Finishing Touches

23 . 08 . 13

You may have noticed the phrase “going off to the laminators” appear on this blog in the past.  When Otter Surfboards moved from the farm into our current premises at Krowji, the decision was made to outsource the final step in building our surfboards: the laminating.  James used to glass all of the surfboards that he built himself, however building hollow, skin and frame wooden surfboards and laminating surfboards are two different skill sets and James wanted to concentrate on the construction and shaping of wooden surfboards.  We believe that we produce a top end product, and we wanted to ensure that every step in the production process was carried out by the very best craftsmen.  So we called upon the gents up the coast at Diplock Phoenix.

Behind the pink door of an old pig shed on a farm that sits on the site of an old Iron Age hill fort just north of Wadebridge, Paul Fluin (on the right) and Chris “Bro” Diplock (on the left) quietly ply their craft and produce some of the most highly regarded surfboards in the UK.  They produce surfboards under two of their own labels as well as providing a glassing and finishing service.  Between the two of them they have over 45 years experience of creating surfboards.

Paul Fluin is an incredible laminator with a reputation for producing exquisite coloured resin tints and cut laps – the sort of lamination work that takes no prisoners and showcases quality workmanship.  Testament to his resin tint work is the iconic old pair of shoes that are nailed up next to the workshop door, now a rock-solid, multicoloured pair of glass slippers.  Just inside the door, alongside some of Bro’s templates, are a pair of Paul’s old trousers which are likewise caked with a rainbow of resin drips.  We take our surfboards to him to be laminated because of this reputation.  Our surfboards are laminated with a bio-epoxy resin and 4oz fibreglass top and bottom.  There is then the option of a polyester gloss coat being applied which can be polished up to a high sheen.  Bro steps out of his shaping bay to sand and polish our boards, with the same eye for detail and perfectionism that he applies to his own surfboards.

Much like when applying oil or varnish to bare wood, when resin touches our wooden surfboards the colours become much richer and the grain is greatly accentuated.  The tones and colours in the natural timber become really rich and the surfboards look very different.  Pictured above is the bottom of the 9’4″ Seasaw built in last week’s workshop by Tim, almost ready to be flipped over to have the deck laminated.

Laminating a regular foam surfboard is what gives it strength and environmental resistance.  Our surfboards are strong anyway, and with a top class lamination we can be sure that they will outlast their foam-based cousins.  Perhaps in years to come an Otter wooden surfboard, laminated by Paul and Bro, will be being surfed by the child of the original owner in exactly the same condition as it was when it was delivered to them many years before.

Your Basket

You don't currently have any products in your basket.