Flex and strength: Geoblanks about to hit the market

Stu Nettle
Design Outline

img_4193_0.jpgFor over fifty years centre stringers have been the construction standard in surfboards. A foam blank is cut in two then each half glued is to a wooden stringer in a process that is as simple as it is rudimentary.

In more recent times board makers have been experimenting with different ways to provide structural integrity. Parabolic stringers, internal rods, even diagonal stringers have been used to create strength and change the flex patterns of a surfboard.

The latest innovation to hit the market is Geoblanks. Geoblanks are the brainchild of freesurfer-cum-inventor, Guy Walker, and they're an entirely new way to construct a surfboard and improve its performance.

Inspired by the design functionality of the geodesic dome, hexagonal foam cores of varying density are fused together to alter strength and flex patterns. Swellnet recently spoke to Walker about the world's first modulated foam blank. 

Swellnet: How long have you been working on the idea? 
Guy Walker: The first prototype was built in my garage in Cabarita about 18 months ago. Once that was done, I started proceeding with the patent.

Was the initial idea to increase strength or was it to modulate board flex?
Initially it started as a strength concept and quickly married both strength and flex outcomes when I applied the variable density principle to our modular construction. The two go hand in hand. The geodesic dome was the starting point. I was looking at alternate housing to build an eco homestay when the lightbulb flashed. The modern geodesic design concept can be credited to Buckmeister Fuller. It creates the largest single span you can construct.

Are Geoblanks much stronger than regular centre stringer/parabolic stringer boards?
It's hard to say the cores are stronger. Mother Nature is going to win in the end no matter what. I can guarantee a larger range of flexure over a similar density core, however laminating plays a major part in the structural integrity of any surfboard. The Geoblanks do have the ability to spread the load through the network of stringers that are created due to the modular construction and this design principle is inherently stronger.

What are the stringers made of?
They're made up of what we call our fusion foam, it's patented and I am unable to tell you.

And how are the cores fastened together?
I can tell you its a fusion process and that's all.

OK, the idea is a big departure from the centre stringer/parabolic stringer idea, how has it been convincing people? 
Most people seem to understand the concept pretty easily. There will always be sceptics. I look at the big picture and for me, using the same core for over fifty years is the unbelievable part of our culture's design history. I dont seem to have to sell the concept to many people, it sells itself. The performance of the product is what is most important.

img_2143_0.jpgThe functionality is one thing, yet it's also an elegant design. Do you consider the looks or aesthetics of Geoblank boards?
Yes. One of the important things about the Geoblank concept is its aesthetic.Good design and aesthetics are an integral part of any product's success. Over and above the core's performance, I wanted to ensure that the visual appeal of the product was reflective. Covering up your mess with a skin here and some paint there is not really what we wanted. The design and performance had to marry seamlessly and we are at that point now. Flex patterns are easily identified by the colour of our fusion foam and the cores can be laminated without the need for any cover ups, so to speak. 

       Adam Bennets on a Geoblanks V1 core for DMS
       (pic: Simon Dobb)

I imagine the production is more complex than blowing regular blanks, has that been a hurdle in getting them to market?
The construction method has evolved a lot since the first blank. We utilise a fusion process now which is different to any other method being utilised at the moment. The yield is pretty good, and despite its complexity the construction method is now pretty straightforward and can be executed without the need for skilled labour. An idea or concept, and building that idea are two different things. Production requires ease of process and a seconds rate that is next to non-existent to be financially stable.

Do you have financial backers helping you get Geoblanks off the ground? 
Geoblank R&D to this stage has all been self-funded. I figure the best way to develop a product is from the ground up with a personal dollar commitment. I have benefited from having a very understanding wife and kids who have dealt with some tight times along the journey. Any development process takes funding - lots going out, nothing coming in. We have an investor now to get things rolling along for production and provision for more capital if required.

How far from market are they?
We currently have prototype cores with some of the world's best surfboard builders. We dont have the capacity to do public sales of our blanks, nor do we wish too. The product will be made exclusive to a limited number of shapers around the world and we plan to develop long term, positive relationships with particular manufacturers. Our official launch is happening within the next couple of months, the exact date is yet to be confirmed. We will be letting everyone know who, when, and where they can order a Geoblank core real soon.

