Would you like to see a return to using native (and less toxic?) resources for surfboard materials in PNG?
I think it is inevitable that all our young local surfers in all of our SAPNG established surf clubs will want to step up to modern day fibreglass boards as they all want to surf better and compete against their peers and other clubs. However, the art of carving a Palang or a Splinter only requires an axe and machete/bush knife without the need for any toxic materials like resin to make such a unique board, therefore I can see the traditional boards still being used by the younger grommies coming through the ranks until they are old enough and proficient enough to step up to a modern shortboard.
In having said that, as part of staging our national surfing titles, the SAPNG will at all events ensure that we have an “expression session” style event where all competing surfers from the respective clubs will have an opportunity to have their best surfers compete on traditional Palang/Splinter boards, on the same waves and under the same ISA competition surfing rules as they do on modern day boards.
In actual fact, as we are working towards staging our inaugural Mens WQS and Womens WCT in PNG in partnership with ASP Australasia, one of the events planned will pitch local PNG surfers against the visiting WQS and WCT surfing on Palang surfboards, on their home turf. This will be the ultimate challenge for the PNG surfers who are experts in surfing these Palang/ Splinters to show off their skills against some of the world’s best in the same waves and surfing conditions.
For me personally, as the President and Co Founder of SAPNG as we mark 27 years since foundation, it will be the most exciting moment seeing the kids that we have been nurturing being given the opportunity to stand tall and represent SAPNG and PNG on our traditional boards and show the surfing world how it is done. For the families and clans of these young PNG surfers, it will be something to be proud of and remember for generations to come!