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vela aqua :  10ft surboard plans , 1959 

Vela Aqua : 10ft Surboard Plans , 1959
Vel Aqua : Do it yourself Plywood Surf Board Plan
10 ft. Surf Board - Complete instructions with plans and progressive photos.

Summit Marine and Joinery Pty. Ltd.
Oakleigh, Victoria, [1959]

An assembly manual for a home-built surfboard by
Summit Marine and Joinery Pty. Ltd. of Oakleigh, Victoria, ideally with timber supplied by the company.
Thee models are available - paddle-board, 10 ft surfboard, and 10 or 12 ft surf-ski.
Interestingly. the surfboard is sub-titled the Okanue, a name associated with a similar hollow timber board first produced by Gordon Woods, Barry Bennett, and Bill Wallace in Sydney following the tour of US and Hawaiian surfers/lifeguards in 1956.
These Malibu-replicas had shaped rails in solid timber and a large fin, unlike the shallow keel and square rails of the Vela Aqua design
The publication also includes two pages of surf riding instruction, which appears to be written for the surf-ski rider and is
occasionally misleading,
The paddle-board, propelled with a double-bladed paddle, was extremely popular in Victoria in the 1960s, and, although generally not used in the surf, they were used on a wide variety of water courses from large bays to rural dams.

The original format has been adjusted and some of the dimensions have been adjusted for clarity, for example 1/2'' = 0.5''.
This transcription from the only known copy, held by the State Library of Western Australia.

[Page 1]


The plans supplied give details of sizes of the Surf Board.
It is of course necessary to obtain the materials dressed to size from your Tim­ber Supplier or alternately dress the timber yourself to sizes specified in timber list.
The next step is to taper the sides of the dimensions shown in the drawing.
A sabre saw is a handy tool to have if you contemplate much boatbuilding.
After you have shaped the sides, the next step is to shape nose and tail block as in diagram.
Cut the bulkheads to length and bevel the edges; then bore the holes in the 1" thick bulkhead to allow free circulation, cut the timber holes in all the thick bulkheads and cut out the checks for the various king planks and stringers.
Clear enough space on a flat bench or table and lay out your board components.
The board is ass­embled in the first stages upside down (ie: top of the board on bench top bottom of board up).
Mark cut the positions of the bulkheads on the insides making sure to double check your measurements at this stage.
A little extra time spent here could save a lot of time later on.

Instructions for use of UREA FORMALDEHYDE GLUE
using liquid "Grasp" Urea Glue with HARDENER
Type - G.F. 62 Gap Filling Hardener
MIXING PROPORTION 10 parts Glue to 1 part Hardener, by weight
 6 parts Glue to 1 part Hardener, by measure
POT LIFE OF MIXTURE 80 degs. F - approx 45 minutes
70 degs. F - approx 1.5 hours
60 degs. F - approx 2.75 hours

Using freshly mixed Glue:

80 degs. F - approx 25 minutes
70 degs. F - approx 35 minutes
60 degs. F - approx 45 minutes
80 degs. F - approx 2.5 hours
70 degs. F - approx 5 hours
60 degs. F - approx 8 hours
Pressing time stated for flat work.
For stressed or bowed work, times should be at least doubled.
Up to 5% of water may be added if glue is too thick to spread.

NOTE:- Glued assemblies are to stand for 24 hours to develop further str­ength before machining.

[Page 2]


1 - 6ft x 4ft x 3/16'' Sheet Marine Ply (Vencore Marine Ply is recommended)
1 - 4ft x 4ft x 3/16'' Sheet Marine Ply (Vencore Marine Ply is recommended)

Timber Meranti or Oregon (Clear)

3.75'' x 0.5''Sides & Bulkheads.  1'' x 0.5''
2/l0 Sides & 9ft for Bulkheads
1" x 0.5"   Stringers & King Planks    l/9ft   l/8ft  2/2ft 6"

2'' x 0.5"    Foot Block Supports 2/1ft 6"
6" x 1.5'' Nose and Tail Block

1 Pint Urea Glue and Hardener.

Approx 630 - 0.75" x 16 SWG Monel 8 ozs or Copper 12 ozs.
Approx   33 - 1.5" x 12 SWG Monel 2 ozs or Copper 2 ozs.
1 Drain Plug.
3 - 0.75" x 4" Raised Head Brass Screws.