Check the short Geoblanks video.

Comments

indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming commented Wednesday, 2 Apr 2014 at 9:05pm

Nice they look pretty cool too, but im guessing its still polyurethane foam rather than polystyrene foam?

Ada gula, ada semut!

indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming commented Tuesday, 8 Apr 2014 at 6:27pm

Okay i watched the vid its EPS (Expanded polystyrene foam) so it gets the thumbs up from me good for epoxy construction its a step forward not just a step sideways.

Ada gula, ada semut!

the-roller's picture
the-roller's picture
the-roller commented Thursday, 3 Apr 2014 at 3:55am

Ground breaking technological idea. Good on Guy Walker. Stoked.

bornagainst's picture
bornagainst's picture
bornagainst commented Thursday, 3 Apr 2014 at 8:03am

I don't understand the need for secrecy about the stringer. Although the patent hasn't yet been granted (it's currently under examination), the patent application was published in the Australian Official Journal of Patents in February this year, so all the information is already in the public domain. The application no. is 2013204603; title "A Structural Blank".

You can read all about it here: http://pericles.ipaustralia.gov.au/ols/auspat/applicationDetails.do?appl...

jaunkemps's picture
jaunkemps's picture
jaunkemps commented Thursday, 3 Apr 2014 at 9:44am

"You ever do any thing you would like to keep quiet until you know the outcome Mr BA, your comment is really dumb and worthless !!!!!!!!"

bornagainst's picture
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bornagainst commented Thursday, 3 Apr 2014 at 10:48am

Thanks for your reply Juan.

It's a bit late for keeping the thing quiet when it's already been published! If you follow the link I posted, you can download all 44 pages of the specification to read it for yourself. It has a priority date - the temporal reference point for assessing novelty and inventiveness - of 20 July, 2012. This means that any disclosure after this date has no bearing on the outcome of that assessment; and, since the application has already been published, anyone who reproduces ALL of the essential features of the invention after that is liable for infringement in the event that the patent is granted (which is why articles often emblazened with the words "patent pending").

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain commented Thursday, 3 Apr 2014 at 11:16am

Sure, but as a small businessman who has done all the heavy lifting, what's stopping a cashed up company with a lot bigger budget in R&D and marketing running with his idea, differentiating the product by 10% and getting theirs onto the market before him? They've then circumvented patent law and rendered this guys work down the toilet.

Maybe he's playing his cards close to his chest because he's poured a lot of his own money into this? Of course the patent app. is available but I'm sure he doesn't appreciate it being advertised.

Watashi wa metabo oyagi desu.

yocal's picture
yocal's picture
yocal commented Thursday, 3 Apr 2014 at 11:23am

So what benefit do you get from sharing the link to everyone BA?

Clearly the guy wants to keep the details on the down-low so he can bring it to market strategically. I can only assume that you want to big note yourself on the fact that you know where to get the info. great work ill give you a sticker to put on your shirt.

Go deeper Taylor, go deeper!

murphy-s-law's picture
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murphy-s-law commented Friday, 4 Apr 2014 at 8:34pm

bornagainst wrote: I don't understand the need for secrecy about the stringer. Although the patent hasn't yet been granted (it's currently under examination), the patent application was published in the Australian Official Journal of Patents in February this year, so all the information is already in the public domain. The application no. is 2013204603; title "A Structural Blank".

You can read all about it here: http://pericles.ipaustralia.gov.au/ols/auspat/applicationDetails.do?appl...

brutus's picture
brutus's picture
brutus commented Thursday, 3 Apr 2014 at 9:29am

OK I'll bite...how much will the blank cost and are they anything like the LIbTech blanks??

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Thursday, 3 Apr 2014 at 4:08pm

Very interesting design. I was wondering what happens when the cores come to the rails.

Does it meet an all enclosing rail-core much like the parabolic stringer setups or does the foam and core just end abruptly, ready to be glassed over?

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Thursday, 3 Apr 2014 at 4:14pm

Check the vid at the end of the article. He's holding one in his arms.

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Thursday, 3 Apr 2014 at 4:20pm

I see, with the hexagonals ending abruptly on the rails instead of meeting another rigid object or a stringer/core running down the rail, could it be weaker from rail to rail straight across.

