Makai Project Handplanes: Bodysurfing, Evolved

One of our favorite products to come out of the Makai Project wood shop are our handplanes. These little wave weapons take bodysurfing to a whole new level, doing as the name suggests—plane across water. They allow the bodysurfer to raise their torso out of the water, reducing drag, streaming the bodyline and letting them surf the wave with their hand. The concept is super simple, and is accessible to everyone, no matter the skill level.

Bodysurfing with a Makai Project Handplane

Over the past few years we have come up with quite a few handplane prototypes, tinkering with design, shape, size, wood vs. foam, color and finish, strapping, channels—you name it, we put it through the swell to find the perfect wave riding machine. What we came up with are three different models: Flying Fish, Fat Fish and Fat Minnow, each made with wood laminated with the highest grade laminating epoxy praised for its strength and water resistance (its impenetrable and marine tested and approved on this –picture of catamaran-), and finished with an industrial-grade three-part polyurethane, a marine industry darling that is super strong, non-yellowing, UV resistant and has a high gloss that not only brings out the wood’s natural beauty, but is super slick and comfortable on the hand. We offer two options for grip: an adjustable polypropylene strap (availailble on the Fat Minnow and Flying Fish models) and a carved grip (available on the Fat Fish only). Below is a short description of each, with links to some of our available stock.

  • If you would like to order up a custom ride, send us an email at and we can discuss what you’re in the market for.

Fat Minnow Handplane - Bodysurfing, Evolved

Fat Minnow | 10” & 12” | Concave

Our most versatile handplane, the Fat Minnow is a stealthy little wave riding machine. A medium-sized board, 12” long by 8” wide, this board is best used when the wave has a little push but is still gives a ride when battling the choppy, sloppy mush when its blownout. The nose to tail concave gives the handplane some grip on the slope while giving it enough control to climb the face. Available with an adjustable polypropylene strap only ($130).

Flying Fish Handplanes - Made in South Florida

Flying Fish | 9” & 12” | Raised Nose – Double Channel

A big wave specialist, the Flying Fish handplane is designed to bite into those clean, steep, quick waves. Coming in at a pint-sized 9” up to 12” long by 8” wide, this handplane has a diminutive footprint, which helps with getting out to the lineup while giving the rider an extra bit of speed and control. An upraised nose helps the board plane through the water, skipping over the slop, while the hydroplane-style channels on the bottom help the board catch in the face of the water, preventing it from slipping down into the flats. Available with an adjustable polypropylene strap only ($130).

Fat Fish Handplane - Bodysurfing Handplane for Small Swell

Fat Fish | 14-17” | Concave

The Fat Fish handplane is a small wave specialist and perfect for the beginner just starting to get their feet wet. The largest of out three models, ranging in length from 14” to 17” long and 9” wide, these have the largest planning of the handplanes in the lineup. Pressed together using multiple wood species in a linear layup, the Fat Fish handplane has a concave running from nose to tail, which helps give the rider a little bite into the wave in the mushier, slower, smaller waves. Equipped with either a carved grip ($60) or our adjustable polypropylene strap ($130), this handplane is a great entry level board or for those days when the surf is not cooperating.

Bone Fish Handplane - Handplanes for Beginners

Bone Fish | 14” | Carved

This is as basic as basic gets for our handplanes. For these little wave-riding weapons, we simply shape down a plank of wood, giving it a slight upraised nose to skip along the surface, and cut in a single or double carved channel to help it grip the face. Made either entirely from one plank of wood or a few laminated sticks, this is a flat bomber where less is more. The rails are simply 50/50, and the grip is a carved special. This is for the beginner wave-rider just looking to get started or the minimalist who makes a statement in the water. Available at just one size (you want the extra planning surface), they start at $40 for single plank, and $50 for the laminated ditty.