west of west builds an experimental surfcraft for california culture
west of west builds an experimental surfcraft for california culture west of west builds an experimental surfcraft for california culture
jul 31, 2014

west of west builds an experimental surfcraft for california culture

west of west creates an experimental surfcraft
photo © hara kumaran
all images courtesy of west of west




for the architecture and design museum of los angeles, local studio west of west has designed and crafted ‘aero’, a radical board that represents the history of experimental surf culture in southern california. the product is built around a streamlined image of speed. its profile blends the classic outlines of a planning hull with an asymmetrical split tail. while the top surface remains minimal, the bottom is extensively contoured along its length. as a result, ridges and valleys emerge from the massing, forming a new topography that reacts to agility and flow in unique ways.

west of west aero surfboard
(left) top of the board
(right) bottom of the board
photo © hara kumaran

west of west aero surfboard
detail of the leash cup
photo © hara kumaran

west of west aero surfboard
view of the tail
photo © hara kumaran




early board shapers in the sunshine state during the 1930s, 40s, and 50s were equal parts artist, craftsman, and engineer. the rugged coastline served not only as motivation, but also as a laboratory and playground. influenced by aerodynamic and hydrodynamic theories, including lindsay lord’s ‘the naval architecture of planing hulls’, iconic surfers such as bob simmons would fabricate their boards and test them the next day. their process of continual trial-and-error dramatically progressed the culture in so many ways that it remains relevant to this day. a similar lineage of experimentation forms the basis of west by west’s creation and is fundamental to their practice.

west of west aero surfboard
the board in the sand
photo © hara kumaran

west of west aero surfboard
on the beach
photo © hara kumaran




while the early drawings of the design were completed digitally, the physical production was executed by hand using traditional techniques: the profile was sketched on the block of polyurethane foam with a pencil, the overall shape sculpted with a hand planer, and the final contours blended and sharpened with a sanding block. afterwards, it was finished in fiberglass resin with a coat of battleship grey in homage to the naval history that fueled the creativity of surfing pioneers.

west of west aero surfboard
sanding down the massing
photo © hara kumaran

west of west aero surfboard
taking dimensions
photo © hara kumaran



designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.

  • Dudes were do you put your back foot!?

    Q says:
  • Homie its for the front foot kinda guy dude ; }
    PS – Try a full roundhouse cutty on that baby and see what happens, my guess is nuttin, straight ahead ma man straight ahead !!!!!!!!

    Wayne Neylan - Linear Projects says:
  • So… does it work?

    cmack says:
  • Q, It’s a large, rounded-pin ..you surf it backwards.


    jimCan says:
  • Looks like a fish fin. Not sure about the “dagger” like tail ends and the space between them. Seems dangerous even though that they have blunt points.

    nelsondreyes architect says:
  • I’d have thought you couldn’t wait to try it out………. or is it the emperors new surfboard ? More photos please

    Peter Maclean says:
  • who needs a photo of board on the sand? how about a video of someone on a wave? or don’t call it a surfboard.

    scotto says:
  • I have only seen one board with a hole in it in Kauai, for a left break only.

    Function is linked to form directly in a board. Prove it works and ppl will be kinder. otherwise, lesson learned.

    james says:
  • Good design does not come from a random shape. The ribs might give you something to carve a turn against, but where does the asymmetry get you. There could be some great ideas in this board, but as the guy says, if it ain’t in the water, it ain’t a surfboard.

    mackenzie collins says:

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