Home Chennai Head to Auroville to get your own surfboard

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Nico Erni from Indi will help you customise your own lightweight, eco-friendly surfboard

What do candy sticks, bananas and egg yolks have in common? No, they are not a hangover cure, but different varieties of surfboards that Nico Erni, 34, designs. Currently living in Auroville, the Swiss native has designed seven boards for expats, under the brand Indi. “We’ve tested them and they work great. Usually people say it takes about 20 boards before a good one comes out, but I’m proud to say that all the boards are good and we have received great feedback,” he says.

Mind your weight
According to Erni, his boards are made from expanded polystyrene (EPS)  instead of polyurethane and are customised to suit the level of expertise, weight and size of a particular surfer. The length of a board can go up to 8 inches. “Until now I have just been having fun designing different shapes. My art work is freestyle. I’m trying out different art techniques on the surfboards. You can paint it after the board is made or mix it with the resin,” he says, adding, “We also take the volume (in litres) into consideration when we design a board. Volume is very important. It’s what makes you float at the right ratio according to your weight and surfing ability.” EPS makes the boards lighter, long lasting, easier to work with and environment friendly.

After hours
Erni, who started his surfboard manufacturing company in January, shares  how his life revolves around the sport. “When I was 15, a friend named Patrick Duboos just handed me a board and asked me to go surfing. Now, when I am not making boards, I give surf lessons in Kallialay Surf School, research FRP materials (fibre-reinforced material, which is also a component used for making surfboards) and learn more about shaping,” says the man who has other hidden talents.  He also plays the drums for a band called Medicis and has completed an apprenticeship in sound engineering in Auroville with musician Didier Weiss. But Pondicherry, he admits, is what keeps him going as “it is by the ocean. And it’s multi cultural.’’

Starting price for boards is `20,000 and takes a month to be made. You can follow him on Facebook under INDI Surfboards. Order boards at indishapingbay@gmail.com

-Mrinalini Sundar

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