Submitted by indo-dreaming on Sun, 12/15/2013 - 15:25
Im starting this topic as a reference point for board builders that are making boards that are not traditional construction, (polyurethane foam and polyester resin)
Please share board makers big or small that are doing alternative builds and your thoughts or experience with there boards.
yeah Mary give us another update soon ,wonder how good that vent is on a hot day....interesting construction though.Only ever seen a bamboo deck one before and it seemed to be going real good especially when the rider scored a sick pit in front of me....
Wish I'd seen this thread before, lots of good info Indo
Currently running 3 boards
- PU with slightly heavier glass 644. Works best around good 6ft
- Firewire FST for everyday 2-5ft unless the surf is lumpy bumpy windblown. Surfed it this morning on open beachbreak. Too light plus my limited ability
- PU 2-5ft with 444 glass. Great board for the lump, and different conditions and days
FST easily the most durable, 644 surprisingly ok, 444 is like fine china. FST has really impressed me so far.
Thank god for classifieds & gumtree for feeding me most of these boards :-)
2 months old now. Board still goes great. A couple of very shallow deck depressions have started to form finally. No depressions on the bottom. I can't see any dings anywhere. The lighter EPS/epoxy boards I've tried in the past do tend to ride too high in the water and skip out but with the carbon layer this one is a bit heavier and it just feels better.
Still like the way PU boards surf a bit more but for the price and being so durable I can't complain.
How much would that carbon layer weigh do you think Mary?
Kind of hard to tell without knowing the specifics of all the other components. IIRC, most CF cloth used in applications like this is ~5 - 6oz.
The board I compared it to was a different volume than I thought it was... so the stealth board actually weighs about as much as a 6+4 / 4 glassed PU board. EPS/epoxy boards are often anywhere from 300-500 grams lighter than equivalent volume PU boards... so I'd guess the carbon fibre layer weighs somewhere in that range.
regarding Cal Liddle and epoxy boards mentioned much earlier in this thread. Cal ceased making custom shaped vacuum bagged epoxy boards around 2006 as, in his words 'you have to make them (the boards) pay'. Yes , they were well constructed and very durable. I had two, I gave one to a younger cousin 10 yrs ago and it still gets surfed and the other gathers dust in the shed, I am too fat for it these days. The foams he used were blue (extruded not expanded) EPS with a deck skin of PVC foam. They were laminated top and bottom in one layup then bagged and vacuumed on a rocker jig. To explode a few myths, extruded EPS does wick when exposed to water but less quickly than expanded EPS(coolite) and to my knowledge he has not shaped in Hawaii but has been there.Cal is pretty underground, I doubt if he has ever sent an email let alone posted on a forum. He is still handshaping at his Yamba factory in his little cave and still gets the odd big baz at Angourie. He has also been known to surf big Yamba bar on his own, paddling across from Lovett's. A crazy guy or just able to access a logical, coherent unity?
underground craftsmen of superb skills and a really nice bloke.
know this sounds like a stretch, but even if you aren’t an auto-racing fan, the sport still manages to touch your life every time you drive a car. Pardon the gearhead-speak for a moment, but useful and often lifesaving advances like disc brakes, radial tires, fast-shifting automatic transmissions, and traction control—among many other bits of automotive gadgetry that you’re using whether you realize it or not—all had their debuts as cutting-edge technologies in the car-racing world years before they found their way into your dinged-up Civic. This trickle-down effect is pretty common in the rest of the sports world, too. Howitzer-powered carbon-fiber tennis rackets, space-age graphite-shaft golf clubs, those springy gel-foam running shoes you love to wear to the coffee shop and the mall—all were designed for the world’s best athletes. That gear made its way into our Amazon carts (and became forgotten in the backs of our closets) long after the tech it was based on was vouched for by the pros.
In surfing, however, that tech flow seems to run upstream.
