Building a Paipo?

mightyrime

Well-Known Member
Nov 10, 2020
223
314
oceanside ca
My good friend is a master carpenter. I showed him some videos of people riding Paipos and he wants to build us a couple. Is there a definitive website or book that shows how to design?

Google search pulled us few different sources that are all just pieces of the overall puzzle.

looking for size, shape, contours, materials, construction process


any advice or past build experience greatly appreciated
 

Niau

Well-Known Member
Dec 18, 2020
519
794
Necarney City
You'll want to check out the paipo forum for a wealth of information. My paipos are fiberglass over foam, but there's also a rich history of belly boards made of wood, including plywood.
After nearly 60 years of surfing standing up, I'm trying to recreate some of the same dynamics prone. For that reason my boards are just over 5' long and 21" wide. There are people standing on boards that size these days. If you go that route you should consider the benefits of easily transitioning between kicking and arm paddling, or both at the same time. I'm still trying to find the ideal formula for my size and style.
tempImage80BznT.png

I think there are many benefits to greater float than you'll get from a piece of plywood. If I was to build a plywood (or even paulownia) paipo I'd bond a sheet of cork on top for some additional flotation.
 
Last edited:

mightyrime

Well-Known Member
Nov 10, 2020
223
314
oceanside ca
yes it seems that more float would be better and would not kill the speed nor vibe. I watched a video of john wegner building one, he sandwiches in a layer of EPS foam between 2 layers of paulowina for extra float.

going down the internet rabbit hole of prone surfing now... so much fun info...

for sure a stoked crowd who ride these things
 

nedsurf

Well-Known Member
Jan 22, 2005
3,210
1,381
yes it seems that more float would be better and would not kill the speed nor vibe. I watched a video of john wegner building one, he sandwiches in a layer of EPS foam between 2 layers of paulowina for extra float.

going down the internet rabbit hole of prone surfing now... so much fun info...

for sure a stoked crowd who ride these things
A sheet of plywood is barely buoyancy positive - this is good in my opinion. Easy to duck dive, and it is planning that generates lift while in the wave, and is wickedly fast. The same for paulownia. Different designs. And personal preference - when I am prone on a board in surf I really don't want a fin in the general area of my crotch when I get tumbled.
 

mightyrime

Well-Known Member
Nov 10, 2020
223
314
oceanside ca
A sheet of plywood is barely buoyancy positive - this is good in my opinion. Easy to duck dive, and it is planning that generates lift while in the wave, and is wickedly fast. The same for paulownia. Different designs. And personal preference - when I am prone on a board in surf I really don't want a fin in the general area of my crotch when I get tumbled.
I am thinking i might build my own first like this. Just a flat piece of marine ply like you said. See how it works. Then give my carpenter buddy some input and he can make something more fancy.

what size do you ride in a flat plywood board? I am 5'10" 170lb
 

nedsurf

Well-Known Member
Jan 22, 2005
3,210
1,381
I am thinking i might build my own first like this. Just a flat piece of marine ply like you said. See how it works. Then give my carpenter buddy some input and he can make something more fancy.

what size do you ride in a flat plywood board? I am 5'10" 170lb
I'm in town, glad to loan you one if you want.
 

mightyrime

Well-Known Member
Nov 10, 2020
223
314
oceanside ca
Two from Brian Himlan/Longshipdesign — both are 38”x20”. They’re poplar with a special sauce coating (I keep it fresh with linseed oil). They both have a slightly rolled bottom, and a spooned out deck. They’re both neutrally buoyant.

View attachment 34553 View attachment 34554
what does the cut channel above the graphic do? I see the other board has one as well. Is it a grip for the hand?
 

Niau

Well-Known Member
Dec 18, 2020
519
794
Necarney City
That template is much like the plywood boards long ridden in HI, often in large waves. Those boards tended to be larger, if I'm remembering correctly. It seems there are as many ideas as to what works for a paipo as there are paipo boarders. I need to cover ground to chase down peaks where I surf, so neutral buoyancy would neutralize my wave count. Boards like the Longship appear to be just a step removed from body surfing with little to recommend them over a boogie board, except for being hand made wood and super easy to duck dive.
 




Top