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In Pictures: How one B.C. surfboard maker is conquering the world

The eco-friendly wooden boards made by Randy Weflen's Wefi Surfboards will last decades

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Randy Weflen readies a steamed and bent strip of wood for one of his hand-crafted surfboards. Weflen’s Wefi Surfboards, based on Vancouver Island, is attracting worldwide attention as a premier builder of custom-made, eco-friendly wooden surfboards.

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Made of locally grown and harvested western red cedar, Wefi Surfboards are comparable in shape and weight to the more common foam surfboards, but last decades longer if they are well-maintained. They also create an entirely different surfing experience.

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“It’s something you feel that you can’t replicate on any other kind of board,” Weflen said from his workshop in Lantzville, B.C. “It feels more lively. You feel everything in your feet. … It has a lot more energy.”

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Weflen cuts out a body board in his shop on January 10, 2013.

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Three years ago, Wefi Surfboards was producing two or three handcrafted boards per year. Today, it makes five or six every month and receives orders from all over the world, including Australia, South America and the United States.

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“It doesn’t sound like much, but you take one board that takes a month long [to build], stacking them all together, and it’s backing up pretty quick,” Weflen said.

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Wefi is also working with several big-name sponsors and one of Canada’s foremost professional surfers, Raph Bruhwiler, to establish new high-performance shapes.

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Weflen talks with local surfer and filmmaker Adam Dewolf about a performance board made for Raph Bruhwiler in his shop in Lantzville

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“It was a hobby that went a lot further than I ever thought it would. I never had the intention to take it this far, but it’s rolling,” Weflen said.

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Randy Weflen does a final wipe-down of a finished hollow wood surfboard. Weflen is currently filling orders for customers in Florida, Panama, Dubai and Australia.

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Weflen carries one of his finished surfboards, this one headed for Florida.

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