Dave Rastovich, a nature-loving earth child if ever there was one, had a bit of a crisis of conscience recently about the spawn of evil petrochemicals we all ride. “I was feeling like a hypocrite,” he said. “I love to go surfing, and for me it’s almost like a church-going thing. Like Gerry Lopez says, ‘The church of the open sky, going to have a quiet moment with your maker, going to offer your praise.’ And you’ve got this toxic surfboard. It’s really been a frustrating thing for me. I just want to surf on something natural. I went to the extreme, thinking I’m going to get rid of all my boards and just ride second-hand boards or I’m going to be a body surfer.”

Instead, Dave’s shaper Chris Garrett came up with an alternative that jibes with his sensitive sensibilities: a little timber veneer model Rasta reckons is the closest thing to a non-toxic board going around at the moment. “I want to have my whole quiver out of them,” he says.

The construction method is the brainchild of carpenter David Franks, a set builder for the film industry, who’s been fooling around with various types of timber veneers for over 12 years. Recently, he got together with Burleigh Heads-based shaper Garrett to develop a timber/Styrofoam construction that is impressive in its sheer simplicity. Their system uses almost no resin, no fiberglass, just a bit of glue and some old boat-building techniques to produce finely-crafted custom boards finished with decking oil.

“It’s actually gone back to the roots,” says Franks, who takes six to eight hours to laminate each board. “In between movies I’ve got no job. I’m in the workshop stuffing around. It’s become a bit of an obsession.”