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Green surfboards and more on the agenda for new book


Zuleika Henderson
3 December 2008
How green is your surfboard?

The answer to this question and much more is contained in a new book about the making of surfboards and equipment by Southern Cross University Diploma of Sport Management (Surfing Studies) lecturer Howard Jennar.

‘The Surfers Textbook’, which covers everything from the hollow plywood boards used by the pioneers of surfing to how to make, repair and restore modern day equipment, will be officially unveiled this Friday December 5 at a launch at Southern Cross University’s Tweed Gold Coast campus.

The book has been supported by women’s world surfing champion Stephanie Gilmore, who wrote the foreword for the text.

Mr Jennar said there had been very little information available to date on the making of surfboards and the surfing industry.

“It is difficult for people to find detailed information on this area because what has been written in the past is often very brief, and techniques and materials have steadily changed over the years as new products, materials and methods have been developed,” said Mr Jennar.

“For example, surfing is rightly perceived as a back to nature, healthy lifestyle type of activity, but many people don’t consider that a number of the materials used in the manufacture of boards, fin systems, wet suits and rash shirts are known to be ‘environmentally unfriendly’ in terms of their manufacture, disposal or health to workers.

“For consumers, it is essential to have an understanding of the technology in order to make informed choices and, where possible, select materials that have a lesser impact on our environment.”

A Cabarita Beach local and leading educator in the field of surfboard construction for over a decade, Mr Jennar established and runs the Surfing Technology unit of Southern Cross University’s Diploma of Sport Management (Surfing Studies).

He balances his university duties with teaching industrial arts technology at Kingscliff High School, but has still found time to make “a few hundred” surfboards in his spare time – one of which is proudly displays an image of the front cover of the book on its deck.

“Many ‘backyard’ board makers tend to retire after their first attempt due to the lack of detailed techniques, approaches and necessary materials,” said Mr Jennar.

“It is not my expectation that a novice working from this book for the first time will produce a product as refined as that of an experienced commercial manufacturer, but it should help people interested in the repair and construction of surfboards to get some pleasing results.

“Hopefully this book will help fill a large gap in the reference material.”

The launch of the Surfers Textbook will be attended by Gold Coast surfing industry representatives as well as academics and students from the Diploma of Sport Management (Surfing Studies) course. Local surf enthusiasts are invited to attend the launch which commences at 6pm (NSW time) at Southern Cross University’s Tweed Gold Coast campus, Brett Street, Tweed Heads. An information session on the Diploma of Sport Management (Surfing Studies) course will also be held on the campus prior to the launch at 5pm (NSW time) in Harvard Room 1 for prospective students.

The Surfers Textbook will be available through the website from December 5.

Photo: Howard Jennar and a home made surfboard (high resolution image available on request)