balsa around the circumference of the board to give the board more strength as well as adding a bit more volume (it was a pretty small sheet of foam). 

The design was shaped very closely to Tom Wegener's design (sorry Tom) with a large single concave and hard boxy rails. The limitations of using a flat block of foam with no centre stringer glued in meant it has slightly less nose rocker. I also added a bit of a concave in the deck for the first time, been reading that it assists slightly in flex properties of the board as well as giving a more stable prone platform for paddling and a more natural grip when standing (bit like a skateboard deck).

At any rate, being that the foam was pink and the balsa included some of the grotty scraps of balsa I got from an ebay job lot, I added yellow pigment to the fibreglass job. Initially I wanted a Caterham style '7' logo but unfortunately couldn't find one so doesn't look as much like a Caterham 7 as I would have liked.

As you'd expect, since finishing this board the waves have varied between non-existent and exceptionally poor but based on the one time I have managed to get the board out so far I am genuinely pleased to be able to say it works! At 5'3 long, 17" wide and 2" at it's thickest it is by far my smallest board (paulownia alaia aside but I've never been particularly successful on that so hardly a fair comparison) and my initial attempts at trying to push myself into waves certainly led to some doubts at first, but when I decided to man up and paddle out back and catch waves properly it seemed to come into itself.

The large concave into twin V's at the rails seemed to give it the trait of wanting to turn all the time so found that if you shift weight to counteract that then the board became a surprisingly stable take off platform, certainly more so than my wooden alaia. The junky waves on offer didn't have the power to for any fast waves but it's certainly given me a taste for it's potential. I think me and the Seven are going to have some fun this summer!

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