Lyster Surf Main

Wooden surfboards, while traditional, are a lot rarer than their polyester counterparts.

Exeter entrepreneur founds bespoke surfboard company

Duncan Lyster, a fourth year physics student at the University of Exeter, has founded his own hand-crafted, wooden surfboard company.

With help from Think Try Do, a University initiative that helps undergraduates make the connections to found their own start-ups, Duncan Lyster has founded Lyster Surfcraft, creating lightweight wooden surfboards that perform as well as their polyurethane equivalents.

“My dad is a cabinet maker, so while that is a bit different from surfboards, his carpentry skills were a great help when making the first board in my first year of University.

“It was a vintage style, and we were learning a lot about surfboard design at the time, but I still surf on it today.”

Wooden surfboards, while traditional, are a lot rarer than their polyester counterparts. Currently, they tend to be heavier, with many wooden surfboard manufacturers designing them for aesthetics over performance.

Emily Davies, who was recently awarded Best Employability Support at the 2018 Teaching Awards, helped Duncan solidify the grant that allowed him to get Lyster Surfcraft off the ground and build connections within the industry.

Duncan said, “Emily was a huge help, as well as the whole Think Try Do team at the University of Exeter.”

“I went in thinking that they just gave out grants for people who were looking to start their own businesses, but I came out with so much more. They gave me connections, business insights and helped me utilise my own skills to make Lyster Surfcraft what I want it to be.”

Duncan aims to create hollow wooden surfboards that eclipse their polyester counterparts in style, grace and sustainability and while the boards currently are being sold on to-order, eventually Duncan would like to increase production to get wooden surfboards into the hands of more surfers in the UK and abroad.

Lyster Surfcraft can be found online at, as well as on Instagram.

Pictures of the construction process can be found below.


Date: 4 May 2018

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