There are other threads but I'll say it again..... Rob machado is awesome on alaias on perfect waves on youtube. You probably won't be. It takes a lot of sacrifice of good waves to even begin to ride these things.
However they are a fun build and make great wall hangers.
I want to start one when I get a little less busy in the woodshop, too many paying side projects right now.
I have a pretty good connection for getting Paulownia at a decent price. Maybe mix it up with some sort of Mahogany and Teak accents--maybe I'll even start on it some day...
I made my first one not that long ago, It was fun and not that hard at all. I bought paulownia blanks from papa kai (search on the web) Jeremy over there hooked me up with some templates as well. On its maiden voyage i stood up on a few waves and it is fast and slidey to say the least. I went with the traditional squared off tail....but on that same day it cracked...so i glued it and cut it into a fish tail (shortend it up from 6'8")
Haven't gotten back on it, waiting for a smaller clean day with less of a crowd. It is no where near as buoyant as a modern board but its...and if you can master paddling on it you will be a machine on a regular board fer sure. Ill try and get a pic up of her... she is called "the sprout" lol
I ride my alaia 100% of the time and it's super fun and super versatile. I ride knee high waves most of the time, but when we get a bigger swell,l I'll ride it as big as it gets. I've had some great hurricane waves on it and I'm looking forward to some PR barrels in Feb.