Surfboards were originally made of wood, but modern surfboards are commonly made with synthetic materials such as polyurethane (PU) and polystyrene.
But along with the advancements are other concerns, such as shorter board lifespan, handling of hazardous chemicals in manufacturing, and, ultimately, negative environmental impact.
The motivation for most wooden surfboard builders is to address these concerns and promote sustainable and eco-friendly products. So if you are a surfer who wants to join the cause, our review below would be of great help in choosing the best wooden surfboard for your next surfing adventure.
Top 8 Best Wooden Surfboards in Review
Wooden surfboards that are built currently can match, or even top, the quality of modern mass-manufactured boards. Wooden boards are much durable, and it can last for years and years, while modern surfboards last only 6 to 12 months (for the average board), or only around 20 runs (for a pro surfer).
If you plan to hit the beach and ride the waves, buying in a right surfboard may be a good idea. Also, if you are interested in developing a new ability, trying something new, and if you care about the environment, then investing in a wooden surfboard would be a better idea.
Below are the brands and their corresponding products that might help you buy the best wooden surfboard.
- Tonn The Lysander Wooden Surfboard
- Truwood Black Mamba Wooden Surfboard
- Otter Island Hopper Surfboard
- Kayu The Brunette
- Grain The Sapling Surfboard
- No-Made Nostromo Fish & Retro
- Flama Calamar Evolve Shortboard
- Buchholz Nafish
#1. Tonn The Lysander – Best Overall Wooden Surfboard
- Length: 7″0
- Width: 22.9 ft
- Volume: 64 L
Tonn Surfboards is a European company that designs custom-made surfboards with class, elegance, and craftsmanship. They came up with a unique reconstruction of the wooden surfboard through years of research and development.
Now, they are ready to show the world that they can compete with other leading wooden surfboard manufacturers with their classic but durable and sustainable boards.
One of the best designs of Tonn is The Lysander, a mid-length surfboard carved from solid wood. The middle part of the board is a honeycomb heart that creates a lighter feel than its Polyurethane counterparts.
The board does not only offer an incredible flex; it also allows every surfer, beginner to advance, to take part in it. It was designed to be easier to transport and is large enough to support a more significant volume while still allowing smooth surfing.
It has a unique bottom that contours to provide better wave riding and the right balance as you continue to practice your surfing.
|Can accommodate beginner to advanced surfers||A little heavy|
|Made to be easily transported inside the vehicle|
#2. Truwood Black Mamba Surfboard – Best for Intermediate and Advanced Surfers
- Dimensions: 5’6” x 20” x 2” 9/16 and 5’4” X 19” 3/8 x 2” 1/2
- Volume: 5L and 27.7L
- Available colors: Natural and Black
- Fin system: FCS1/Future
Truwood Surfboards is a newbie to the surfing industry. They began as a project in Barcelona in 2016 that produces customized and exclusive wooden surfboards that have high-performances while also being eco-friendly.
They believe that their project’s cause has excellent environmental impacts, hence the non-use of toxic materials like resin and fiberglass.
The Black Mamba is one of the most special boards of Truwood. It is a mix of tradition and modern execution of the wooden surfboard. The board’s versatility works well when it comes to catching both small and big waves.
Compared to its mid-length board counterparts, the Black Mamba is short, but its performance is nothing like its height. It is superior among the other mid-length boards of Truwood, and the excellent volume on the chest part helps in paddling. The remarkable speed of the board is because of the flat rocker.
The shape of the wooden surfboard noticeably affects its performance. The round-pin tail helps on the balance and control of the board and return; the user can maneuver safely.
Even though the Black Mamba can outperform other boards of the Truwood mid-length collection, they recommend it for intermediate to advanced surfers.
Overall, the Black Mamba is a sustainable, versatile, and great board for surfers who want to advance their surfing skills.
|Great for learning new surfing skills||Meant for intermediate and advanced surfers only|
|Can easily fit into a vehicle||Heavy for its size|
#3. Otter Island Hopper Surfboard – Best for “Comeback” Surfers
- Dimensions: 7’4” x 23” x 3”
- Volume: 59.2 L
- Board type: Mid-length longboard
The UK based surfboard company, the Otter, believes in the dream of a better world through their efforts to create sustainable and environment-friendly surfboards and accessories. They make hollow surfboards, skin surfboards, and frame wooden boards to cater to every surfer level.
The passion for the craftsmanship of the people behind Otter makes it even more attention-seeking to wooden surfboard buyers. Along with their craft is their love for the environment, where they strive to become as eco-friendly as possible.
