The carpenter of waves

Lifestyle

We dive with Ol’Tom into the world of surfers and whales,
an Italian architect who designs and manufactures handcrafted surfboards in Tenerife.

The sea is magical. So much so that it combines a famous orca from Australia with an architect from Italy,
surfing in Chile and a small village on Tenerife. And all this in less than a century.
The one who performs this temporal and spatial miracle is called Tom.

Tom, Old Tom, was a legendary whale who, according to estimates, lived in New South Wales between 1895 and 1930. Despite his own existence as a whale, he cooperated with local fishermen in whaling…a curiosity! He became so famous that even a song was composed in his honor. His wild closeness left traces without a doubt. Tom, Tommaso Bellé, was born far from this story in a village near Turin in 1983. His head created various designs from an early age and when the moment came to decide his future,

he chose to study architecture in Milan.
At the same time another passion grew in the child, later adolescent and finally adult: the whales. As soon as he finished his studies, he worked as an interior designer and carpenter and designed and built furniture and installations from wood and iron. Not only was his mind constantly busy, but his entire body was constantly moving and he moved on to Barcelona, where he lived for six years.

Until fate led him to Chile. Tom, who unlike many other children never owned a board (skateboard, bodyboard,…) in his early years, had an experience at the age of 30 that changed everything. A friend invited him to try surfing and a wave of the Pacific did the rest. Sport made its way into his life, never to leave it again, and it became his philosophy. Soon Tom felt the desire to design his own boards; a romantic idea that took many hours on the Internet, books and research until it became reality. Just as the sea lacks borders, so are his dreams free. His inspiration came from the United States and took shape in the form of his first design in cedar wood. His passions for surfing and design flowed together. Tom began to understand that this hobby could become his profession.

Another turn in his life took him to Tenerife in 2016, together with his Canarian-Chilean partner and his two children. In the south of the island, they found the perfect place to settle with their family, where the sea was within a short distance and an international and open atmosphere awaited them for their favorite sport. Another aspect of great relevance: Tenerife inspires Tom. To climb a volcano like the Teide, to feel like in another world or to share the water with dolphins and whales have shaped him. All the prerequisites for setting up a handicraft business for surfing were therefore in place. And for skating, because when there are no waves, skating is the perfect alternative for Tom.

Tom, Old Tom, was a legendary whale who, according to estimates, lived in New South Wales between 1895 and 1930.

Ol-tom artesanal wooden surfboard in Tenerife

Tom, Ol’Tom Wooden Surf & Longboards was born. If you pay close attention to the name, you will notice a direct homage to our mythical Orca from Australia. In fact, his professional logo adorns the fin of a male orca. After working for the project in various locations, he found the ideal location in the small town of

Tejina de Isora in the municipality of Guía de Isora; a rural area with saltpetre and the tides I told you are just minutes away. A spacious workshop provided ample space for Tom’s ideas, who combined his profession as a carpenter with that of a shaper (the person who shapes the boards) to make each of the unique pieces shine as an artisan.

A true perfectionist,
he wants his customers to enjoy unique experiences

thanks to his softer boards, which are not intended for aggressive surfing or competition.
He uses natural materials with wood from Tenerife and other places;
he tries to recycle by doing them without glass fibre and if he uses resin, it is ecological.

At the heart of his creations are polyurethane, EPS, polystyrene
With these combinations, the results will last the rest of your life. Or at least almost.
Which in itself is a further concession to the environment, as the product does not have to be constantly changed.

There is an idyllic motivation behind the great effort, not only to realize the concept itself, but also to survive in a merciless economy.
Quality, personalization and direct contact are the advantages that serve him in defense.

Accordingly Tom follows a very organized daily program, which starts in the early hours to use the morning energy. This is practically how the rest of his day works out, while he always tries to spend some time surfing in the evening at sunset.

What if you like one of his works?

The process begins, in a nutshell, with conversations to determine what exactly you want. Tom then creates a first 3D draft on his computer, which requires some mathematical calculations. Afterwards follows the selection of specific types of wood, which are then cut with the saw; then the brushing and at another table further the parts glued together to form the board. At the same time, the interior is manufactured in the so-called shaping room. The customer is of course the first to try out the board, but this is preceded by an adjustment by the designer, who calibrates it at his own discretion (aspects such as geometry and volume play a role).

If you want to make Tom especially happy, order a longboard from him. This is his favorite, currently mainly in retro style with 7 feet length (2.13 m).
While we are at it, you are probably wondering what such a board costs. Here are some examples to give you an idea: A longboard with 9 feet length (2,74 m) is worth between 1.000€ and 1.200€ and a shortboard varies between 500€ and 600€.
When it comes to the medium price segment for skateboards, we are talking about 260€ to 280€.

WHERE FIND OL-TOM:

Instagram
Facebook

Phone:
(+34) 603 515 812

A story that began in the sea and with whales cannot end without them.

Tom dedicates his creations to them. You can follow your adrenaline rush on an Omura (the name of a whale) or glide on a Hope (a dolphin).
There is also the special 56 Hertz, the frequency at which a single whale communicates…without finding someone else to answer.

But you will not move on in solitude. Tom, Tommaso, finish your dreams.

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