Tom Leckie with his surfboard made of flax stalks, at St Clair last night. Photo by Gregor Richardson.
A homegrown surfboard is making a splash around Dunedin
While a pupil at Port Chalmers School, Tom Leckie used to
experiment making boats out of korari by gluing and shaping
the flax stalks together.
But now, the 24-year-old carpenter has gone one better.
''I always had that idea to make a surfboard out of it. But,
to be honest, I had no idea how to go about it.''
He began constructing the one-of-a-kind board for his
girlfriend and two-time national surf champion, Daisy Thomas,
while she was overseas.
Beginning in October 2010, he carefully glued strips of
korari together after earlier harvesting around 600 mature
stalks from the coastal Dunedin area, saying a karakia
(prayer) as he did so.
By the end of the year - and hundreds of hours later - the
recognisable shape of the board was finished, and he was able
to applying fibreglass cloth and epoxy resin.
His girlfriend was ''blown away'' by the board, he said.
''The best thing about the board is watching other people
surf it, because it surfs really well.''
Mr Leckie described himself as environmentally aware, and was
pleased to utilise a natural foam to shape a surfboard ''It
is sustainable foam. It can be grown, harvested and you can
glue it together and make a surfboard.''
While the board was heavier than other surfboards, it was
also more durable, but the labour intensive nature of its
construction meant he regarded it more as a work of art than
a future money-maker.
The board featured as part of an exhibition at the University
of Otago's Te Tumu, School of Maori, Pacific and Indigenous
Studies this month, where it also received a blessing.