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agave_openerLast week I had a visit, as they passed through Melbourne on a board-delivery errand to the Victorian coast, from Paul and Sage Joske… Father and son, teacher and pupil, friends.

The Joskes hail from Coff’s Harbour on the coast of northern New South Wales.

In 1970, Paul began a surfboard business and also began, after a while, to grow a family with his delightful wife Jenny.

Paul evolved into one of surfing’s finest craftsmen. He’s meticulous to a fault; indeed, meticulous to the point where churning boards out to make a living meant not many boards were churned, relatively, and Jenny has always kept the family solvent by teaching.

The result of this familial collaboration is a succession of beautiful surfboards, refined shapes, perfectly finished. When a man can shape by eye to 1/64th of an inch, and inspects his glass jobs with a magnifying glass, you know he cares. That such obsessiveness might be seen as a little too much is beside the point. As my dad always said, if a job is worth doing…

Paul and Sage brought a few boards with them on their visit, with one board in particular the star of the show.

paul-joske-agave-planA 7’4 gun, this board was a work of art.

Victorian surfer Peter Filmore has long admired the Joske formula, and a couple of years ago had Paul build a paulownia gun, chambered and oiled, but not glassed. Because paulownia does not soak water, the experiment was to see how it all went. Two years later the board is fine – good as new, ship shape and still ridden regularly.

agave-sticks-2In the meantime, Pete had been collecting agave stems, the woody flowering centre of the agave plant. These stems, when dried, are light and strong, but you need quite a few to contemplate a board. Diligently, over the intervening years, enough stems were collected to send up to Paul, in hope.

agave-sticksThis year a critical mass was achieved and the board was made. Paul graciously gave me some step-by-step shots of the board’s construction. Together with a couple of backyard snaps from me, a little of the board’s beauty is there to behold. It’s a wonderful thing.



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