Weigh out quantity of glue for job, keeping in mind the max. life of mixture as shown.
Average gtiie spread is 20 sq. ft. per pound.
Mix the hardener thoroughly.
It is necessary to spread only one surface of joint to be made.
Time allowed from start 6& spreading till application of pressure will vary with atmospheric condit­ions and timber used.
At all times the glue must still be soft when press­ure is applied so that excess glue will squeeze out.

IMPORTANT:- It is essential that the glue line be thin.
This will eliminate crazing and weak joints.

Glue and nail ribs nos. 3 & 5 as shown in photo No.1.
Check this section for squareness and nail the king plank as a temporary diagonal brace.

Glue and nail the nose and tailblocks in position as shown in photos No. 2 & 3 using string or rope as as means of holding sides together if no clamps are available.
Glue and nail bottom king plank in position as shown in photo No. 4.

Now turn the framework over and nail king plank, 1'' x 0.5'' stringers and foot block supports.
Plane all sides,  ribs, nose and tail blocks level.

[Page 3]

Photo No. 2

Photo No. 3
Now cut your plywood sheets out about 0.25'' to 0.5" bigger than your board, then make up a little marking jig as shown in diagram.
Spread glue on bottom framework of surf board

Photo No. 4

Photo No. 5

[Page 4]

Lay ply on bottom and nail approx 2-3 nails at each end.
Take marking jig and make pencil line all round board as shown photo No. 6.
Take a pair of dividers or compasses set points 1.5'' apart, mark nail position shown in Photo No. 7.
Bulk-head and King Plank nails are spaced at 3" centres.
Now nail bottom ply on to the framework, working as quickly as possible if the weather is hot.
The glue could be cured before you have
finished the nailing giving you weak spots in parts of your board which will inevitably leak.

The next step is to fix the fin on the bottom with glue, screws and n
ails as in Photo No. 8.
The position of the nails etc. indicated on the plan.
The ply is fixed in position on the top of the board using the same procedure as with bottom ply.
When glue has dried bore the hole for the drain plug.
Plane the plywood flush with the sides of the surf board
It would improve the surfboard if edge of the plywood was rounded.
left square it could be dented and the paint will rub off easily.
Rounding edge helps to prevent this.

Photo No. 8

Photo No. 6
Photo No. 7


Plans as .pdf
[Page 5]

Previous photo shows ply being planed off,
this is not always convenient.
Plane held in this manner is sometimes
awkward & it may be easier to stand as­tride
board as in Photo above.

It is also advantagous to fit side rails to your
board or Ski as shown in the above Photo.


When you have completed the construction of your surfboard the next step is to paint it.
Most brands of exterior paint will stand up very well when used as marine finishes.
If you desire a clear finish to enhance the natural beauty of the timber grain, we suggest any of the new synthetic finishes, using a catalyst to start the chemical action is recommended.


Sand your board carefully and apply your first coat of red lead or pink primer.
When the primer is dry, sand the board lightly, and apply your undercoat and leave to dry.
Sand down the undercoat lightly, and now apply your finishing coat.
The life of the board could be lengthened by sanding doVn your finishing coat and applying another coat. 
It helps the appearance of the board if stripes or a design of some sort is painted on to the board.
We suggest stripes as being the simpliest method of decorating your board.
This is done with masking tape.
Make sure the top coat has been dry for several days before applying your masking tape, as when you remove the tape, you may also remove the paint.

[Page 6]


If you decide on a clear finish there are many reliable brands on the market, and these would be applied in accordance with the manufacturers instructions.
It is however important to note that no undercoats are used, 3 or 4 coats of the synthetic instead.
It is important to dilute the first coat by 10% of the special thinner used, in order to give a good key in the timber, and obtain a longer life before repainting.
You will also need some of this thinner to clean the brushes.


