The Beautiful Surfboards of Haleiwa

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The Beautiful Surfboards of Haleiwa

The Haleiwa Surfboard Company is an authentic hollow wooden surfboard producer from the North Shore of Oahu. Each board they build is unique, defining itself in its shape and in the combination of woods used in its production. The different shapes are provided by designs of renowned shaper Dick Brewer, while the woods used are mainly Hawai’ian hardwoods like Koa and other local wood species.

Lon Klein, the company’s owner and dedicated surfer, first came to Hawai’i when he was 14 years old. Born and raised in L.A. he originally only came to the islands to stay a semester, but quickly realized that with surfing being one of the most dramatic and exciting experiences he’d ever had in life, he would have a hard time even going to school, because all he wanted was to surf. Falling in love with the islands’ culture and traditions Lon eventually came to stay and some 20 years ago started building his own hollow wooden surfboards. Now, at age 73 he is more stoked about surfing than ever. His passion about building surfboards not only arises from his passion for the sport, but also from the infinite number of shapes and designs that are possible. “It gets me,” he says smiling.

For Lon each new board presents a new, exciting challenge. The first step in the building process involves making a decision about the basic design. “My main focus,” Lon explains the origins of his surfboards, “was to create a blank that was super-strong, yet light enough to be maneuverable.” After this the right types of woods need to be selected. While in lighter boards light-weight wood species like C. Rosa, Ceiba, and Balsa will be used, exquisite hardwoods like Koa, Mango, and Andiroba also regularly find their way into some of the about ten boards per year Haleiwa Surfboard Co. produces. Due to the uniqueness of the wood and the hand made process of production there are never two boards that are alike. The boards are so beautiful in fact, that although very functional, many of them are sold as exquisite art pieces and will never see any water in their life.

Lon Klein smiles at this notion most people seem to have about his boards. He is convinced about not only their functionality, but also about their beauty. And with the process of building them still being exciting and challenging enough he also doesn’t have any immediate plans of retiring. “I’m not done,” he says, “I feel like I’m only scratching the surface.”

A huge thanks to Yessica Hurtado Martinez for the permission to use the video!

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