When you think of California surfing, you probably get an instant mental picture of perfect waves, sunny days, and good-natured fun. Of course, there’s also an element of love for the ocean tied up in all that — sort of like the surfing community’s way of thanking and protecting the creator of those same awesome waves.
That environmental concern is of the utmost importance for Pacifica Surfboards, a small California-based outfit that makes wooden surfboards by hand. “Our boards are 100-percent handmade on the California coast,” the company says. “We use sustainable paulownia wood, which is about as lightweight as balsa, yet it’s much stronger, more flexible, and will not absorb salt water.”
All of the boards are also finished with beeswax and plant-derived oils, further amping up their natural compostion. Pacifica explains that it doesn’t use any petrochemicals when producing them, and their workshop is even housed in a facility that relies on the sun for electricity.
The “Paipo” board is the brand’s signature design and by far the most popular one among customers. All Pacifica’s surfboards are based on traditional Hawaiian designs, and the Paipo in particular blends those traditions with a very modern feel and performance. The board’s lightweight wood makes it easy to carry from home to car-top to beach, and it also gives you more speed as you surf or bodyboard.
Whether you’re a surf novice or a salt-sprayed veteran, the Paipo has been designed to work perfectly with your skill level, helping you adjust and improve your performance when faced with extreme weather and/or water conditions. There’s something truly special about standing on solid wood as you navigate the waves, powered by only yourself and the ocean and free from any engine noise. And while foam core boards are much less expensive, they don’t quite give you the same level of sturdiness or longevity.
Pacifica was founded by George Yatrakis, who is also a skilled woodworker and artist. He uses his skills to craft boards that can effortlessly slice through the surf and look gorgeous in their natural, one-of-a kind honey hues. On top of that, he has an extensive boat building background, which he pulls from when creating new surfboard designs. It’s only natural that he’d be drawn to the water.
Right from the beginning, part of Yatrakis’ mission has been to keep the ocean clean by cutting back on the amount of plastic and other garbage discarded in the water. Luckily for him, creating eco-friendly wooden surfboards happens to be a very practical way to help the cause. A Pacifica board will last a surfer for life, and even if it ever gets gouged or broken, you’ll always be able to fix it up or trim it down.
Personally, we’d be happy just to show off one of these boards as a decor piece at home, treating it more like a work of art than just a way to enjoy the waves — but hey, why not have the best of both worlds?