Ie breaking off nicely straight across the cores like honeycomb?

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Thursday, 3 Apr 2014 at 4:24pm

Like so:

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Thursday, 3 Apr 2014 at 4:50pm

Maybe so, but fibreglass can't break in a pattern like that.

blindboy's picture
blindboy's picture
blindboy commented Thursday, 3 Apr 2014 at 5:11pm

Yes but if the core fails it doesn't matter too much how the glass behaves........the board is dead.

roubydouby's picture
roubydouby's picture
roubydouby commented Thursday, 3 Apr 2014 at 6:48pm

What about glassed with carbon fibre on the rails?

Results may vary.

blindboy's picture
blindboy's picture
blindboy commented Thursday, 3 Apr 2014 at 4:39pm

I would be interested in the flex data. How much of the energy put into distorting the board is returned?

alakaboo's picture
alakaboo's picture
alakaboo commented Thursday, 3 Apr 2014 at 4:56pm

My thoughts too, Craig. It isn't geodesic, it doesn't have the 3D structure. It is more like a slice through honeycomb.

I can understand the desire for different flex in different parts of the board, but that hex shape wouldn't have been the first thing I'd consider.
There've been a few multi-density blanks before, cost seems to blow them out of the water (pun intended).

Good luck to him regardless.

And it is Buckminster Fuller, not Buckmeister.
One of the coolest names in history, and a pretty cluey bloke.

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Thursday, 3 Apr 2014 at 5:40pm

Is this the Guy Walker from the surf movie Pulse from years back ? Absolutely shredded Lakeys then threw up on the ground while an Indo guy said " you look like gecko Mr Guy Walker".

Good luck regardless Mr Walker

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Thursday, 3 Apr 2014 at 5:41pm

He also had a pretty impressive dance segment.

kerry1's picture
kerry1's picture
kerry1 commented Friday, 4 Apr 2014 at 4:31am

Come to think about it. Everyone knows that we all wonder why Simon Anderson didn't patent his thruster design before I think the year was 1981?? Not sure. Could Simon if he had done this it would it have made no difference as everyone could have jumped on the band wagon by reading the patent before it could have been approved. Lets hope not so Guy Walker can at least secure his future (with a may I say concept) as may be someone who had made the next breakthrough in board design and structure. Quite interesting. I wonder if Al Merrick is one shaper interested in this and the guru and inventor of Flex tail Mitchell Rae of Outer Island surfboards???? History will tell like it did with the Thruster.

brutus's picture
brutus's picture
brutus commented Saturday, 5 Apr 2014 at 12:39pm

Kerry,Al Merrick hasn't been in a shaping room innnearly 8 years since he sold the business to Burton Snowboards....

fitzroy-21's picture
fitzroy-21's picture
fitzroy-21 commented Saturday, 5 Apr 2014 at 2:02pm

So who's been shaping Kellys boards for the last 8 years?

brutus's picture
brutus's picture
brutus commented Saturday, 5 Apr 2014 at 3:10pm

a mixture of Al's ex-ghost shapers ,using Al's files........Kelly has really good input and can shape himself.....but for consistency,he uses one of the younger ghosties,,,can't remember his name...

kerry1's picture
kerry1's picture
kerry1 commented Saturday, 5 Apr 2014 at 5:12pm

Thanks Brutus. OK now we know. I reckon Kelly would still have the power he has no matter who shaped his boards. The boy can ride anything. :)

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kerry1 commented Saturday, 5 Apr 2014 at 5:08pm

