When Greg Wallace’s son was three months old he did what any keen surfer and surfboard building dad would do – he built him a nine foot Malibu! Greg is a man who believes in being well and truly ready for the next wave.
For the last two years Greg has worked out of a small but well optimised workspace within the repurposed Myer centre in Fremantle, which now goes by the name of MANY. On the ground floor this is a shared retail space, and on the first floor it’s home to several makers and artists.
Greg started building boards around eight years ago and loved it so much he decided the only way he could keep doing it was to share it by teaching others to make them.
Bodhi Tree boards are built as ‘functional artpieces’ from locally grown pawlownia trees that Greg cuts down and mills himself. The frames are laser-cut to his designs, and people who make their own boards in Greg’s workshops do tend to add a lot of personal touches.
‘An off-the-shelf mass produced foam core board generally only has a two year lifespan’, said Greg. ‘Once that’s over, it can take hundreds to thousands of years for a board to degrade.’ Made from a biodegradable wood, Bodhi Tree boards are however built with longevity in mind, to last and be handed down.
Classes at Bodhi Tree are ‘rolling’ and there’s never more than four builders in the workshop at a time. ‘Everyone starts as an individual’, says Greg, meaning different skill levels and interests are possible. It takes around six days to build a board for a cost of around $1250 which includes all materials, equipment usage and tuition. ‘Build a board you’d be stoked to show your mates and proud to show your family’, is the company catch-cry.
Greg’s son is seven now and doesn’t surf yet, but it was building his infant son’s board, ‘the passion and the pride of it’, that got Greg into the business of it. In fact his son is also building a board now, so it’s only a matter of time…