Danny Hess SF wood board builder

Canoe & Kayak, board Manufacturers - specializing in water sports equipment and accessories

boats and Paddleboards

Danny Hess - wood board builder

Danny Hess, the San Francisco-based wood board builder (frame and rail-band construction with wood skins over EPS, or left hollow) has been onto cork for well over ten years. The parabolic rail bands he laminates would be too rigid if done in wood alone. With a flooring contractor as his supplier.

To design considerations,the dampening effect of cork in EPS/epoxy big-wave boards is an obvious fit, while the aerialists want their little boards to remain super light (cork adds significant weight to a board and have pop to launch with.

But one pictures a shortboard with low rocker and a full outline, built in two-pound EPS with Raggett's full-braid carbon fiber rails, and bamboo veneer on the bottom.

This is a thick little pod of a surfboard short, fat. and stiff. With vacuum bag construction, the board is ultra-light.
In Add that layer of cork and it now has a little heft, and the chatter one would otherswise have with a design like this is significantly eased. The result is a long-lived, responsive board with speed and maneuverability in small waves, built in the most environmentally sustainable way.

Hess incorporates various thicknesses and speaks in loving tones of the way cork flexes, and has what people calls "amazing memory." Hess' use of cork, unlike cork in EPS/epoxy construction, isn't for dampening (the cellular quality of the wood he builds his boards in has that incomparable feeling of "give" in the water) but for keeping the rail bands, which form the frame of his boards, slightly
more flexible. The compression memory, or "recovery," as well as cork's inherent Flex and buoyancy, make it an obvious, if long overlooked, material in veneer/composite surfboard construction.


On photo: 21.25" x 10' x 3.625 Wood construction "North American Gun"