Strange Love Craft: My Massive Handplane Quiver

by brian lam

I like body surfing with a handplane. I guess a few other people do, too, since Keith Malloy is making a movie about it. Here’s my quiver. I don’t know how I ended up with so many, but I get them and give them to friends and somehow this is what I ended up with.

The ones with circular pads are from Gary at Brownfish. The long green one is a custom model for summer mush. It could use a little more knifey-ness on the rails. The purple tube rider I haven’t gotten a chance to use, except that one time when I used it on my other hand for some double hand plane action. The blue one is a great all rounder, and its the one I keep in my truck, along with an Enjoy.

The plain wood ones with hole handles are by Danny Hess. The holes cause a great deal of spray and drag but since they’re designed for heavier waves, drag isn’t an issue. They also don’t have straps to break and the things are really durable. I had a redwood spear but I gave it to Mark before he went off to travel around the world. I tend to associate the Hess handplanes less with fun and more with fear since it’s usually a head and a half high day before I use em.

The green broad one is an unfinished model I hope to get done soon, mounted with a pirate flag on a spring. I have to figure out how to keep my eye from getting poked out when waves close out on me, though. I started it with a block of paulonia from my pal Cyrus Sutton at

The two striped wood handplanes are models by Mark at Merchant’s Row in Maine. These things are almost as tough as the Hess planes and use recycled bicycle tubes as straps. Once, climbing out of a pumice cliff in the Caribbean, away from a point wave I decided was too dangerous to bodysurf, I used the wooden plane to climb up with saving me from cutting up my hands.

The glassed models are from Enjoy Handplane, made for me by Ed and Kipp. I had a red one, the first handplane I ever owned, but I gave it to Ed from Quality Peoples when I left Punta Mita and Casa Rincon a few weeks ago. The green one is Robert’s–I repaired it for him after Stefan crushed it behind the Hilux pickup truck’s seat. The blue and pink one is really special. It’s set up as a tri-fin model, with extra glass and rocker. And it really works. Instead of using the rail to hold a face, the fins just track perfectly. I would say a twin would work just as well as a triple, though. (Some of my Enjoy Handplanes also have GoPro camera mounts.) I also have lime green epoxy model that is really strong (although still not as strong as the wooden planes) but I had the guys put a boat hull shape on the nose, so it doesn’t pearl that easily. Unfortunately, this particular one I have is also a bit slower than the others. (These things are like all concaved and flat so they pearl a little bit easier than the other planes. But they are the fastest around.)

They’ve got a new mini simmons model I would love to check out!

I hope to check out some Almond handplanes soon. They seem simple enough in design but they’re awfully affordable. Or, they would be if I still had a job. Maybe I should sell some handplanes!

*Hess, Enjoy, Brownfish, Merchant’s Row, Almond*

P.S. Here’s the trailer to Keith’s new Bodysurfing video.The guy with the red fins is the greatest body surfer in the universe, Mark Cunningham



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