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About Balsawood

Balsawood - Ochroma pyramidale

The word ‘balsa’ is Spanish, It means ‘raft’, and it refers to its excellent flotation qualities. Although one of the lightest woods in the world, balsa is technically a ‘hardwood’ since the trees belong to the angiosperm (a plant of a large group that comprises those that have flowers and produce seeds enclosed within a carpel), not gymnosperm, group. Balsa wood has an air-dry density of only 80 Kg/m3 up to a max of 150kg/m3 (Riley's balsa) whereas oak is 700 Kg/m3 and Paulownia is 300kg/m3(way too heavy for surfboards).

Balsa has been used since the 1950s, proving its place in the water. Take to all the old shapers; they love building boards from balsa and the feel in the water.

Because it is low-density but high in strength, balsa is a very popular material for light, stiff structures in model bridge tests, model buildings, and for the construction of model aircraft; all grades are usable for airworthy control line and radio-controlled aircraft varieties of the modelling sports, with the lightest "contest grades" especially valuable for free flight model aircraft. However, it also is valued as a component of full-sized light wooden airplanes, most notably World War II de Havilland Mosquito.

Riley uses only light balsa in large section sizes for his surfboards and any other application that balsa is suited to.

They custom cut and laminate to suit all customer's needs and can deliver to all corners of the globe.

For all your special requirements email

 In comparison to paulownia wood, poplar or bamboo, balsa has a significantly smaller environmental impact due to its low density. Taking into account water usage, CO2 footprint and embodied energy, balsa wood has approximately 40% lower environmental impact than paulownia.

Balsa wood is quick-growing and easy to grow without fertilizers or other added resources, so, like bamboo, it can be grown sustainably. It’s a weed tree where it’s native, self-sowing in sometimes inconvenient spots, and it’s not long-lived, either, so it even wants harvesting. Therefore, it can be plantation-grown and harvested and grown again without negative environmental impact.

For every balsawood board made 5 new balsa trees are planted on ex sugar cane land.

 Balsa wood is used for many different applications. Riley sells different forms of balsa to different industries. Anything is possible because of the large and light section sizes of balsa we have in stock. At any one time, we will have 1000 sticks of 170mmx75mmx3000mm to choose from for the right application.

Once you have used balsa and realised how consistent it is and the ease of cutting, bending, and gluing you will never look or touch another wood. Give it a try!

– Surfboard building – solid, foam core and hollow boards


-Nose and Tail blocks

-University Car racing teams - UH formula race car “UH FSAE” (FSAE is Formula Society of Automotive Engineers)

 -RMIT Racing team car chassis
- Boat building
- Deck building
- Model building – airplanes, yachts, ships, sports cards, trucks, houses, buildings, Bridges
- Rifle handle butts
- Sewing boards
- Mould making
- Wind Turbines
- Floors for trucks and sports cars
- Carving for schools
- Model and Hobby Shops
- Rafts Insulation
- World war air fighters jets
- Fishing floats and lures
- Table tennis bats
- End Grain
- Swing tags
- Wedding cards
- Picture Framing
- Chewing toys for birds
- Dart Boards
- Sound insulation for music rooms
- Sanding blocks
- Dowels for fish line reels
- fins
- trophies
- Alaia Blanks
- Clocks                                                                                                                  - Artists panels for painting                                                                                     - Burning balsa to create a charcoal is great for growing orchids and many other exotic plants                                                                                                           - Set building for movies, adverts, commercials for break up of furniture, walls, floors, roofs

-Bee Hives

- Kitchens and kitchen doors

-Instrument cases

- 4x4 car and caravan building

- Co 2 car racing


-FXS breakaway prop building furniture

-Kite boards

- Skim boards

- Hollow doors

Set Builders

Break aways

SFX productions

 Balsawood Boards in the water - Acceleration, Velocity and Momentum are directly proportional to the Mass, add the chambering and replacing the density of the wood with air, and then there's a flotation force added on the inside of the structure! The wood won't undulate or vibrate, like a foam core, there's a direct transfer of energy,  that won't absorb as foam does, hence the inertia, which is a centripetal force rather than a centrifugal force! Balsa is the ultimate surfboard material! It's like a hollow body guitar versus a solid body guitar that needs electrical amplification or compare a chickadee to an Eagle! By Jimbo Yarborough