The Island Hopper is one of the most recommended wooden surfboards of the Otter family. Among its mid-length counterparts, the Island Hopper gives an excellent performance, especially to surfers who just got back to the waves after a long hiatus. It is also an exceptional entry-level longboard for surf enthusiasts.
|Great for longboarders who want to chill||Very expensive for a mid-length surfboard|
|Great for surfers who just got back into surfing||Not recommended for beginners|
|An all-rounder longboard|
#4. Kayu The Brunette Surfboard – Best Lightweight Wooden Surfboard
- Wood used: Balsa
- Type of Board: Hollow
- Dimensions: 7’4” x 21” 5/8 x 2” ½
- Volume: 49.5 L
- Fin Style: 2+1 FCS 2 Set Up
One thing that sets Kayu apart from its competitors is its location. Right at the Badung island in Bali, Indonesia is the factory and main office of the Kayu Surfboards. Aside from being at one of the hottest surfing destinations in the world, they are surrounded by balsa trees, their most important raw material in making their surfboards.
They strive to become an eco-friendly surfboard maker, bringing to life the craftsmanship of hollow wooded surfboards. They use balsa wood in their surfboards, a durable and reliable wood traditionally used to make the old-time surfboards.
Balsa wood makes excellent material in making surfboards. It’s known for being lightweight while staying durable and buoyant. The performance and sustainability of the surfboards, as a result, are remarkable and foolproof.
One of their sleekest and most lightweight surfboards is The Brunette. It is inspired by a Malibu model and has a sexy shape that creates a great ride on waves. The clean lines of the board provide easy maneuvers to the user.
Talk about sustainability, Kayu is proud to keep the local communities involved in the manufacturing of surfboards. They make sure that the balsa wood is from the local farmers of the East Java region.
|Its environmental consciousness is a step up compared to other brands||Expensive for a mid-length board|
|Sleek design and with polished aesthetics|
#5. Grain The Sapling – Best Transition Board
- Dimensions: 7’6 x 22 ¼ x 2 ¾”
- Volume: 53.89 L
- Rail: 60/40
- Surfboard length type: Mid-length
- Surfboard type: Hollow
Specializing in custom-made surfboards, Grain Surfboards realized its dream by making wooden surfboards that are not only durable and reliable but are also eco-friendly.
Grain Surfboards is an American surfboard company based in York, Maine that highly respects the craftsmanship on making wooden surfboards. It all started with a dream to build sustainable surfboards. Founder Mike Lavecchia made it an opportunity to market his eco-friendly project after several surfboard companies had to shut down because of environmental issues.
Today, they already have the right amount of social media presence, a mobile workshop, a website, and a collection of high quality and durable wooden surfboards.
Among the many Grain boards, we picked The Sapling because of its versatility, length type, and performance. If you are a beginner or even an advanced surfer, The Sapling would be on your spectrum. The mid-length board is considered an upgrade for the “egg” with a maneuverable lip and quick response to big waves.
It is a noteworthy transition board, from the shortboard to the longboard surf. It is also merely an all-around board for all one-board quivers.
With its moderate rock and paddle speed, the Sapling can smoothly go through steeper drops. The full point of the board creates concentrated float while the rider is paddling, resulting to completely fluid turns and trims.
The Sapling’s concave bottom creates a lift when needed and channels the water to the back for that added kick. It also has 60/40 rails that keep the stable volume if ever you need to transition to the edge of the board.
|Excellent for transitioning from shortboard to longboard||Cannot easily be transported or put inside the vehicle|
|Heavier compared to other brands here||Not recommended for beginners|
|Affordable for a mid-length board|
|Great for creating new surfing skills|
#6. No-Made Nostromo Fish&Retro – Best for Practicing New Surfing Skills
- Dimensions: 7’2” x 21” x 2.9”
- Volume: 49 L
- Rail: 60/40
- Rocker: nose 3.9”/tail 2.3”
- Bottom: flat to vee
- Fins: single fin or 2+1
- Construction: hollow Paulownia wood
No-Made started with Eugenio’s love for surfing and craftsmanship on making surfboards. After his trip to Australia, he shared his dream with his brother, Federico Celli and Federica Ciarrocchi. With their knowledge in engineering, marine science, and design, the No-Made was born.
The No-Made team believes in the protection of nature; that is why they used wood to make their dream surfboards. Their respect for the environment convinced them to make more wooden surfboards and experiment more on what else technology can offer to lessen the impacts of the modern chaotic surfboard making industry.
The three-person team creates custom boards that are all eco-friendly and made with the highest quality materials. They make hollow wooden boards from shortboards to longboards. One of their best-selling mid-length boards is the Nostromo Fish&Retro.
The board is made from Paulownia wood, a tree native to Asia. The hollow design makes it even more balanced and maneuverable while riding the waves. Near the nose is a pressure vent that maintains the high performance of the board.
