Waves of creativity | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Waves of creativity

Dylan Silver

Jacob Ells, 26, searches for the right blank in a Santa Cruz surf shop. The piece of foam will be planed, ground, sanded and fiberglassed into a surfboard. Blanks cost $80-$100 and cannot be found in South Lake Tahoe.

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – For surfers, the wind-whipped whitecaps of Lake Tahoe just won’t do. While crowds of Bay Area residents flock to the lake’s wave-less shores, surfers in this area head in the opposite direction, towards the coast.

“It can be frustrating,” said Jacob Ells, a South Lake Tahoe surfer and resident. “Luckily, I’m easily distracted in Tahoe. I get out when I can.”

Ells, a fiber optics engineer at Round Hill’s OptiComp, spends his days hiking, sailing and biking to keep his mind off the summer swells. He also shapes surfboards in a hollowed-out trailer behind his house.

“For me, I like the creative process, imagining it and thinking it out then being able to create it,” he said of shaping. “And I like surfing (the boards), the functionality of them. It’s functional art.”

Ells has made 30 or so boards of varying shapes, sizes and colors, all under the name Jive Surfboards. When he can get a day or two off work and sometimes when he can’t, the 26-year-old can be found bobbing around in the Pacific ocean, testing them out.