Wooden DIY paddleboard book emphasizes minimal tools and work space needed, beauty of results

Are you a “do-it-yourselfer” who would like to combine a love for water sports with the incomparable artful elegance of colorful woods under fiberglass?  Stand-up paddleboards allow even unskilled riders to get onto the water and cruise for tons of fun in the sun.  And the popularity of wooden boards is exploding.

If you are considering creating your own floating masterpiece for some waterborne adventures, a new book from the owner of Seawood Longboards gives detailed build instructions along with plenty of tips and tricks to make the event an enjoyable success.

Build A Beautiful Wooden Stand-Up Paddleboard (and a really cool paddle, too) is a 216-page tome containing more than 330 detailed demonstration photos.

“While the world wide web is peppered with various versions of stand-up paddleboards,” author-builder Ted Salois said, “I think the size and style of the board built to illustrate this book is one that will perform best in all water conditions and respond well to every skill level and rider preference.

“For example, the entire deck area, from nose to tail, slopes from the center line outward through the rounded rails.  This mimics the shape of foam and composite surfboards and paddleboards, unlike most other wooden vessel designs that have razor sharp edges with box-like angles on their outer rims.”

Salois said the rounded transition of the rails allows smooth turns in wave riding where squared-off rails would catch or dig into the water, pitching the rider off the deck and into the churning suds.

“And don’t forget the continuous rocker throughout the paddleboard’s length and the shapely rise in the nose,” he said.  “The uptick helps keep the paddleboard from ‘pearling,’ diving under the water’s surface, and coming to a quick stop while the wave and rider continue in other directions.”

Two other key elements to this design are the recessed handle and two valves, one a deck breather, another for drainage, if that ever becomes necessary.

“A ‘quick-and-dirty’ handle, of course, is a simple strap mounted to the center of the deck,” Salois said.  “But, if you stand or lie on that spot, that type of handle likely will interfere with your comfort and control of the paddleboard.

“This build incorporates a handle box that sits out of the way, below the deck surface, and attaches to the board’s spine for superior strength. The builder retains a choice, however, of what type of handle to install.”

Most wooden paddleboard designs include just one valve, if they call for a valve at all.

“At least one valve is essential because the sun will heat the air inside and cause the hulk to puff up like a balloon with bands wrenched around its girth,” Salois said. “Extensive expansion can weaken or break internal glue-joints, which could be disastrous.

“I like installing both a breather and a drain valve in wooden paddleboards.

“The need for drainage is obvious.  If you get a hairline crack, you need a way to let water out.  An additional, sealable air vent on the deck, however, will make the draining evolution go much faster.  When water escapes, air needs to go in to replace the departing mass.  Single-valve drainage crawls at a snail’s pace.”

As a bonus, the author has added chapters on making a fin and paddle to match the aesthetic style of the overall paddleboard.  The most important aspect of the build, though, is the easy-to-construct work stand that can be set in restricted-space situations.

“The average woodworker may not have room for an elaborate work station,” Salois said.  “I designed a stand for this build that is so simple it requires just a few 2x4s and a couple of metal sawhorse brackets.  There’s no need for large sheets of wood or flat bench space.  The whole idea of the book was to keep the instructions simple and the requirements limited.  I think those objectives were achieved.

“You don’t have to be an expert or have a wide open wood shop or empty two-car garage for this project.  Anybody with a basic set of tools and enthusiasm can do the entire build under a shade tree.”

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See how to acquire Build A Beautiful Wooden Stand-Up Paddleboard (and a really cool paddle, too) and a copy of the template that was used for the illustrated build.

Also by this author, How To Build The World’s Most Incredible Wooden Surfboard, and an associated template.