Gerard de Gannes Wood Ski – Trinidad

Monday, 11 October 2010 17:23 | Written by 
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Wood ski! Wood ski! Credits: Gerard de Gannes

When retired teacher Gerard de Gannes joined the Trinidad surfski club after recovering from a stroke, he found that the constant swimming and remounting wasn’t as much fun as he’d been lead to believe…


Nothing daunted, and having taught some technical drawing and woodwork in his past, he decided to build himself a more stable, easier to remount ski – out of wood.


The challenges didn’t stop there: “I couldn’t get the 4oz cloth and the 4mm marine ply that I wanted,” he said, “but since this first boat was going to be experimental anyway, I built it out 4mm luan, 6oz cloth and epoxy.”  He read up on stitch and glue techniques on the internet, experimented with some different techniques, assembled his materials and started.

Wooden surfski

Construction almost complete

Taking some measurements off the skis at the club, he designed a craft that has the following characteristics:

-          Length: 21.125ft.

-          Beam 19"

-          Swede shape

-          Weight just over 19kg,

-          Width at catch14",

-          Length of cockpit 47",

-          Max depth13",

-          Depth at seat7"

-          Hull: V shape bow and stern; shallow V under stern.

He finished the hull with three coats of marine varnish.

Wooden surfski

“The boat’s really easy to remount,” he said.  “It has good primary stability.  I’m not comfortable in confused seas, but the ski works well in 6-8ft swells with long intervals, and it’s also ok in small chop.

“I’m 59 and I don’t race seriously – just in fun events with the club,” he went on.  “Last weekend I measured 8.3mph/13.28kph on a run in 2-3ft chop and I’m sure a stronger paddler would do much better!”

“There’s a shipment of 4mm marine ply arriving in November,” he said.  “So my next build should be lighter and better!”

Way to go Gerard!

Wooden surfski

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