With the exception of subtle board-design tweaks that would be useless and incomprehensible for most of us, anyway, today’s highest-flying pros are, for the most part, riding boards made with technology that lags far behind what your average Joe can grab off the rack at pretty much any surf shop in the country. Polyurethane foam and fiberglass, still? Really? It’s been 60 years since Dave Sweet first started selling foam boards at Malibu, and the world’s best surfers are still slaves to these things? Do they really think we reached the pinnacle of surfboard construction with the first advancement after wood?
Weirdly, this means that if you’ve ever ridden a carbon-railed, stringer-less epoxy (and I’d assume you have, considering how many of those things I see clogging up my local lineup), then you’ve ridden a board made with materials far more advanced than anything most of the pros on Tour have ever ridden in a heat.
And the advances in surfboards go way beyond fancy stiff rails or weird tail shapes. If our sporting surf stars were a bit more open-minded, they’d learn that some of the most adventurous leaps in surfboard materials these days are being made by the mad eco-warrior scientists tinkering away in their solar-powered, passively heated labs. From epoxy resins made from biowaste to durable, recycled-EPS blanks to strange new foams made from pretty much any organic material you can think of, lots of the most radical advances in surfboard construction are coming from the sustainably minded wing of the board-building industry.
Yet the days when a WSL pro steps onto anything but a board made with the traditional polyurethane/wood-stringer sandwich are rare indeed. Sure, there’ve been a handful of exceptions. Slater’s taken to toying with oddly shaped boards made with exotic epoxies over the past couple years. Michel Bourez, Sally Fitzgibbons, and Taj Burrow all have ridden Firewires in competition. And Stu Kennedy destroyed Fantasy Surfer dreams everywhere when he used his quiver of otherworldly Tomos to punch above his weight class as a wildcard in the first couple ’CT events of the year.
If you’ve ever ridden a carbon-railed, stringer-less epoxy, then you’ve ridden a board made with materials far more advanced than anything most of the pros on Tour have ever ridden
in a heat.
But even the relatively advanced materials ridden by Slater and company were already widely available to civilian surfers years before they found their way under the elite feet of the world’s best. It’s strange when you consider that top pros will often blow through 100 boards in a year; with that kind of turnover, you’d think they’d be more willing to mix in a new bit of kit every once in a while. But the pressure to win, and the predictability of the old polyurethane standby, has proven too big a hurdle for them to really embrace new materials. It’s almost as if us common folk get to decide what works when it comes to advances in surfboard materials, and if the pros want to give it a whirl, they take a cue from us.
Beloved shaper and half-man, half-bear Maurice Cole is just as perplexed as I am by the weird lag between interesting advances in surfboard materials and the archaic equipment elite pros ride. He’s especially interested in the advances in sustainably produced materials. At a panel discussion during the most recent Boardroom surf show in San Diego, Cole suggested to the crowd that the WSL should implement a rule requiring the use of environmentally friendlier boards in their contests. A longtime auto-racing fan, Cole explained that back in 2014, the suits directing Formula One (the world’s most elite car-racing series) decided that all cars would switch to six-cylinder hybrid motors, which are far more fuel efficient than the gas-guzzling eight-cylinder motors they replaced. If Formula One could require a dramatic change in the equipment their pros use—all in the name of being a bit more environmentally friendly—Cole wondered aloud, why not surfing?
It’s worth pointing out that Formula One’s experiment was a huge success. The cars are actually more efficient while producing the same, if not more, power and even higher performance. And whatever secrets automotive engineers unlock powering the world’s most advanced race cars will get plugged right into consumer cars in the next few years.
Cole recently shared with me a letter he wrote to the WSL brass. In the letter, Cole asked why surfing shouldn’t follow Formula One’s lead, and he outlined a multi-year proposal that would phase in sustainable surfboards for all riders. (The WSL responded saying that they’ve been trying to figure out a way to encourage more sustainable directives in all phases of the Tour, including surfboards.) Cole’s hope is that if more pros start riding sustainably made boards, more average Joes will too.