Hey Fitzroy21,
I would like to know who has been shaping Kellys boards As well. I had a an Al Merrick Black Beauty 7'2" shaped for me a few years back along with a 7'10" big wave gun for Bali. As my (GOD) shaper over the last 25 years Mitchell Rae from Outer Island Surfboards moved from Forrester Beach Central coastNSW to Urunga on the far north coast NSW. Well I went back to Mitchell and apologised to him for getting two Al Merricks. haahaha!
Merrick as I have been told by Brutus has not been in the shaping bay for 8 years I understand now why Kelly has someone else is shaping his boards(but who) I personally would not ride Merricks boards again, don't get me wrong they are good BUT!.Mitchell at Outer Island has been years ahead of everyone when it comes to Flex/Speed/lightweight Boards that last forever STRONG AS. Compared to all other board SHAPER/SHAPING MACHINE I would bet my life on them. Mitchell shapes EVERYTHING BY HAND(NO MACHINES). Look in Google Outer Island Surfboards Mitchell Rae(who is in Western Oz at the moment with his Art and some new Big Wave Rhino Gun boards for sale at his show in Margaret River). CHEERS FITZROY 21. Sorry for gabbing on. :) Mitchell loves me always plugging is boards in blogs. :)

kerry1's picture
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kerry1 commented Saturday, 5 Apr 2014 at 4:54pm

Oh thanks for that look at my reply to Fitzroy21

wreckybuddy's picture
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wreckybuddy commented Friday, 11 Apr 2014 at 8:06am

brutus wrote: Kerry,Al Merrick hasn't been in a shaping room innnearly 8 years since he sold the business to Burton Snowboards....

Does this mean Channel Islands has been selling fraudulent goods for the past 8 years? Glad you let the cat out of the bag.
brutus's picture
brutus's picture
brutus commented Friday, 11 Apr 2014 at 9:01am

C I is still using Al's designs ,so they say,as there is no new designer or any designer at C I.......there seems to have been some copying a few years ago of other designs....

the industry has been aware of this for years,and rumours suggest that CI, since it was bought by Jake Burton,has not made a profit,and to maintain market presence they give vey generous credit terms to shops of upto 12 mths and have to hand over a large percentage of their rack space....actually the whole USA market is a bit like this......that's another story in itself......

Maybe thats why there has been no new designs out of C I except popular models shaped by Dane...a la the neck beard......ahhhh

wreckybuddy's picture
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wreckybuddy commented Saturday, 12 Apr 2014 at 11:54am

But they come up with a new "design" each week. It's usually a swallow thrown on an old model and voila - new model! [email protected], go through their website and it's like a labyrinth of deception. I would hope that sooner or later, the consumers would finally wise up and get boards from a "shaper" that actually shapes, designs and signs. If there weren't so many manufacturers hell bent on market domination, we'd all be in a much more comfortable space don't you think?
I hope all is well with you and thanks for the reply, RM

dumpy's picture
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dumpy commented Friday, 4 Apr 2014 at 7:23pm

It really makes sense to up-scale atomic structures!
It was good to read the patent. I have no intentions of copying it.
(which brings me to: should Crammy have patented his cutty?)

on usenet my friends .sig was "leave only footprints" but if you do that some one will follow.... :D

murphy-s-law's picture
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murphy-s-law commented Friday, 4 Apr 2014 at 8:54pm

It's been so long that I've commented that I had to ask for my password.
A guy puts in some serious time and money to try and get ahead in life, and another comes along to try and deny him a dream of having a bit of security.
Born again, please don't try and tell us what you posted was for the good of our interest, I'd would say a majority of us had a hard time even following it.
Good luck Guy, all the best to your family that are knee deep in this as well.

jaunkemps's picture
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jaunkemps commented Saturday, 5 Apr 2014 at 5:36pm

Hi Guy, have you tested with Solidworks flow analysis or Ansys software, I take it you have, go to Elance up load your work and see who's interested, cross reference all data it will tell you alot about your project I'm 100% sure of that !!!
Best of luck with it all !!!

brutus's picture
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brutus commented Sunday, 6 Apr 2014 at 8:36am

has anyone seen the Libtech waterboards...as theyseem to have the same blank??

cory's picture
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cory commented Monday, 7 Apr 2014 at 8:33pm

The similarities end begin and end with the hexagon shapes Brutus. The materials are very different if you dig a little deeper.

brutus's picture
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brutus commented Tuesday, 8 Apr 2014 at 8:26am

hey explain it to me then would love to know thanx

hahnsolo's picture
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hahnsolo commented Sunday, 6 Apr 2014 at 11:14am

