Students in the 'Surf's Up' module are currently learning about wetsuits and surfboards. Local surfer Aaron Lyttle kindly offered to share his extensive collection of surfboards, fins and wetsuits with the students, including the board he built himself during lockdown last year.
Aaron's passion for surfing stems from growing up in Mount Maunganui, a renowned New Zealand surf spot. By trade he is an Aircraft Engineer for Air New Zealand and has applied the skills of his profession to repairing and building surfboards.
He showed us the process he uses to repair boards and the range of tools required to carry out this task. Aaron has also dabbled with building surfboards and he showed us two boards he has built, explaining the steps in the process, such as shaping and glassing the board and installing fin boxes and leash plugs.
Aaron spent time during lockdown last year building a board and, whilst he is humble about the result, it is an impressive board that will no doubt be put to good use. Aaron also makes surfboard fins, showing students the templates he uses for the fin design, explaining how the different fin shapes and set ups impact on the performance of a surfboard in the water.
Students explored Aaron’s quiver of surfboards that span a range of decades and he showed the students how surfboard and fin design has evolved over time. Aaron ran us through the different types of surfboards and how different design features, such as tail shape, rail shape and rocker, influence the performance of a board in different wave conditions. He also gave the students advice around the types of boards that would be suitable for their experience level.
With the arrival of winter and cooler water temperatures, Aaron was able to show us what equipment we need to stay warm in the water. A good quality well-fitted wetsuit is essential, alongside a wetsuit vest and hood, gloves and booties.
The 10SUP students would like to thank Aaron for giving up his time to share his expertise and experience. We hope the swell was pumping for you on your trip down to Westport!