He’s probably right. For those materially conservative surfers who still take their cues from whatever Kolohe Andino is riding, WSL-level endorsement of non-traditional board construction would be a big motivator to give something different a try. And it’s certainly about time. The Shortboard Revolution was 50 years ago, and the next revolution in surfboards is long overdue. Who knows, in another 50 maybe somebody like me will be bitching about riding the same old blanks made from tree fungus.
[This feature originally appeared in “Hidden In Plain Sight,” our October 2016 Issue, on newsstands and available for download now.]
Read more at http://www.surfermag.com/blogs/culture/trickle-up-surfonomics/#K0Hz3hGvB...
Surfing the outside bar at Yamba is amazing especially with no ski. A big hats off to him.
1st pic - how cool is that.
This may be common knowledge nowdays, not sure. But what everyone here seems to miss is that epoxy doesn't have to mean epoxy resin on some weird non-PU foam, carbon rails etc. The solution to all your problems is just replace the old PE resin with good epoxy resin. Will cost you $50-100 extra from the shaper and is no lighter or heavier, epoxy is it less brittle and more flexible than PE resin => dings way less and you get less pressures and is more snap resistant. You can also just repair any dings with PE resin or epoxy, whatever you have (it is the dodgy XPS/EPS foam used in the old 'EPOXY' boards that doesn't like PE resin). I have done 3 boards with PU foam and epoxy resin, they are so much stronger than PE-PU boards.
My latest board has just 4x4x4 and epoxy and has barely any pressures and I have been thrashing it in head-high indo surf for over 3 months. About the only downside apart from the slightly extra cost is that some epoxy resins can slightly yellow pretty quickly, its not extreme, like an old PE-PU board, but the white will fade slightly, not an issue to myself for the sake of not having to see pressures and dings all over my board and the confidence that I'm not going to have to buy a new one so quickly. I have a CI custom PE-PU that has pressures after just one surf and it has 6x4x4 glass!?!!?!?! Quite simply, many big brands do not want to push this simple tech because it degrades the bottom line => too much of an increase in board lifetime for too little increase in revenue. Anyway, I have done it, it works, it is the best thing since sliced bread, for myself at least.
A Currumbin company mentioned in the article. Lemongrass core? No mention of laminates or resins, composites or stiffeners
Thanks for the contributions here everyone , Some good ideas .
I have ridden 3 of these different technologies. I was always on PU boards before and hated the look and feel of epoxy. Lately these new materials have got my interest though and there are so many options. So far I have bough a 5'9 Firewire, 5'9 Joistik Karboload and 5'8 Futureflex. All small wave groveller designs. All the boards are light and so far durable. My favourite by far was the Cab Sav in Karboload Tech (https://www.joistiksurfboards.com/technology/karboload). The Cab sav felt way more alive than the others, super responsive and more manoeuvrable. All of the epoxies were more expensive but all 3 are in great condition, no dings a year later so I guess worth the extra.
"I've ridden Hayden Future Flex but don't like the feel of them. Too light for my liking, hard to engage a rail and any sort of chop bounced the board about. I like the flex but not the weight. So if FF were made heavier I'd consider buying one. As it is I like my PU boards at the moment."
My Hayden Futureflex I find too stiff and sat high in the water. Like top to bottom says any sort of chop bounces it around. I like my FireWire baked potato much better.
PU boards with epoxy resin do not look very white but if you don't mind the yellow tinge I guess it is an option
I'm currently getting my woodies weight down with frame construction using 3 and 4mm ply, epoxy composite glass / 2mm paulownia skin. Will be changing to bamboo material when I run out of glass. Frames designed from http://boardcad.com/, fins ply/glass composite, very light and stiff, routed in house designed with http://www.finfoil.io/ . It's nice to design on the pc, out to the shed, route components, then assemble. Construction is getting quicker and should be economical soon. Frame costs similar to pu blanks, any computer designed board can translate foam core --> wood frame.