During my trip back east last week I was fortunate enough to paddle out with my beach buddy Dave Cardona. We haven’t gone surfing together since last summer and this season he is sporting the eco-look like it’s nobodies business. Last winter he switched from fiberglass to wood when he decided to sculpt his own board. You can usually catch Dave in boardshorts made from plastic bottles on the NJ coast, or in South Africa this fall. This mobile man is a walking, paddling, and ride-catching example of a true green-scene member.

LC: What is your favorite thing about surfing? Did you have a moment when you knew you were hooked?

DC: My favorite thing about surfing are the times that swell size is right on the limit of what you are comfortable with and after a lot of work you get one of your most memorable rides. That feeling of getting a great ride after paddling for what it feels like hours, or getting caught in the inside or having to duck dive way too many times in 39 degree water- has to be one of the greatest feelings in the world.
That’s the exact feeling that got me hooked a few years ago while surfing at Belmar, NJ. It was a small wind-swell but for my first year it took me forever to get outside on the huge foam board I was riding. I caught my first peeling right and was speeding down the line on a pretty high line with a huge smile on my face. Seeing that green clean shoulder ahead of me with no signs of closing out is a picture that I will never forget.

LC: What made you decide to build your own board? What materials did you need?

DC: I built my first alaia this past winter because I had always wanted to shape and ride a board, which is kind of a hassle with foam and fiberglass. When I saw that people were building alaias in their backyards and read up on it, I realized alaias would be a great first shaping experience. And the fact that these boards are very environmentally friendly was just the cherry on top. To build it I bought Pawlonia wood, which is what Tom Wegner recommends, and some glue since I already had the power tools needed. I researched designs online and read up on alaias, and just gave it the old college try. Most of the time it took me to make it I spent sanding, with a power sander and by hand. A lot of sanding.

LC: I must say the designs on your surfboard are just breathtaking. How did you make them?

DC: For the alaia I used a soldering tool to burn designs on the wood. Usually the designs come from sketches I do when I’m bored and have a pen in my hand. That is probably my second favorite thing about surfing is getting to tag your board and really make it yours.

LC: So, you made your own board out of wood instead of fiberglass, you use eco-friendly MAGMA surf wax, and your swim suit is made out of plastic bottles. You are a dream. Where did you get your suit and who makes it? Do they sell them for women also or do I have to be as creative as you and buy board-shorts and make a bikini out of it?

DC: The boardshorts I got at Billabong. No idea if they make bikinis, but they do have girls boardshorts.

Thanks to Dave for sharing his story. If anyone wants to learn more about the art of board sculpting or tagging, he can be your Master Splinter.