balsa wood surfboard

A couple of months back Ricky Carroll asked if I could design an inlay for a balsa board he was shaping for the Surf Expo that was recently held at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida. We had just completed surfboard #3 of my surfboard/art project and he was impressed with what we had done. I was delighted with his request to use an inlay design on one of his beautifully hand crafted, and expensive, solid balsa surfboard.

The inlay would be placed as a lengthwise strip that measured 7’6″ long and 5″ wide on either side of the center stringer. The inlays that I’ve created for my personal boards are the full width and length of the bottom of the board. To create a one photograph inlay of the proportions Ricky wanted was close to impossible. It would require a photograph that had enough information to be visually interesting when cropped to the size and proportions of 90″x5″. Try taking any photograph and crop it to those proportions and see what you get–95% of the time nothing!

 

 

I decided to use a design of multiple photographs or repeating elements from one or more images. The cropping could thus be less drastic and once the various elements were blended together I was able to achieve a variety of designs. Ricky decided on one, which I then printed and delivered to his factory.

surfboard
measuring and taping off the area where the photo inlay will go

surfboard manufacture
surfboard manufacture
surfboard manufacture

 

I was not around to see the board shaped nor to see it glassed and polished. Neither was I there when the print was resined on the board. I did witness Ricky taping off the area where the two inlay strips would be placed and then painting those areas white. I had given Ricky two miniature strips of the inlay design to test on a piece of balsa. One he resined directly on to the wood and the other one he resined over white paint that he had sprayed on a strip of the wood. We wanted to see if the print would look better with the wood grain showing through it or on a white background that masked the wood. The latter method proved to be the most visually striking.

balsa surfboard with inlayed photograph

 

This board is a unique piece that will not be replicated. It’s a finely shaped and hand crafted surfboard that is a beautiful work of art. I’m proud to have a small part in it. Any one interested in the board should contact Ricky.

balsa wood surfboard

 
portrait of a man
Ricky Carroll