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Tom Wegener is arguably the most cutting edge shaper in the world. 

He started the alaia revolution in 2005 and was named Surfboard Shaper of the Year in 2009 for this.  Then he took the dynamics of the alaia and applied them to modern materials and designed the Seaglass Project Tuna and Albacore boards made by Global Surf Industries and retailed to surfers all around the world. In 2016, Tom developed a way to incorporate flex through paulownia and cork woods into his finless boards to create the next level of finless surfing.

Tom was a key inspiration for the wood board movement.  In 2001 he discovered that paulownia is the best wood for surfboards because of its highly unusual property of not sucking up salt water.  In 2003 Tom stopped making foam surfboards and turned only to paulownia wood and made over 300 hollow wood finned surfboards.  (Also, the alaia revolution was possible because Tom’s work with paulownia).  Tom is most proud of his green factory which has no toxic chemicals and almost no waste. In 2011, Tom was awarded the Sunshine Coast “Smart Business Award” for his environmentally friendly factory.

In 2013, Tom took a break from making surfboards to attend the University of the Sunshine Coast and write a PhD on the sustainability of the surfboard industry.  He found that the amazing resiliency of the surfboard industry and its come from its unique culture which has been passed down from generation to generation.  Tom has turned his PhD thesis into a book, “Surfboard Artisans For the Love,” which is available through this website. Since finishing his thesis, Tom has returned to making surfboards.

Tom started shaping surfboards in 1979 and his brother Jon took up the planer a few years later.  Working together Tom and Jon have developed many surfboards and are still working together.  Jon is in Encinitas, California while Tom moved to Noosa Heads, Australia in 1998.

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Tom's Blog

29 Apr

The New “Corky” Surfboard

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Finley on Corky #1:  This board is 7’2 and slides with the elegance and speed of an alaia but is very buoyant.

 

The Corky Surfboard: A long  journey to custom flex and floatation

 

It took one wave on the first alaia on March 5, 2005 to realise that there was another way of surfing.  The flex of the wood board along with a super slick oiled surface made for a new surfing experience.  This led to the alaia revolution and then the finless movement, however, the difficulty of paddling the alaia led me to creating more buoyant finless boards. I tried numerous methods and eventually made the Seaglass Project boards, the Tuna and the Albacore, with GSI in 2010.  These boards surf very well and are easily accessible to surfers around the world. Many thousands of them have sold and have turned on surfers to the finless surfing. They are made from EPS foam which has a positive flex and lets the board bounce in and out of turns.  However, I still missed the flex of wood and the slide from oil.

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27 Apr

Noosa Festival of Surfing Finless Division 2016

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Adam Baldwin, Matt Williams, Fred Branger, Sterling Harper, Josh Woollett,Stuart Jaeys, Carl De Landre and Gus O'Malley

The finless comp is the smallest division in the Noosa Festival, and nearly disappeared with GSI pulling out (after generously sponsoring it for four years). I felt honoured to jump in as the sponsor and help support the festival which has done so much for me over the years. I love how the event brings together finless surfers for a sharing of ideas and stoke. This year the diversity of surfing styles was on display as the surfers came with a wide variety of boards. Matt Williams, my old apprentice, had foam and fibreglass boards with channels running down the bottom and hard edges, while JJ Star surfed a regular boogie board. There were two albacores and One Tuna in the Competition and Fred Branger and Josh Woollett surfed an alaias. The most unusual entry was Carl De Landre,who was riding the middle section of a longboard. The tail and broken off his board and later the nose and he felt the board surfer better without them.

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