Andy Wallace is a true craftsman … He’s been creating hollow core timber surfboards for the last 12 years and loves working with unique and unusual pieces of timber. Each board Andy creates is different – they’re an art form you can hang on your wall, as well as taking for a ride on the waves …
Hi Andy. How long have you been living in Old Bar?
I grew up in Taree, so Old Bar was always a part of weekends and holidays growing up. After living away for a while, my wife, Anne, and our two children moved back to the area, and in 2000 we moved an old weatherboard house from Taree to Old Bar and called it home.
What do you most love about where you live?
There is something special about being local … my wife is always amused that every time we go for a drive, I wave to at least two or three people we know.
Add to that the fact that I can walk out my gate and surf un-crowded waves with my mates … What’s not to love?
What’s your career background … how did you wind up making surfboards?
I have worked all over the world, and I could write a book about the different jobs I’ve had. Some of those jobs include boat building and carpentry, plus I have always enjoyed shaping my own surfboards.
About 12 years ago, I decided to combine it all together and learn the art of wooden surfboard construction, and I’ve been at it ever since.
What materials are used in your boards’ construction?
The main timber is Chinese Empress (Paulownia), which is a light but durable timber often used in boats and canoes. I combine this with any lightweight recycled timber I can find; I especially look for more exotic timbers, the more interesting background, the better.
I was recently given two wardrobe doors estimated to be around 100 years old. These doors just happened to be made from Californian Redwood (Sequoia), a rich red timber used in some of the earliest surfboards ever made. So this is the kind of timber I love. I have made one board and have enough left for one more.
What makes your boards different from others on the market?
While the surfboard industry is forever looking for cutting edge materials and designs, I prefer to deal only in the art of hollow timber surfboard construction.
Not only is timber a fantastic natural material for surfboards, hollow timber surfboard manufacture was actually the first real surfboard industry in Australia, soon overtaken by the import of balsa and then the introduction of foam. So, in that sense, timber board manufacturing is a special piece of Australian history.
With that in mind, I like to take it up a notch and make each board a unique collectable artwork that you can hang on your wall and still take out for a surf.
For a little more nitty-gritty detail … what size/shape are your boards available in, and what about individual design? How are the boards finished?
I do anything from retro fish boards to big wave guns and Malibus. The design often depends on the timber I am using, and I always maintain artistic and creative licence.
While I used to glass the boards myself, I now prefer to use Rod Rose Surfboards of Forster, who are able to create a high gloss fiberglass finish that really complements the boards.
I’ve heard you ship your products all over the world … what other countries have you sent them to?
My main client base is in Aus, but I also have customers in Wales, NZ and the U.S.A., with enquiries coming from places like Brazil and Portugal.
What’s some of the feedback you’ve received about your boards?
I have had a few exhibitions, which have gone really well, and I always try to work closely with my clients and give some history on the timber I use.
Thankfully everyone so far has been pretty stoked with their investment.
Where can we contact you, or find out more about you?
You can view my work at Freedom Surfboards on Facebook and Instagram (my website is being revamped and will be back online soon).
For prices and enquiries, you can email me at email@example.com or call me on 0408 777 140 for more info or to have a look at the boards I have in stock.