Passion Projects: Whiskey & Wooden Surfboards

Whiskey & Wooden Surfboards: Finely Crafted Projects

Smooth is a key word when referring to whiskey as well as surfing.  A board must be smooth and all movements leading up to riding the wave should be as well.  One does not often associate whiskey and waves, but Glenmorangie and Grain Surfboards have done just that to create a beautiful board.  

Photo courtesy of shop-eat-surf.

Both making whisky and crafting surfboards require passion, considerable time and dedication to achieve the desired quality.  Glenmorangie has long been known for their expertise in wood and uses ex-bourbon casks to age their whisky.  These oak casks are only ever used twice to add complex layers of flavors and colors.  In a project designed to bring new life to these barrels, “Beyond the Cask” is wonderful collaboration.


Mike Lavecchia, Founder and Co-owner of Grains says “Time is my ally” when discussing these boards, more than a year in the making.  There are unique challenges to using oak barrel staves.  Each stave is curved differently, is thinner or thicker at different parts and beveled to match the radius of the barrel.  The weight is another issue to resolve.  By creating veneers and gluing the oak to cedar they were able to make the weight much more manageable and still display the beauty of the oak.

Glenmorangie in Scots Gaelic means “valley of tranquility” which any surfer who has calmly enjoyed the water while waiting for a wave can relate to.  There is no hurry, one cannot rush the waves, just as one cannot rush the aging process.  “It is not a case of waiting.  It is a case of letting the whisky work with the wood.”

Surprisingly this was not Glenmorangie’s first such project.  The Cask Reimagined was another creative collaboration to put good use to the fine wood from their barrels.  Renovo hardwood bicycles shared their passion for craftsmanship and innovation to create a hollow framed wooden bike.  Oak aids in creating great shock absorption and responds very well.  In today’s world of single use waste issues, it is so refreshing to see a company responsibly and creatively reusing their supplies.

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