As your guide to authentic Hawaii, we have made it our mission to support local artisans. However, not all of their wares are found in Oahu’s best galleries. Some are functional works of art that connect people to activities on the island, including those that immerse us in the ocean. Given that you’re online and searching “body surfing hand planes for sale”, you already know where we’re heading with this.
While you can find the odd hand plane hidden in the corners of specialty surf shops, they are nothing more than conventional recreational tools. Instead, we’re drawing your attention to the most original, beautiful, and storied creations of their kind – Free Flite Hand Foilz by local legend Mark Shepardson. Below a sneak peek into what makes Sherpardson’s “Made in Hawaii” creations a must-have for wave riders all over the world.
Why Add a Free-Flite Hand Foilz Hand Plane to Your Wave Riding Quiver (and how to buy one)
Shaped by a Legend
The name Shepardson may sound familiar if you’ve been following surf news over the past year. On January 22/2023 Mark’s son Luke Shepardson won what is being dubbed as the best Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational of all time. But before the young Waimea Bay lifeguard was born, his pops was making a name for himself as a shaper in Santa Cruz CA, where one of his original designs can still be found in the Santa Cruz Surfing Museum (see image below). Unlike traditional hand planes, Shepardson’s creations are more aptly known as hand-foils, as they boast a glassed-on fin on the underbelly to allow for greater control while shooting down the line of a breaking wave.
Hand-Shaped on the North Shore of Oahu
After leaving California, Mark Shepardson moved to Sunset Beach on the North Shore of Oahu, bringing his distinguishing designs along for the ride. For the last 30 years he has been shaping boards for his own use, friends, and notable big wave chargers on the island, including Nathan Fletcher and Kohl Christensen. Shepardson is now shaping from the private Country Surfboards studio in Haleiwa, where master craftsman Ed Searfoss can still be found restoring some of the most valuable vintage surfboards on the planet. If you get lucky, you may be able to score an exclusive Free Flite Hand Foilz board with the iconic Country Surfboards label under its fine-layer of glass.
Custom-Made for YOU
Shepardson’s hand foils are custom-made to order. You can browse from a number of his past creations (see photos above and below) to dictate size, shape, handles, fin placement, and color as desired. Unsure of what you want? Even better. Mark will pick your brain to find out where you plan to do most of your body surfing and will tailor the board’s design to match the conditions.
Crafted from Salvaged Surfboards
Wondering is they make mini-surfboard blanks for Mark to use to shape his creations? Nope. Instead, the unrelenting visionary makes this way up and down the Seven Mile Miracle to salvage surfboards that have been snapped by the North Shore’s unforgiving winter waves. Some of them even come from pros who go through boards like we go through plate lunches. Your Shepardson hand foil will not only do-good by the environment, each reborn board has a story behind it.
They Ride Amazing
Free Flite Hand Foils are made in Hawai’i, so they are crafted to hold up in the heaviest of conditions. They place you into the energy of the wave better than any other body surfing hand plane for sale on the mainland. You’ll enjoy longer, faster, and more-controlled rides than you’ve ever experienced.
Functional Works of Art
We conclude this feature by returning full circle to what we stated in the introduction. YAHglobal is big on supporting local artisans, and Mark is as much an artisan as he is a talented shaper. While he insists that his boards should never be treated as wall-hangers, they make for striking conversation pieces when exhibited in your home. Ride ’em, but display them with pride when dry. We’ll let the following photos do the rest of the talking:
Mark ready to test prototypes at Pipe
Stoked to buy your very own Mark Shepardson hand foil? Unless you live on the North Shore, the only way to get one is to make your request right here. Leave a comment below to express interest or ask for more information. We’ll reply right away!
Mahalo for supporting local shapers, artists, and makers!