Tell me this ain't a bargain in a world of thousand-dollar boards.
You don’t get these sorta bargains or how do they say it now, opportunities, very often.
Akila Aipa, a former pro surfer and the son of the great Hawaiian shaper Ben Aipa, will build for you, and according to your specific dimensions, a version of the five-eight squash-tail Kelly Slater used to beat hell out of Keramas two days ago.
As our tour correspondent reported, “Kelly leant back into a savage back foot heavy layback hook. It was the turn of the day. The turn of Kelly’s year. It lit a little candle of hope in the deep dark cave of Kelly’s retirement year.”
The board is part of a seven-board quiver Akila made Kelly earlier this year.
See, Akila and Kelly have been pals for close on thirty years, Akila part of the same Hawaiian pack that included Shane Dorian and Ross Williams.
“I told him, ‘Holy shit, I don’t know if the judges are ready for that. If you do take it out, walk up the beach, don’t show anyone. They can’t see that shit!’ There’s this conformist fucking mentality on tour, and it’s always been there, and until they have a more open and a better judging criteria of skill, none of it will ever make any sense.” AKILA AIPA
They talk a lot.
They both prefer shorter surfboards. Akila is five-ten and he’ll ride five-twos and five-threes. He likes the freedom he gets to pivot and to jam in the pocket.
Kelly was interested in riding one of Akila’s famous twin-fins so Akila suggested he make a quiver, which included the twin, the rest thrusters; some with Kelly’s fin placements, some with Akila’s.
Akila made seven boards: a twin-finned 5’5″, the rest 5’7″s, 5’8″s and 5’9’s”.
When Keramas was revealed to be three foot, Kelly told Akila he was thinking about surfing the twin in his heat.
“I told him, ‘Holy shit, I don’t know if the judges are ready for that. If you do take it out, walk up the beach, don’t show anyone. They can’t see that shit!’ There’s this conformist fucking mentality on tour, and it’s always been there, and until they have a more open and a better judging criteria of skill, none of it will ever make any sense.”
He didn’t use the twin. He grabbed the five eight, which is somewhere between 18 3/8″ and 18 1/2″ and maybe 2 1/4″ on the rail.
When I laugh at the vague measurements, Akila says, “I just connect the dots. It’s a shortboard crunched. I don’t know all that fucking shit. It’s just a board, a rocker, a rail and I try and tie all the subtleties together.”
The bottom curve is vee though the nose, a single concave under the front foot that hits a double and then turns into vee through the fins.
PU construction, too.
“I was getting so many texts, is that epoxy? Is that PU? I don’t like the sensation of epoxy, personally. Epoxy does some weird chattering because of its memory. I like the sensation of that kinetic load on a bottom turn and the feedback on a top turn.”
When he saw Kelly on his board via the webcast Akila says he felt a “wonderment.”
“I was flabbergasted and flattered and baffled that he chose to ride it at one of the most high-performance waves in the world with a lot of eyes watching. The last time I was that engaged in watching a heat was watching Sunny winning an OP Pro on a board I made in 2001.”
Akila’s voice softens, “We’re hurting on our brother.”
Now, you want one of Akila’s boards?
It ain’t as simple as jumping on the website. ‘Cause there ain’t one.
“I’m a custom board builder. I’ve always been a one-on-one board builder. I’m not set up for production.”
Still, if you email Akila at [email protected] and y’tell him what you want, he’ll make a custom in four-to-six weeks for $US550.
You need it shipped to Australia?
Akila has a flight attendant pal who’ll bring it over for an extra fifty.
“It’s an honour making boards and I gotta find a way to service people the best I can.”