Meet James Wood, Aloha Surfboards shaper and CBD Aloha Ambassador
James Wood is a man with many talents. Coach, shaper, surfer, family man, podcast host, and Le-Ba Boardriders president are roles part of his day-to-day life. He juggles his commitments at a frenetic pace and with unshakable positivity. Constantly learning from his peers, he lights up when he gets talking about sport, surboards or a new health hack that might bring a slight edge to his overall act.
The Lennox Head 2004 Junior World Surfing Champion is one of the gun shapers at Aloha Surfboards. His boards have been developed through his R&D along with former CT competitor and friend Stu Kennedy playing test pilot at home and as a Wildcard on the World Championship Tour.
CBD Aloha recently spoke to Woody about his exclusive partnership with the brand and how the products have helped him achieve his high-wire balancing act.
You had a stellar junior career and competed on the QS for several years. Can you tell me how you got into shaping surfboards?
When I was towards the end of competing, I was working for Emery Surfboards and running his shaping machine mostly at night so I could still surf and train. Once I stopped competing around 2013 I did that full-time and then got my hands on some shapes, started shaping, and got really stuck into. Initially, it was just a lot of finishing shaping with all the pre-shapes with Emery and a few other guys plus a few of my own. Now I'm at a stage where I'm just mostly just doing my stuff and a day and a half of some shadow shaping with some other guys.
You also transitioned into a coach as well -- what’s your typical day look like?
Yeah, I also do coaching as well. I coach kids every morning before school 6:00 to 8:00 o'clock every morning through the week -- different age groups, different skill levels so that's Monday to Friday. I'm usually up around 4:30 or 5:00 am to go do the coaching and then after that I'll usually drop my grom to school and go shape.
How do you find the time to bounce between everything and still surf? I’m aware that you have The Ball And All podcast that you co-host as well.
I run at a very fast pace I guess. I just try and shove everything in. I'm pretty fortunate with a lot of the shaping now it's all my stuff so I can do it in my own time -- I don't have to be anywhere at a certain time. But I generally try and shape 20 hours between that 9:00 - 4:00 pm window -- that's when my little boy Rex is at daycare. I might try and sneak a surf in when I drop Rex off and then go shape for the arvo. The podcast a lot of the time is at seven at night so it’s pretty easy.
What are your first memories of Aloha Surfboards? It must be pretty special being a part of such a heritage brand.
My Mum and Dad grew up in Sydney and would always be at Manly or Curl Curl in summer. Aloha was the board my Dad rode it was the board my uncle rode and it was the first poster I had on the wall. So, I can remember Aloha being this big popular brand and the first videos I watched were Animal Kingdom and the Rip Curl Search videos with Powelly, Davo, Hedgy, Dooma and Frankie Oberholzer, and those guys all rode Aloha. It was an iconic logo and in the 90s they were the biggest company in the world for boards -- they had the biggest and best team. It’s just great to be a part of an established brand where you can put a couple of your shapes with all their great shapes and try to get better as they grow the brand a bit more again.
Aside from being a shaper for Aloha Surfboards, you’re also an ambassador for CBD Aloha. How long have you been using their products and how is CBD a part of your daily routine?
I've been taking it for two years. I mostly have it at night and take it for sleep and recovery. I find it really good for sleep and getting into a deep sleep so you wake up feeling really good. The CBD Aloha is really good quality. I've tried other brands and I can really notice the difference. I would recommend it to anyone looking for that edge when it comes to their health.
You’re a really active person -- are you always on the lookout to try and find a little health hack to get that edge and improve yourself?
Yeah, probably the last couple of years since I’ve had my kids. My Stepdad passed away too from a heart attack through probably not being on point with his health. That's kind of motivated me just to be a bit more aware of what can happen down the track if you just hang on to bad habits.
Finally, as an up-and-coming shaper seeing surfers ride everything from twin fins, mid-lengths and high-performance shortboards these days is there a niche you’re looking to carve out?
I just want to go into that performance side -- make a good step down shorty, a good shorty, a real performance fish, and a good high-performance twinny -- that's where my passion is and where I want to take my shaping.
// ALEX WORKMAN