The Story of Wedge Surfboards & Maisch Fins

In the words of Peter Maisch


Growing up in Amanzimtoti on the KZN Coast, the sea was always an integral part of our lives. My friends and I started riding waves in the mid 50’s, first on Plywood Surfboards, then Lilo’s which we could surf and paddle on our knees.

In 1962 at 14 years old, I bought a Wooden Hollow Board from Reece Neilson, which he made the year before at 13 years old. Reece and I were good buddies and it was a sad loss when a month or so later, he was attacked by a shark and died from his injuries. Learning to surf on that board, repairing it and looking after it, inspired me to build my first board in 1963, an Eight Foot Polystyrene Single Fin. It wasn’t the masterpiece I hoped for but it surfed o.k. and was less than half the weight of the wooden board. From then on I was hooked on surfing and creating and designing Boards.

By the mid sixties, the surfing craze was going ballistic on a world wide scale

Polyurethane Foam available, Imported Boards coming in from Australia and USA and a host of emerging Board Builders starting up from Durban to Cape Town.

At that time Board Building was almost a Sacred Art, as there were no manuals around to tell you how to do it.

Everybody learnt by ‘trial and error’, imported boards were scrutinized to pick up Design and Manufacturing Tips. Wetteland, Safari and Whitmore were at the forefront of established board building businesses in S.A.

The Boards were more or less standard 9’ to 9’6” Single Fins, with Wide Noses, Square Tails. Bottom Turns and Nose Riding, were the main moves. There were no Leashes so swimming was a big part of surfing.

With the boom in surfing, underground surfing lifestyle industries mushroomed, with mothers, girlfriends sewing up Baggies, Printed T-Shirts and the making of other clothing aligned to surfing, surf music, surf movies, skateboards, beach parties, VW Kombi’s were the vehicle to own, board racks were a necessity, Knobies on your knees or a Wax Rash were things to be proud of and Bleached Hair part of the look.

Overseas Surf Magazines were treated like Gold and studied more intently than school books.

The final years of the Sixties and early Seventies saw the ‘Short Board Revolution’ in full swing. Boards got Shorter, Lighter and more Streamlined, Nose riding took a back seat to ‘Top to Bottom’ Turns, Re-Entries, Floaters, Tube Riding and Cover-Ups became easier with the more responsive boards. Single Fins were still the most popular with a few early Twins, Bonzers and Fish Tail Twins being experimented with.

Throughout this period, I was building four or five boards a month on my parent’s back verandah in my spare time as well as doing many ‘Ding Repairs’. It was a hectic schedule, attending school and later working, surfing most afternoons and all weekend, working on boards and trying to squeeze in ‘girlfriend time’ and parties.

Wedge Surfboards became a ‘Legalized Entity’ in September 1972 when I opened a small 3 roomed workshop in Amazimtoti with the pricey rent of R25,00/month.

 

Wedge Surfboards & Maisch Fins


The longest running surfboard and fin factory in South Africa

100% Handmade Surfboards and Fins

Pioneered by Peter Maisch in 1966, his sons Gary and Justin Maisch continue his legacy today in the sugar cane fields of Umzumbe, South Africa.

 

Contact Us


Gazo +27 (0)83 796 8453

Fax: 0866101344

info@wedgesurfboards.co.za

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