Cutwater Spirits #1

5′ 8″ x 22-1/2″ x 3″ Fish Shaped Surfboard

This is, by far, the most fun I’ve had on a commissioned surfboard art project.

I met Yuseff Cherney (Ballast Point Brewery – at the time) several years ago as we were both on the same tuna fishing trip. More recently, we reconnected online when he posted about unusual things being made out of used Cutwater Spirits barrels.

Since I enjoy experimenting with salvaged, reclaimed, or otherwise interesting lumber in my wood surfboard art, I contacted Yuseff and suggested a surfboard made from used barrels. He was all for it.

Now, I had to figure it out. I had no idea if it was possible to cut the charred staves into thin strips, or if they’d accept glue, fiberglass cloth, resin, etc., but I was willing to give it a shot.

I picked up a few empty casks previously used for Cutwater Spirits’ award winning Devil’s Share Bourbon Whiskey. Then, I disassembled the oak barrels using my grandfather’s tools. Here are two very short videos of this part of the process:

After that, I went to work ripping the oak staves into thin strips. I use what is known as the “strip-build” technique to build all of my hollow wood surfboards.

This means I place thin strips of wood over a wood frame – one strip at a time. The wood frame is similar to the inside of an airplane wing with a spar and ribs – providing the shape and strength, but not adding much weight. All of my surfboards are hollow. Now, it’s time to sand the wood.

I was also able to save – and use – the entire whiskey cask head sporting the Cutwater Spirits Logo.

Cutwater Spirits Skateboard

I also created a skateboard out of the remaining strips from the cask. Yuseff is enjoying his one-of-a-kind custom skateboard.

Next up was Cutwater Spirits #2

Cutwater #2 is a 7’ 2” x 22” Winged Swallow Tail shaped hollow wood surfboard made from Cutwater Spirits Devil’s Share Bourbon Whiskey soaked oak staves, redwood, paulownia. The fins are my own design and made from quartersawn sycamore.

Cutwater Spirits #3


Then, I created Cutwater Spirits #3 a pin tail surfboard which is made from a variety of lumber species including redwood, paulownia, and reclaimed oak staves from a barrel of rum.

The woven pattern on the deck is made from Cutwater Spirits Bali Hai Tiki Gold Pineapple Rum soaked staves.

Cutwater Spirits #3 is a 7’ 6” x 20-⅝” Pin Tail shaped hollow wood surfboard with quartersawn sycamore fins.

As of right now, Cutwater #3 is available for sale.

Please contact me here for more information.