An Ode to the Original Handplanes and Handboards

April 14, 2013 2 min read

Slyde Handboards ode to the original handplane

When you think about it, surfing is an expensive sport—unless of course, you shape your own boards (and even then, it can be pricey). Dedicated surfers are constantly relinquishing their boards to the powerful waves that, at one wrong turn, can snap your board like a twig (and even one of your limbs). Geico covered or not, as a sport, surfing can weigh heavy on the wallet at times.

So you spent the last of your meager earnings on medical insurance or a beer for that cheap date at the drive in. Either way, "Jim" down at the surf shop won't even lend you a board to go practice your gnarly cutback...what to do?  Fear not my good friend, for we have a solution to your wave riding conundrum or, lack thereof.  Let us introduce the original handboard/handplane!  These are for those beach bums looking for a cheap thrill.  

What are the original handboards / handplanes?  We heard you ask.  They are nothing specific.  In particular and for the most part, they are found objects from either around the house, stolen from some corporation, or something you hauled out of the trash after your last dumpster dive session.

They are:

  • Fast food trays
  • Cookie sheets
  • Clip boards.
  • Pieces of old skateboard
  • Frisbees
  • Flip Flops

You name it.  If it's random, flat and compact, or an object a surfer can hold in one hand to get that extra edge on a wave, then you can ride it on a wave. Don't believe us?  If you want to see this in action, Sandy Beach in Oahu, Hawaii is a great place to watch locals using McDonald’s trays to ride this insanely powerful shore break.

Original handplanes food traysIt is free entertainment while you bathe in the beautiful Hawaiian sun.  So instead of the cheap date to the drive-in, take him or her to watch some locals getting crunched on in the sand. If by sunset the beach is riddled with miscellaneous tray carcasses, then it’s a sure sign of a good time; a sign that enthusiastic groms were chasing the thrill of a perfect drop-in before being spat back out and thrown onto the beach and into the observing crowd. 

It is because of these water enthusiasts that handboards/handplanesas they are today were even invented, and to them we owe everything. Without them, we wouldn’t have been able to come up with the perfect shape, weight and design of Slyde Handboards. Just like any other sporting equipment, handboards have come a long way. From plastic trays and wooden clipboards to our modern water gliding tools, handboards have evolved in quite a unique way. Who knows, maybe before plastic trays, ancient humans were using dismembered shark fins or re-fashioned war weaponry to catch waves back in the day.



Check out these guys in Mexico and Hawaii having fun on With their low cost bodysurfing options with McDonald's trays

 Written by Nohalani Roche

steve watts
steve watts

Growing up in South Africa, Steve spent his youth dreaming of far off places. After spending eight years extensively traveling to many of the great surf destinations of the world getting dengue fever, having a near death experience from a falling coconut in mexico, Surviving a 15 foot drop on a handboard on a Nias bomb, jumping from every rock he could find without adequate health insurance. and comprehensively debunking the myth there are no waves in Thailand, even if they are small. He decided it was time for a a degree. Steve Graduated from Central Saint Martins School of Art and Design in London with a degree in product design. He missed his graduation to go surfing in Californian, found a kindred spirit with Venice and never left