Also, at the center near the nose is the elegantly and intricately-made fire burned logo of No-Made. What makes the board stylish and elegant is its pigmented resin graphics on the wood.
The Fish&Retro is an all-around surfboard. It can ride all types of waves because of its volume. The 3.9 inches nose and the 2.3 inches pintail can accommodate even the most significant waves with ease and balance. The deep vee at the bottom of the board also facilitates smooth changes in direction.
The Fish&Retro can be a single fin surfboard for the riders who some classic surfboard style. But because it’s versatile enough, you can also put a 2+1 with a 7 inches central fin. If you’re going for steeper waves, you can add rails alongside the 2+1 and 7-inch central fin.
|Can take on even the biggest waves||Can take a long time to make|
|Simple but elegant appearance||A little heavy|
|A great all-around surfboard|
#7. Flama Calamar Evolve – Best Versatile Shortboard
- Dimensions: 6’2” x 21” x 2 11/6”
- Volume: 37L
- Rocker: nose 4 1/8”, tail 2”
- Rails: Full rails
- Fins: tri-fin setup, twin + small trailer, single fin, 2+1
- Bottom: V entry to single to double concave and slight vee exit.
Flama started with a story of a personal vision. The creator, Sergi Galano, is a Spanish lover of the great outdoors who came to discover the life of the surfboard making industry. After a series of adventures, Sergi finally built his surfboard made of Agave wood.
But after realizing the environmentally ruining process of making the surfboard, he promised himself that we would be conscious about his process.
In 2011, he finally presented Flama to the public, an eco-friendly wooden surfboard project that was made through two years of trial and error. His first surfboard was the Flama Classic, and a board was made of almost 100% organic materials.
Now, Flama has surfboard collections and four surf craft collections. Among all the surfboards, the Calamar Evolve is the best all-around surfboard. The modern style and elegantly made board a great for surfing the waves on any day. Since it has hollow design and has a basic outline, it can work both on small and massive waves.
Versatility-wise, the Calamar Evolve can paddle like retro and still have the performance of a shortboard. It has a well-balanced feature and can easily be maneuvered through those massive waves, as it measures 6 feet 2 inches.
You can introduce a tri-fin setup with the Calamar Evolve. But if you want a more balanced but still a high-performing board, you can set it up with a twin fin. For a retro look, suit it up with a single win or a 2+1.
Overall, the Calamar Evolve is a must-have board for every surfer who wants to take their skills up a notch while still enjoying any type of wave.
|Still well-balanced even on massive waves||Expensive for a shortboard|
|Stylish and modern appearance||Heavy|
|Can fit inside a vehicle|
#8. Buchholz Nafish – Best Fishtail Surfboard
- Dimensions: 6’4” x 20 ½” x 2 ½”
- Board type: Hybrid
- Bottom: fishtail, vee tail
- Fins three fins
- Rocker: flat
Buccholz Surfboards is a proud company of handmade surfboards. Each board made with the hands of a carpenter who also loves surfing. From blank to finish, the boards are cared for with love and passion and built with high-quality woods such as Paulownia or recyclable EPS.
The Nafish is one of the most recommended fishtail boards of Buccholz. This hybrid surfboard does so well in the sea by giving real speed with excellent maneuverability. Because of its fishtail, it can go through mushy and low waves with ease and balance.
At the bottom, the board can be set up with a three-fin for faster and more balanced performance. Also, its flat rocker feature aids in the smooth slides as well.
The board’s stylish design and shape give it a more elegant look, along with its length. To further preserve the wood, it is epoxy-handled and covered with a resin tint.
Overall, the Nafish serves an excellent performance on the waves. Its speed is immeasurable, especially with the aid of the three-fin.
|Fishtail appearance aids in speed||Recommended only for advanced surfers|
|High-speed hybrid board||Expensive for a hybrid with a resin tint|
Top Pick – Best Wooden Surfboard
With the variety of surfboards available, finding the best and appropriate surfboard would take lots of time and research. For an experienced surfer, a wooden surfboard should be an easy pick as it stands to have more pros than cons. But for a pure beginner, this may be a difficult decision. That is why we picked the Tonn Lysander. It is an excellent surfboard for beginners and a great one board quiver for the skilled.
Take note that you may wipe out the first few times if you’re still a beginner, and you surely do not want a wooden board hitting you in the head when that happens. But if ever you learn to balance and ride those waves and want to further your surfing skills, you may want to level up to a more sustainable board like the Lysander.
It does not only listen to your body’s harmony but also gives you the drive to conquer those bigger waves with exceptional shape and style. Its versatility life span even gives you the most value for your money since there is no need to buy a new board every time your skills take up a notch.
Truly worthy for every surfer, the Lysander takes surfing to a whole new level with its style and performance.
