DESIGN: Tom Blake Paddleboard
DESIGNER: Tom Blake
Tom Blake hollow paddle board design of plywood panels fixed over a timber frame.
Metal nose plug
Timber rail gunnels
Long based solid timber keel fin.
Infromation supplied via email by Darrell Goforth, June 2004, with thanks.
Text below , with minor spelling corrections.
Photographs supplied via email by Darrell Goforth, February 2005, with thanks.
Howsit goin mate.
My friend and I aquired an obviously very old paddle board a while ago.
We chose to keep it, establish a bit of history and facts about it, when we could afford it, get it restored by someone who knows what they are doing, and has experience in that sort of field.
the board is; I was given it by an elderly lady
for giving her a hand to
move her throw away junk, for the rubbish
ladies do, she continued with a story of how she
came to be in possession
of the thing.
the section of Lou Morath's board (#191)construction,
it sounds almost identical.
See History : Tom Blake 1926 - 1935
The Hollow Paddle Board, a timber frame with plywood skin, was developed by Tom Blake in Hawaii. Around 1926, Tom Blake attempted to recreate some of the larger Olo design's that he had restored for the Bishop Museum, Honolulu. The first model was a sixteen foot solid board with a multitude of holes drilled through the blank, these were then covered on the deck and bottom with plywood panels.
He rapidly incorporated
and boat building techniques into surfboard design and
his design of a
light timber frame covered with plywood panels resulted
in a huge weight
Aware of the life saving
potential of such
a craft and an enthusiastic promoter of his sport, Tom
Blake gave his design
international exposure by publishing the
blueprints and construction
details, principally in various Popular Mechanics
Magazines of the period.
See below or Plans
Specifications. Publication saw the design
around the world, notably Australia, New Zealand,
Peru and South
Africa. In these countries it had an extended life due
to the lag before
these countries caught up with the developments in
fibreglass and foam.
In Australia the design first appearred as the Racing 16
and was later
modified to a finned Malibu (1956-1958) while in New
Zealand the lag was
even longer and hollow Malibu boards were manufactured
up to 1961. (Maxwell
Circa 1934 Tom Blake added a small water ski type fin/skeg to one of his hollow boards. Although an significant addition, because of the emphasis on paddling, the small size relative to the board, the increased danger and the difficulty in attachment, many riders do not consider fins as a necessity. It rarely appears on Australian examples of long Hollows.
1. Maxwell, C. Bede Surf : Australians Against the Sea
Angus and Robertson, Sydney 1949. pages 241-242.
2. Harris, Reg. S. The History of Manly Life Saving Club 1911-1961
Published by Manly Life Saving Club, NSW Printed by Publicity Press Ltd. 1961
pages 54 - 56, and elsewhere.
3. Margan, Frank and Finney, Ben R.(Margan and Finney) : A Pictorial History of Surfing
Paul Hamlyn Pty Ltd, 176 South Creek Road, Dee Why West, NSW 2099.1970.
photographs page 118 and 127
4. Galton, Barry Gladiators of the Surf
AH & AW Read Pty Ltd, 2 Aquatic Drive Frenchs Forest NSW 2086 1984 page 64 -65
5. Thoms, Albie: Surfmovies The Blue Group PO Box 321 Noosa Heads Queensland 4567. 2000