I'm an alaia rider/builder and just haven't seen many others. I ride mine every session no matter what and prefer it over everything else. Even after 15 years of surfing "modern" boards, I'm totally hooked on the alaia. It's really a ton of fun, I don't get why hardly anyone rides one. It's not really harder, it's just different so it just takes some time to figure it out.
Is it just too kooky or something? Too hard? Too expensive? Too much investment of time? I don't know... I can't figure it out. Maybe beauty is in the eye of the beholder?
Thanks for your honest input,
Yeah, there's all kinds of interpretations out there but few actual replicas. That's one thing bugs me about the whole alaia thing... that's why I stick to the original designs. As you may have guessed, I run Xylem Surfboards out here on the east coast. I only shape ancient Hawaiian style boards. My company is still real grassroots, but who knows, that might change. I started in Hawaii and moved back here 2 years ago. You might see some of my boards out there on the west coast and back in Hawaii too.
I did some serious research on ancient boards while I was in Hawaii and I apply all that I learned about those boards to the boards I make. My Kona model is an actual replica of an original alaia from the bishop Museum In Oahu. The truth is, those original designs work the best anyway! It makes sense, the Hawaiians spent hundreds of years refining those shapes every day in real surf. What better testing do you want?
Anyway, thanks for the comment. It always helps to get a different perspective about stuff. It's good to hear some positive stuff and the other stuff is helpful too. If any one has any questions for me just ask, I'm glad to (hopefully) answer whatever you got. I'm glad to share the stoke!
Learning an alaia is like starting over again except on something way better. It's like being really good at riding a bike with training wheels and then taking the training wheels off. All of a sudden you can do stuff you never thought possible. So, it's weird and feels strange at first, but it just takes some adjustment to get control of how the board works. When you do get control, it's just so fun... and you feel kinda proud of yourself too. It's not easy, but anyone with devotion, discipline and desire can get it. It's like karate or something.