Akila Aipa was content to quietly create beautiful, custom boards in the Waialua Sugar Mill, without much fanfare or hype. But when you are a master craftsman (and an excellent surfer with an undeniable pedigree, to boot), people will eventually begin to take notice.
A few years back, Kelly Slater (which is from the same generation of pro surfers as Akila) asked Akila if he would like to collaborate on a quiver of boards, to see if they couldn’t dial in something special.
Akila ended up shaping seven boards for Slater—a handful of thrusters
between 5'7" and 5'9", and a 5'5" twin-fin. Slater ended up surfing the boards in a number of events, and putting together amazing performances at Keramas and the Surf Ranch—and just like that, Akila’s name was on the map.
From there, things started happening quickly. Demand for Akila’s boards skyrocketed, and suddenly he couldn’t keep up with demand from his small shaping bay in Waialua.
He started looking for a larger area to produce boards, and at the same time began dialing in a twin-fin board to add to Slater Design’s quiver of models, produced by Firewire.