Ok a alakaboo is on the ball! a geodesic structure is a three dimensional frame which requires support in all directions to achieve its strength, ie a matrix of compression and tension elements. The over all actions resisted are arching and hoop forces. This blank as a few of you are onto, could best be described as honey comb which needs to resist bi axial bending only. The honey comb could achieve this biaxial bending resistance better than a timber stringer (reinforcement in two or more directions) for sure as long as the honey comb elements are strong enough. If the edges were supported as well ie carbon fibre in the rails it would be even stronger. Good to see some one having a dig but I would take a few blanks to a university for testing along with traditional blanks so some actual numbers and comparisons can be derived to prove the theory. With this you could really make some solid claims. This would possibly be free as some nerd gets to wright a thesis on it! Universities have all the equipment on hand for the engineering students.

top-to-bottom-bells's picture
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top-to-bottom-bells commented Sunday, 6 Apr 2014 at 11:48am

With all due respect Alakaboo and HS, Guy doesn't say it IS a geodesic dome but that the dome was the starting point for thinking about the blanks. I read it as the source of his inspiration.

cory's picture
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cory commented Monday, 7 Apr 2014 at 8:47pm

I have been fortunate enough to have had a few conversations with Guy and he is a highly intelligent person with a tone of creativity. Guy is so keen to push the limits and learn through arduous R&D. The true benefits and performance characteristics will become clear in time but the opportunity to improve what we ride and accurately measure flex has big potential. I for one cannot wait to shape one....
As for those people criticizing the structural integrity of the product, you may be right BUT why not compare it to the current blank construction. Polyurethane blanks with a single stringer down the centre is not necessarily the best option for today's boards.

brutus's picture
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brutus commented Wednesday, 9 Apr 2014 at 12:58pm

can you please explain what the differences are in the Geo VS Libtech.... thanx

cory's picture
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cory commented Wednesday, 9 Apr 2014 at 8:23pm

I do not represent either company MC and it is not my responsibility to educate you on the various construction materials used to make a surfboard. I was suggesting you do some digging and learn for yourself what the differences are as they are more obvious than the hexagon similarity you identified. The internet is a wonderful thing with all the information at your fingertips. Cheers

brutus's picture
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brutus commented Thursday, 10 Apr 2014 at 9:33am

huh...thought you might have had some info seeing you claimed that you know the differences....why come on here and send me to google???

Cory if you don't know ,just say so........as there is NO info online about libtech's technology,but you claim to know the difference between the two......looks like you have seen neither blank.....???

cory's picture
cory's picture
cory commented Thursday, 10 Apr 2014 at 3:09pm

Sorry Maurice I am not interested in participating in one of your forum feuds that are based on emotion not fact. I have read information of both blanks, had conversations with people in the know and physically inspected some of the product. I was merely suggesting to you that the similarities end at the use of hexagons and to research it for yourself and give your own opinion.

brutus's picture
brutus's picture
brutus commented Thursday, 10 Apr 2014 at 3:22pm

well cory enlighten us with some facts on your technical breakdown of the 2 products....how many have you shaped and surfed?

bigtreeman's picture
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bigtreeman commented Monday, 7 Apr 2014 at 9:17pm

From memory geodesic structures derive strength from triangles.
A hexagon can collapse in any direction or rotation.
But it looks great.

But my main problem remains that plastic is forever (polluting), it doesn't decompose, only breaks down to smaller bits of plastic.

Go well,
Colin

surfer1971's picture
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surfer1971 commented Tuesday, 8 Apr 2014 at 5:30am

It is a great idea these blanks. The only problem being that no one has touched so far is the price. From what I have heard is that the blanks will sell for about $125. A normal burford $85, South Coast $60 or less. Board makers struggle already and the added price will add at least $50 to a boards price.
The other issue I see is that Geoblank is going to only sell it to select board makers. Do you see Burfords, Dion, Core or SouthCoast tell people to leave when they want to buy a blank. They don't care who they sell to as long as they pay. Esentially you are in business to make money. If Geoblank only wants to sell to the "cool crew" like JS, Merrick, DHD, Lost etc you may want to look at actually who makes money out of the boards. Not all the cool crew actually do that well. They may have all the flashy ads and team riders but they struggle to pay their bills and even go bankrupt e.g. DHD.
It is a great idea but it will not take off unless production goes overseas to drop the prices and to be able to meet supply. I know of at least 3 shapers that wanted to buy the boards and he refused to sell them. These shapers have combined over 80 years shaping in the industry. Hey but what the F... would I know. I thought the idea of business was to make money and provide a better life for your family but I must be wrong.