Types of Wooden Surfboards
Alaias – Solid Wood Surfboards
As the name stands, these surfboards are shaped from purely a stock of wood. It is made from trees that were already cut down, washed ashore, or those which already fell. It is the heaviest wooden surfboard because it is pure wood and can be stubborn when you trim and turn, but it is stable enough for small waves.
Hollow Wooden Surfboards
These surfboards are the most difficult ones to build. These boards have a hollow internal skeleton that is covered with planks. Compared to the Alaias, hollow surfboards are built than shaped because different parts need accurate measuring, clamping, gluing, and stacking.
The rocker, thickness, and the rails of hollow boards depend on the internal structure. Since each part inside the board has a different use, it should be noted that the craftsmanship should be as accurate as possible.
Some wooden surfboard companies create DIYs for this type of surfboard because it can be built at home, as long as you are keen on details.
Chambered Wood Surfboards
Like a foam surfboard, chambered wood surfboards are shaped from a blank wood and then take it apart and add air chambers to every section. It is then finished off with fiberglass or resin.
Chambered surfboards are great for experimentation since each part can be manipulated, depending on what area the rider wants to be skilled in.
Some of the most common boards nowadays are wood-skinned surfboards. These are made by covering typical EPS foam with a thin layer of wood, thus, a skin. This type of surfboard is a combination of the traditional wooden surfboard and man’s innovation since it has the properties of a wood board but lighter in weight.
To construct the wood-skinned surfboards, the manufacturer must use a vacuum press to bind the materials inside then cover the entire board with thin wood.
Getting the Best Wooden Surfboard – A Buyers’ Guide
If you want to pick the best wooden surfboard, you must know first that it would take you a couple of weeks before you could acquire one since every wooden surfboard is custom made. Now, for the features, you have to take note that each plays a particular role in making the best wooden surfboard.
Before getting a wooden surfboard, you must consider the size that you want to ride on. Surfboards can go from shortboards to mid-length, to longboards. For beginners, the best surfboard is the mid-length or the longboard because it creates easier maneuverability, paddle, and floatability.
Type of Surfboard
Wooden surfboards are usually used by beginners who already managed to balance their way out of the waves. Since wooden surfboards are heavier than the mass-manufactured ones, it could be strenuous to balance and maneuver. But once you can properly put your beginner skills to the test, the wooden surfboard would be an excellent investment.
If you are an environment-friendly surfer, wooden surfboards are the best ride choice. Aside from the organic materials used to assemble the wooden surfboard, it is also more durable, long-lasting, and reliable.
Aside from the wooden surfboard, every surfer must consider a useful accessory that goes with it. Wooden surfboards have more performance and balance due to attachments. Some brands include accessories to the custom boards, and others only offer them along.
The accessories that you can choose for your board include a traction pad, an ankle leash, or a fin. You may not opt for these accessories, but the usual riders include them for convenience and addition to the performance of the board.
Wooden boards have so many characteristics, from the type of wood used to the construction and finish. Since wooden boards are relatively pricey, carefully picking out the features is essential. Rest assured, though, that when you have selected the best surfboard for you, the end product will be stunning, as these are made by artisans who have a passion and love for wave riding as you do.
After reading the article, we hope you will be urged to buy a wooden surfboard for yourself and promote this eco-friendly alternative. It is not only a way to further your surfing skills, but also a way of appreciation and recognition of the origins of wave riding.
When coastal people first enjoyed riding the waves, they used a simple piece of wood, and the great feeling of fulfillment that they have felt upon stepping on their crafted timber would be no different from what you would feel when you get yours today.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
Q: Would it be better to buy wooden surfboards rather than the more conventional surfboards?
Yes. If you are already a practicing surfer and have a passion for this sport, a wooden surfboard is a good investment. It costs a lot more money than its commercial counterpart, but the lifespan is much longer. It means you either have the option to buy one wooden surfboard that will last for years or buy a typical modern surfboard and replace it every so often.
Q: Why are wooden surfboards so expensive?
The boards are practically hand-crafted and, more often than not, made to order. Compared to the mass-manufactured surfboards where the whole process goes through an assembly line, wooden boards are generally made by one craftsman from start to finish – and the entire process takes days. The board lasts for years, though, so it will be worth it.
Q: Can I make my wooden surfboard?
Yes! Most of the brands selling these are offering workshops as well. They love having people to learn the craft and experience the joy of seeing a plank of wood turn into a majestic board! These workshops are typically offered for 4-7 days and then by the end of it, and you can have your wooden surfboard with your very own hands.
Q: How can I take care of my wooden surfboard?
As mentioned earlier, wooden surfboards are durable and can last for many years despite minimal care. Maintenance of your boards also depends mainly on the type of wood, so when purchasing, make sure to inquire about some recommended care instructions from the seller.