Wood design for the perfect wave

Wood design for the perfect wave: Marlo Groh built his first surfboard with great attention to detail, craftsmanship and selected veneers from Schorn & Groh. His functional board in hollow wood construction now carries the passionate surfer across the seas and is as unique as the chosen wood species. Moreover, the extraordinarily beautiful piece of sports equipment is also significantly more ecological than the vast majority of surfboards with a crude-oil-based PU foam core. Why his material focus was on wood and how the practical one-of-a-kind was created, you can read in the interview:

About Marlo Groh:
Born in 1998, trained as a carpenter, graduating as a journeyman in 2019, currently studying bionics. Has been surfing for over 10 years.

How did you get the idea to build a surfboard?
I am passionate about surfing and didn't own a surfboard myself. Until then, I had only experiences with rented boards. But this allowed me to try out different types of boards and I knew which surfing style and the associated board type suited me best. So at some point, I was due for my first own surfboard - and the idea was close: I thought it would be much more exciting to build my first board myself instead of buying one.

How did you approach the project?
I first did a lot of research on how to make a surfboard. As a trained carpenter, it was obvious to me: it should be made of wood. Since solid wooden surfboards can't keep up with current boards due to their weight, the hollow wood construction method was the only possibility for me to build a light and functional surfboard. The construction of the hollow wood surfboard is a bit like a ship's hull. It is hollow on the inside and is stabilised by a kind of herringbone frame.

What materials did you use?
The frame, rails and supporting hardware are made of paulownia, as this wood scores as the second lightest wood in the world with its low weight and relatively high stability.

The top and bottom decks are made of 3 mm poplar plywood, which has been finished with veneer on both sides. For the bottom deck, I mirrored Bosé veneer. This wood fascinated me mainly because its extremely distinctive and wide bar looks like waves in an ocean. The arrow-like inlays of shell maple make the board look even more dynamic. In addition, shell maple also has an impressive shimmer effect. The top deck is covered with multiple mirrored Zirikote.

It is important that the waxed top side of the board is turned down on the beach so that the wax does not melt. Therefore, I chose reasonably light-coloured wood for the underside so that the side facing upwards would not be heated up so much by the sun.

To make the board stable and waterproof, I placed glass fibre mats around the board and poured in epoxy resin. As a finish, I painted the board high gloss to provide additional UV protection.

What were the biggest challenges for you?
The biggest difficulty - and what also makes this board unique - is the subsequent application of the mouldings around the already veneered and rounded board. I took on this complicated process, which involves steaming and negative moulding, in order to achieve an exact and consistently clear transition between the rail and the veneer. In my eyes, this effort was worth it, especially with the dark upper deck.

Have you already launched your board and exposed it to the power of the sea?
Yes, of course, I could hardly wait to get my surfboard into the water. The board is easy to surf because of its manoeuvrability and you catch a lot of waves with it surprisingly easily. It's also a special feeling to be the only one in the water and on the beach with a homemade board made of wood that everyone admires.