Here’s Kelly Slater’s 3000-year-old Surfboard
Words by Jake Howard If we’ve learned anything about the king in the last year it’s that the man has a penchant for textiles. Alpaca fuzz in Outerknown beanies. Weird Firewire composites. Optioning stories about Thai sticks. But he’s outdone himself this time: Kelly just scored himself a Merrick carved from a 3,000-year-old blank. “This […]
Words by Jake Howard
If we’ve learned anything about the king in the last year it’s that the man has a penchant for textiles. Alpaca fuzz in Outerknown beanies. Weird Firewire composites. Optioning stories about Thai sticks. But he’s outdone himself this time: Kelly just scored himself a Merrick carved from a 3,000-year-old blank.
“This board was shaped by Al Merrick in a design I made called the Semi Pro out of wood from the largest Sequoia tree to have ever been found intact after falling,” Kelly wrote on Instagram. “This particular tree fell in 1964 and could be heard from up to 30 miles away. It was only saved from shattering on the way down because it landed on other trees and 30 feet of snow. It was 282 feet tall, had 3 foot thick bark, its diameter was 27 feet and circumference 95 feet at its thickest part! It was later discovered through the rings to have gone through at least 18 major fire events in its lifetime.”
Laird would have just screwed a hydrofoil to the whole log and called it good, but it’s still a pretty badass story – and kind of makes those few remaining Clark blanks your shaper’s been hoarding look insignificant. Think about it; 3,000 years ago agriculture was just spreading across Eurasia and the Mayan calendar kicked off on August 11, 3114 BC.
“Excited and honoured to take part in a project called Surfers And Shapers,” continues Kelly. “The brainchild of Larry Fuller whose mission is to unite the lineage of the riders and designers throughout surfing’s history with boards made from 3000+ year old redwood.”
The objective of Larry Fuller’s Surfers and Shapers project is “to create one hundred really beautiful surfboards from the greatest shapers alive.” There’s even a Kickstarter project set up to help it get off the ground. Besides Merrick, Fuller also had the honour of working with the legendary Donald Takayama before his passing, and continues to whittle with other luminaries such as Rusty Preisendorfer, Billy Hamilton, Carl Ekstrom, Renny Yater and Tom Stone.
As for Kelly’s Semi Pro, don’t expect to see him on it anytime soon. “The fins were made of Coastal Redwood from Mirrassou Winery barrels, America’s first winery (1854) and are somewhere between 2000 and 4000 years old.”
And never one to lose perspective of the historical narrative, Kelly adds, “When all is said and done, 100 of these boards will exist and they’re obviously irreplaceable. Excited to see all of the final projects from everyone involved. Thanks for including me, Larry! And the board is simply a work of art.”
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