We are stoked and humbled to be featured in the Feb/March issues of Hawaiian Airline’s Hana Hou Magazine, in the Native Intelligence section. Big mahalos to Tiffany Hill who wrote the article and to Megan Spelman who took the photos. Please check it out below!
A Board in the Hand
by Tiffany Hill
Hana Hou Magazine, Feb/March 2016
Available on all Hawaiian Airlines flights.
Two years ago a foot-long board forever changed how Sally Lundburg surfed. Her husband, Keith Tallett, took a broken surfboard and reshaped it into a slim handboard for Lundburg’s birthday. “All of a sudden I was was getting these long (bodysurfing) waves, all the way to the beach, with just a little piece of foam,” she says. “It was so cool! I loved it!”
You don’t need a handboard to bodysurf, but it helps. Bodysurfers strap the board on their dominant hand, which gives them more speed and lift than their palms can. Handboards – also called handplanes or handslides – can vary in size and shape, many have fins and leashes. Tallett made another one for the couple’s 12 year old daughter Kia’i and one for himself. The family tested them out at their regular surf break in Waipio, just up the road from the family’s home in Pa’auilo, Hawai’i island. Waipio’s shorebreak and monster winter waves make for ideal bodysurfing. “After that first time,” says Lundburg, “I was hooked.”
Lundburg posted photos of the sleek, rainbow-hued boards on Instagram, and the requests followed. It was Kia’i, says Lundburg, who convinced couple to start selling boards online. In February 2015, they established Manukai Handboards (manu kai means “birds of the sea” in Hawaiian, and Tallett finally had a use for his growing collection of old and broken surfboards. Now when they’re not working (Lundburg works in a frame shop and is a freelance photographer, and Tallett works in special education), or bodysurfing, they’re making handboards.
Tallett, who first learned surfboard shaping from his father, is happy to keep the old boards out of the landfill. “I make five or six handboards from one surfboard,” he says. He also uses foraged wiliwili and agave wood. Once he’s finished, Lundburg adds the handstraps made from recycled wetsuits and packages them in handmade drawstring bags designed from surplus fabric and demin. Even leftover resin gets repurposed; Lundburg makes drop earrings and chunky rings from it for her jewelry business, Kalakoa Designs.
Their sustainable lifestyle serves the family well, and they hope Manukai will turn into a full-time business. Lundburg says she had no idea her birthday present would spark a new enterprise. “It was something we were just having fun with,” she says, “but we got such a great response.”