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stunet commented Tuesday, 8 Apr 2014 at 7:26am

Surfer1971,

I see no problem with selling directly to pre-arranged companies. Not sure if you're aware but the hexagonal cores are of varying densities meaning the blanks have a far wider range of variables than normal blanks from Burford or wherever else you mention. The range, therefore, would have to be much larger, not easy for a small start up. 

Much easier for select companies to place orders that he knows he can fill then move on from there. Curious that you think it's got to do with 'cool' and not simple economics.

surfer1971's picture
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surfer1971 commented Wednesday, 9 Apr 2014 at 8:40pm

Stu, I have heard from a number of board makers that have already enquired to buy them that he does not want to sell to them to them. As I said before the big guys are not making all the money like people would think. I know of one board maker that he has already knocked back to supply that makes approx 200k profit a year and he is not even on the radar of the majors. Go figure.

wreckybuddy's picture
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wreckybuddy commented Friday, 11 Apr 2014 at 8:17am

200k profit a year? Making boards? Who is this genius? I want in on his business model….

surfer1971's picture
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surfer1971 commented Friday, 11 Apr 2014 at 11:05am

Figure this Wreckbuddy, many board makers are making 40 boards a week. see the below costings
Blank $65 - can get cheaper
Shape and Cut $50
Glassing $40
Sanding $25
Resin and Glass $50
Fins and plugs $40
Rent, Insurance and advertising etc $50
This equals about $320 but lets say $400 for any other costs that I have forgotten about e.g tax . Most guys sell boards for $600 plus to the customer and I know lots that do not wholesale and sell direct to the customer at these prices and they make 40 plus boards a week.
$200 profit a board x 40 boards a week = $8000 a week. Not hard to do this if you are actually working and not travelling the world like some shapers do to be seen at WCT events etc.

wreckybuddy's picture
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wreckybuddy commented Saturday, 12 Apr 2014 at 11:40am

I'm quite aware of all the costs associated with a surfboard. One cost you didn't factor in is team riders where zero profit is made. I'm one of the fortunate few who owns their own AKUshaper and has an in-house glassing facility. In fact my FCS manufacturer's rep always comments on how well I seem to be doing as the guys in Sydney seem to be slow. So I find it hard to believe that "many" of the shapers that you know do 40 plus boards a week if they are not on the radar of a major label. That is 2000 boards a year which I would consider a major label. The only manufacturers in Sydney that would be doing 40 plus a week would be Onboard, Chilli, HS and possibly Rusty/Aido/ or Warner which are all in-house as well. And if a manufacturer is doing those kinds of numbers, they are wholesaling, effectively bringing the margin down considerably.
All I'm saying is that if a small shaping label that pays to have his boards cut and sends out his glass and he's doing what "many" of the shapers do, 10-20/week, he's basically struggling to survive in a very hard market. Thus is why I commented, as a manufacturer of 34 years, a profit of 200k per annum is a pipe dream. So if that is what you're shapers are telling you, I'm calling bullshit on it. If they are then good on 'em because personally I don't know or have ever known a shaper to make that kind of coin. Perhaps they have an ice-lab out the back?

brutus's picture
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brutus commented Monday, 14 Apr 2014 at 8:40am

team riders..therein lies a problem for Australian Shaper/Brands....in the U S ...only the reallytop WCT guys get bds for free..all the rest get cheap bds....

Australia has always paid to have team riders,hawaii /USA happy to sell at cost,and the seppos have much cheaper manufacturing than us.

The old days of having teams I think is a thing of the past unless you have lots of $'s to start with and need to lever up the brand....

I don't like doing more than 10 bds a week...but don't wholesale bds only full local price and full price website orders...there is a different demographic that buys bds now,and they are not really influenced by the Pro-Bds......so the big question is what purpose does a pro team rider serve?

brutus's picture
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brutus commented Tuesday, 8 Apr 2014 at 8:19am

ah has anyone seen the Libtech blanks,they look exactly like the geo blank and have been making a few thousand in the USA for a few years now?