It is sometimes advantageous to fit toe straps and blocks to your board for easier riding.
If it is possible to do so we always advise that this is done.

A Board well looked after will give long service.
It should be varnished to keep it free of leaks, as a board with water inside will become heavy and you will not have the good equipment for riding.
The board can be washed clean after use and kept in a special place to dry out.
Do not at any time leave the plug in the board as damage could be caused in warm weather, if the seams should split.


If care has been taken through the laying of ply, a waterproof finish which will withstand severe punishment for many years will be obtained.

[Page 7]


Learning to paddle the board is best done in calm water for a start, take the paddle in both hands, roughly the width of the shoulders apart, now with the arms partly bent, proceed to put the blade of the paddle in the water.
The blade is then pulled through the water keeping it just clear of the board.
The same action is repeated on the other side of the board.
When you feel confident having learned to paddle easily, you are then safe to try the surf.


To get the board into the surf, lie your paddle onto it, having put your board into the water, push it along standing to one side, do not at iny time push from behind as the board could hit the body and cause an acc­ident.
When the water is knee deep you can sit on the board and start to paddle, depending on how heavy the surf is you may need to push your board further out, then mount.
The tail should be kept down and so lift the nose over the broken waves, in doing this lean backwards on the board on going Into the surf, and when you have got over the wave lean forward again and keep paddling all the time.
When a steep wave has been cleared, you need to watch you are not thrown off your board, as even though you may clear the wave the nose can bump down into the trough and bounce you off.
To avo­id this, lean forward on the nose to balance yourself as you go into the trough.
After this paddle again ready to catch a further wave.


To catch a wave the board must travel at almost the same speed.
Take up a position approximately 100 ft. behind the breakers and begin with a fast stroking action when you have selected the wave.
A long stroking action should be maintained until the wave is caught, remember to keep the board straight while paddling on to the wave and move to the stern to bring the nose of the board up and so prevent a nose dive.
A board should not be ridden right up to the sand, because of the detrimental effect of the sand on the bottom of the board.
To prevent this, slip off the board on one side holding on with the arms, with the body in the water acting as a brake.
Never stand on the shorewood side of a board, as even a small wave could cause quite a serious injury.

[Page 8]

After the art of riding a wave sitting has been mastered, the stand up position can be attempted.
As soon as the wave has been caught grip the gunwhale with your hands and push yourself into a standing position.
Balance yourself and move up and down the board as is necessary to keep board on an even trim.


When you become adapt at riding the waves in a standing position this fancy riding can be tried.


Sit on the board with the stern facing the shore, then you catch wave and ride in as you would in a normal position.
As soon as you have reached the standing position you can try turn­around with 2 steps.


Walking the board consists of moving backwards or forwards by placing one foot behind or in front of the other, and taking 3 or 4 steps towards the nose or tail.


Should you feel proficient in the art of riding your board, there are many other forms of fancy riding that can be attempted.
The Head Stand is often seen, and is performed only when a wave is unbroken.
The wave is caught when you are in a sitting position, put your paddle down and grip the gunwhale with both hands, pushing yourself backwards on the board about 2 or 3 ft. behind your usual sitting position; now lean forward and grip the gunwhale.
Slip your legs back into a kneeling position, place your forehead about 1 ft.  in front of your arms,  forming a triangle with your head and hands, and from there,  raise the hips and legs, finally straightening the legs.
A proficient person may make a stand with perfect-arched back and toes pointed.

Many hours of enjoyment can be hed in the surf when you have gained full confidence to perform these various forms of relaxation.


Plans as .pdf
[Page 9]

OCKANOIE                     8ft PADDLE BOARD             10ft    &   12ft               12ft BANANA     
                                                                SURF BOARDS
                 SURF SKI





PHONE:    56  - 1168

Vel Aqua : Do it yourself Plywood Surf Board Plan
10 ft. Surf Board - Complete instructions with plans and progressive photos.

Summit Marine and Joinery Pty. Ltd.
Oakleigh, Victoria, [1959]

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home catalogue history references appendix

Geoff Cater (2016) : Vela Aqua : Surfboard Plans, 1959.