Kook Box Joins Museum Collection

Board collector Brian Wenzel brought an interesting piece to the museum to add to our collection- an 8ft blue kook box. The term kook box was slang for early surfboards made of frame and plywood with a hollow core. The legendary Tom Blake first invented and patented the hollow surfboard/paddleboard design in 1930 which was a major advance over the solid wood Hawaiian planks that often weighed 75 to 100 pounds. The hollow Blake boards in comparison weighed around 30-50 pounds which made them much easier to carry and easier to surf.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tom Blake on his hollow paddleboard-1930s

Blake paddleboards were usually around 13ft long and were built commercially, or by homebuilders using plans that could be found in Popular Mechanics and other magazines. This example, which is only 8ft long, was found at an estate sale in the Tampa Bay area and was probably the original owner’s personal design. It is built of plywood and covered in fiberglass and blue resin. It was probably built sometime after World War Two since fiberglass was a wartime invention. It’s heavy too- about 35 pounds- and has what appears to be a leash loop on the tail. Getting dragged behind this board tied to a piece of rope must have been an interesting experience! Mahalo to Brian for his generous donation.

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