I find it still amazing that there is no real scientific data on flex and torque...and still just mumblings of supposed superior flex etc.......

there is another blank in the USA called Variant which is a stringerless blank,supa easy to shape, doesn't need a stringer......really interesting till you find out the blanks are $160.....end of commercial life!!

I think that $125 ,if that's the price, might be good for low volume customs.....direct to customer,but for volume would need to go to offshore manufacturing.....

Libtech are alrady making a very similar product...without glassers and sanders to finish the board.....so will be interesting to see how all this comes together....

foamhack's picture
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foamhack commented Friday, 11 Apr 2014 at 12:25pm

Libtech is making a completely different blank using a honeycomb foam (if you look into it hard enough you will find it .. hint 3m usa site) then covered with a 2m core matt in a hex shape.
Libtech is way ahead of this.

On Guy's blank, I was excited when I saw it a year ago and gave him an email on encouragement it was good to see someone trying to get a flex blank to the market..

I have been making for PERSONAL USE only (meaning I would NEVER Sell it to the public) multidensity blanks for 10 years and have got cost down to $18!! Have photographic evidence and been posting in surfboard building sites the builds for the last 7 years

So to my surprise one day I got this email from Guy:
"Please remove your post from swaylocks and any images of the mulitple density blank you created.
It is a breach of my patent.

If you do not remove the images and your associated wording from the post, I will be left with no choice but to pursue this legally.

Thanks for your understanding.

Yours in surfing."

First of my design has 4 glue lines and shape of foam is nothing like it and mine can be hand shaped... he has over 30 glue lines...

Thought ok .. fair enough, hes trying to take out the masses which is a good thing!!

so took down the posts... that gave away how to do it

But to read that he has only been doing for 2 years.... and isn't going to give the chance to buy for the public is a real shame ......

Guy - good luck.. hopefully his R&D has picked up the issues which I could see in the original blanks.
If so it could be a great product!

mcbain's picture
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mcbain commented Tuesday, 8 Apr 2014 at 10:19am

That Libtech stuff sounds real interesting. They are snowboard tech pioneers.
Not sure about the similarity with geoblanks though looks like a core (some kind of proprietary thing), with honeycomb laminate on top. Impressed with what seem to be the environmental credentials and lack of sanding. Stu - you should chase up when they are coming to Aus.
Good interview with Mike Olsen here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cND5EVoLJMM

surfer1971's picture
surfer1971's picture
surfer1971 commented Tuesday, 8 Apr 2014 at 11:01am

Agree Brutus. Even the price of $125 is high when you look at the price of a PU JS, Lost or Merrick. The added cost of $50 on a blank would tip the board into about $1000 as they are EPS blanks. I think that they are a great idea but production needs to go offshore to be competiitive with the rest of the market of boards. Time will tell if they can meet demand as there is nothing worse than telling someone that you cant sell them the product as you have no stock. They will go elsewhere for sure if this occurs.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Tuesday, 8 Apr 2014 at 11:46am

Matt Warshaw has put up a timely piece about the invention of foam blanks on his Encyclopedia of Surfing. It's worth a read: 

http://encyclopediaofsurfing.com/eos-blog/dave-sweet-the-fountainhead-of-foam/

Also, it highlights Guy's point about the design stagnation around foam blanks.

brutus's picture
brutus's picture
brutus commented Tuesday, 8 Apr 2014 at 12:35pm

and Stu you could also add," the design stagnation in s/bd design!" for the last 15yrs Plus!

Libtech actually use a type of a honey comb looking blank......

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno commented Saturday, 11 Oct 2014 at 12:27pm

+1 on stagnation.

blindboy's picture
blindboy's picture
blindboy commented Tuesday, 8 Apr 2014 at 1:11pm

To be functional flex has to return a high percentage of the energy put into the initial distortion and in the right direction. The whole structure also has to be able to withstand repeated distortions without any part of it failing. Then it has to be able to withstand the other forces surfboards experienxce as well as being buoyant.
My point is that it all adds up to a particularly daunting specification. For my money the research effort would be better directed towards over-coming a simpler problem. Surfboards break under conditions of normal use. They shouldn't.

