Balsa Wood Surfboards

the search for manguante balsa

I'd heard of the Manguante Balsa, a special type. It grows only in a certain area in Latin America where the rainforest meets the sea. It should only be cut at a certain time of the lunar cycle, according to native lore.
When we arrived at our destination, led by our trusty guide, Fito, it was two weeks until the "manguante season." Fortunately for us, nearby was a crescent shaped bay with a beautiful lush palm lined beach with perfect waves.
We whiled the time surfing, exploring the rainforest and marking balsa trees for harvest. We'd surf all day, Fito would fish all night. When we came in from our early morning session, Fito would have breakfast ready. Fish or lobster, scrambled eggs and rice and beans.
Fito had grown up in the rainforest and knew where to find the perfect wood for our needs.
We took only enough balsa for my next quiver, being careful not to damage the fragile rainforest ecosystem.
After I've picked out some choice balsa, paying special attention to weight color, grain and overall quality--it's into the shaping room to carve out another board
Manguante Bay Photos

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