La La

La-La is the Hawaiian word describing the action of riding an alaia surfboard. La-La is an ancient word found in the Hawaiian dictionary meaning 'the controlled slide' when surfing on a board. Only in Hawaii were wood surfboards made in all sizes to accommodate all sizes of riders, and style of riding and type of wave. The small 'paipo' was in the 2'-5' range and used for riding in the prone position. The most commonly used wood surfboard was probably the 'alaia' board that was usually between 6'-12' and could be ridden in most of the waves being ridden in the day. Boards built for the larger waves were known as 'Kiko'o' and would be 12' to 18', possibly larger. The largest of the Hawaiian wood surfboards, reserved for royalty was the 'Olo' board. These were the giants of the day at 18' and believed to have reached lengths of 25 feet. Pre-contact Hawaiian wood surfboards were probably made of any wood large enough to construct a surfboard. However, the three primary woods used were Ulu (bread-fruit), Koa (Hawaiian Mahogany) and Wili-Wili (Hawaiian Balsa). Wili-Wili was reserved only for royalty. Tom Wegener has been responsible for bringing alaia surfing back into focus. His concept of bringing together a naturally water resistant wood, 'paulownia' and the classic 'alaia' shape, in his hands and under the feet of some truly great surfers, like Dave Rastovich and the McCoy brothers, has made all of us take note that surfing truly is an art not defined by rules. I was lucky enough to shape an alaia and surf with Tom Wegener, a couple of summers ago. Shaping and surfing it was so much fun, but the thing that frustrated me about it was the lack of buoyancy the board had. Surfers are used to buoyancy, and while surfers like Dave Rastovich can make riding an alaia look effortless most surfers struggle to even get on a wave! The La-La is my version of an alaia, with the bottom contours of a modern Tom Wegener styled alaia, but with the float similar to a high performance short board, the La-La will get you onto waves and give you a wonderful guided slide that is fast and fun.