Hand sanding's hard work alright, still hand sanding all our boards so that the sanding is all fore and aft.
We started out using balsa in 1995 and used it exclusively until 2000, then started using Redwood and Cedar. These days we are using Paulownia (Empress wood) which is an amazing surfboard wood, it's nearly as light as balsa but much harder and stronger (it has the highest strength to weight ratio of any timber in the world) it is also extremely durable and as if that's not enough it's also easy to work and can take a fine finish. A chambered Paulownia bord is slightly lighter than a solid balsa.
Looking forward to trying out a new fin setup tomorrow.
Are you longboarding or shortboarding ?
Will post some video if we get any decent rides, it's just a windswell though, and the banks don't look too flash