Surfboard design has evolved over millennia from flat, solid planks of Hawaiian wood to the now hollow polyurethane (PU) foam boards wrapped in fibreglass and polyester or epoxy resin so beloved by surfing fanatics around the globe.

However, one Scottish maker has managed to combine and refine the old ways with the new and create boards sympathetic to the roots of the sport while also being expertly designed.

In his early 20s, Frazer Reid chose to blend his two great passions of woodwork and surfing into a business model. By the time he was 32, he’d launched his company FAR Cabinet Makers and Wooden Surfboards from his hometown in Crail, Fife.

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“I’m probably best known as the ‘wooden surfboard guy’,” says Frazer. “In the water, wooden boards feel very different from foam boards. There’s more weight to them, which adds greater momentum – they surf just as well as foam boards but are more durable and therefore last longer. The boards are so smooth in the water and have this lively energy about them.”

An avid surfer himself, Frazer crafted his first wooden board halfway through a furniture making course. The boards are made from UK-grown Cedar and lightweight Paulownia wood, which is sourced from regenerative plantations in Spain where the wood can regrow after eight years. Ensuring his products are as sustainable as possible is an important aspect for Frazer when creating his furniture and surfboards.

From his rented workshop on a nearby farm, he has assembled all the tools necessary to create his wooden boards and furniture. That is, a large table saw, planer, lathe, bandsaw, sander and CNC laser cutter.

“Wooden surfboards are built like an aeroplane wing,” says Frazer. “The framework for the interior is all cut on my CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machine. The framework is then cut and everything is built around it, which dictates the overall shape and size of the board.

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“There’s a bottom skin and the frame is glued down to that then the sides are built up and the top goes onto that. But there’s also a lot of bending and gluing to get everything to fit together properly.

“There’s no better feeling than when you finish a board for someone who is really grateful and appreciative. I recently had a customer pick up their finished surfboard and he cried. When the customer reaction is so positive and they find the finished product better than they hoped for, that gives me great job satisfaction.

“Because surfboards were originally wooden I think people also want to maintain that link with this natural material that ties to the origins of surfing but with modern, versatile characteristics.”

An area Frazer admits can be tricky is self-promotion, marketing, and maintaining customer expectations.

“Marketing feels like a never-ending challenge. Keeping up with social posts and emails can be a struggle after a 12-hour shift in the workshop.”

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As his line of work can be solitary, he frequently collaborates with other makers and artists, and offers clients the opportunity to build their own surf or paddle board.

At the completion of the three-day course, customers have a board ready to be fibre-glassed and sealed. The board templates range from five and a half feet right up to 12-foot paddle boards.

Frazer works mostly from commissions for his boards and his furniture making.

His clientele ranges from ardent surfers living from their camper vans up to millionaires looking to furnish homes with bespoke furniture.

“I love the process behind taking a plain plank of wood and transforming that into a dining table or a unique, functional piece of furniture. That is really rewarding for me.

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“For the waterfall tables it can be difficult making sure the wood doesn’t move and crack the glass. Some of the panes of glass are worth around £800 so you need to get it right first time . . . but it’s a nice challenge to have.”

Frazer is running more surfboard and paddle board building workshops and is looking to open this up to courses in building bodyboards.