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50 years at Valla Surfboards

Valla Surfboards turns 50

After half a century of shaping, Sage continues to carry his fathers legacy.

“The Joske’s seem to have salt flowing through their veins. Paul and Jenny started Valla Surfboards as a way to facilitate Paul’s need to surf, and built a career of creating custom boards with a focus on the traditional roots of surfing.”

Mark Tipple

History of Valla Surfboards

When Paul moved away from Melbourne to Nambucca heads in Australia, he knew he loved all things about the ocean. He grew up surfing along the Australian coastline, much to his parents dismay who didn’t want him partaking in surfing.

Paul would get his chance to learn about shaping surfboards under the famous Australian shaper, John Blanch. He would take the time to observe and practice what he saw from John, shaping surfboards and repairing dings.

“I can’t let a board go unless I am happy with it, it doesn’t matter whether they can see the bumps or not; but it matters to me.”

—Paul Joske

When 1970 came around, Paul decided to start up his own surfboard brand, Valla Surfboards. During the 1980’s, Paul would shape primarily shortboards, as that was the popular type of board then. Later in the 1990’s and present, he progressed to shaping longboards.

He currently has two sons, Heath and Sage, whom both surf passionately as well. They both surf on Valla Surfboards, either for fun or for competitive surf. Paul continues to shape surfboards for the enjoyment of improving each surfing experience.

A Brief History of Valla Surfboards

Paul Joske has lived an enduring fascination for the ocean and surf craft. Birthed at 12 years of age, a family sea-change from Melbourne to the sleepy fishing village of Nambucca Heads saw him waking each morning just behind the sand dunes on land his father had leased soon to become a caravan park. Surfing before and after school, and on the weekends became an obsession. Tinkering with coolite foam boards, and then resin and fibreglass soon followed.

After completing his School Certificate at Macksville High School, Paul had had enough, left school and commenced a 9-5 job as a bank teller. This quickly resulted in deep dissatisfaction with Paul leaving the bank and stepping out to pursue work in the surfboard industry with John Blanch at Coffs Harbour and then later with Dale Surfboards in Sydney. Most people including his parents thought this was an unwise decision.

In June of 1970 Valla Surfboards was born in a weatherboard farmhouse perched atop one of the many undulating hills at rural Valla. In later years, Paul utilised his backyard to make surfboards – from 1975 to 1982 at Hyland Park on 40 acres nestled between the beach and river; and then the next twenty – from 1982 to 2002 in a hand-built pole shed come house on 5 acres in the Valla hinterland.

During this time Paul and wife Jenny raised three children, Sage, Violet and Heath who were all keen surfers. Sage and Heath found competitive success on boards crafted by their father.

Paul was an early experimenter with Paulownia wood and was the first to craft a board from the timber. He even went so far as to plant a small plantation of Paulownia on his property and when it matured make a board for himself. Nathan Oldfield documented this process in his beautiful surf film “The Heart and the Sea”.

Around the year 2000 Sage became increasingly interested in surfboard history and design and began learning the craft. After a lot of coaxing he talked Paul into partnering with him and buying land and building a new state of the art surfboard factory in the Nambucca Heads industrial estate. It was 2006 and for the next eight years Sage and Paul made boards together out of their new factory.

By 2010, Paul was becoming increasingly interested in retirement and devoting more time to finishing off a long-standing dream of building and sailing away in his catamaran, a boat he had been tinkering away at for over 30 years. Sage was running the business and finding it hard. Working 6 days a week covered in foam dust and chemical and struggling to make ends meet was taking its toll. In 2012 Sage finally had enough, shut down the factory and jumped on an opportunity to work in the mines and begin the process of repaying debt.

Sage spent the next three years in the mines, then another three years at university studying radiography. Paul kept working on his boat whenever he found time between surfs.

Today, Paul is crafting boards for his personal use and getting very close to finishing his “Wharram” Cat. Sage is working as a radiographer and shaping a handful of custom board orders each year and getting them finished off  by the best craftsmen in the industry.

Valla Surfboards

Valla Surfboards was never created as a business to grow rapidly and earn lots of money; it was a lifestyle vehicle to surf more and craft beautiful boards for friends and family.

Valla Surfboards Clip by Nathan Oldfield

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