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno commented Saturday, 11 Oct 2014 at 12:33pm

Blindboy, that last point is simple. 2.39lb/cubic foot foam, 2 x 6oz deck, 1 x 6oz bottom. It will be heavier than your average board so add some volume; it will last. Took wax off my mint Zap after a year of surfing, not one single ding. No research needed, in fact this was once a standard lamination/foam. If you want boards to last 50 years (a surfing lifetime) + go over 3lb and 2 x volan 10oz bottom and top. And don't cut into the blank much!

blindboy's picture
blindboy's picture
blindboy commented Saturday, 11 Oct 2014 at 2:07pm

Fair comment johnno I suppose the difficulty is in convincing the manufacturers to do it and then the customers that, for the vast majority, the difference in performance is negligible. I don't like your chances though of convincing good surfers to add weight and volume to designs which are working well for them. The Zap is a pretty specialised design and probably not a very good indicator how extra weight and volume would influence other types of boards.

brutus's picture
brutus's picture
brutus commented Saturday, 11 Oct 2014 at 3:05pm

guys everyone seems to forget about the spine of the surfboard...the stringer... put a triple 4 ply stringer in a supa lightweight blank,put a 6 oz on the bottom and a 2 x 4oz on the top job done......can't crease the board in front of the fins as there is strength on the rail with the stringer.......

the layers of fibre Glass strengthen the shell or hull of the board ...but the real strength can be found in the spine!!

blindboy's picture
blindboy's picture
blindboy commented Saturday, 11 Oct 2014 at 3:12pm

I have an old 7'5" G Style with a thick stringer, I should go and count the ply but it's downstairs and I'm lazy, but it has taken some whopping hits over the years without a single stress mark or crease. Hand made from start to finish by Chris Goulding in 199? great craftsmanship! So absolutely brutus, but again you have to convince the manufacturers and the punters. I noticed one of the local chargers, notorious for breaking boards, had added a thick stringer to his new 5'9".

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Tuesday, 8 Apr 2014 at 1:35pm

The Lib Tech boards seem pretty impressive but I just can't cut through all the techno jargon. For starters there's:

The 'lightweight powerpop airspring core', which is surrounded by the 'LVR43 high rebound matrix', with '2D2D volcanic organic basalt honeycomb technology', and 'elastometrix perimeter dampening web' on the rails. The fins incorporate 'maximum intensity M.I.L.F fin systems', and even the friggen legrope plus has it's own groundbreaking 'system', in this case an anodized 6061 T6 aircraft aluminum pin and a super light fiber-composite cup.

Brutus, you can read Americanese, what does all this mean?

brutus's picture
brutus's picture
brutus commented Wednesday, 9 Apr 2014 at 1:06pm

pretty funny when you know Mike O and has wicked sense of humour..as per the "Waterboards'Labelling......these guys are so tongue in cheek.....

so the first few comments are talking about the blank which has organic origins from basalt,and is covered by a shell that absorbs vibration and does not have the brittle feel of a surftech.......and they use a composite leash plug.....and the fin system.....MILF.......its an adjustable system not unlike the Surfinz......slightly bigger boxes.....

I have seen their stuff....and its pretty amazing....

blindboy's picture
blindboy's picture
blindboy commented Thursday, 10 Apr 2014 at 2:17pm

That organic basalt is murder on planers.

brutus's picture
brutus's picture
brutus commented Thursday, 10 Apr 2014 at 2:26pm

who uses planers anymore???

blindboy's picture
blindboy's picture
blindboy commented Thursday, 10 Apr 2014 at 2:47pm

....wouldn't do much for a surform either or whatever you use these days when the machine has done with it. I met a guy down south in Japan doing the whole thing in the traditional manner down to sanding in his backyard....so yeh there are still some planers buzzing away out there. But if you think the organic basalt is bad you should try the inorganic......diamond tip only.

kerry1's picture
kerry1's picture
kerry1 commented Saturday, 12 Apr 2014 at 9:09pm

Who uses planers anymore? Mitchell Rae owner/shaper Outer Island surfboards DOES. The only machine Mitchell uses is his HANDS. Has been using planers his whole shaping life. His hands are a machine. Go to his website Outer Island surfboards on Google enjoy the trip and be converted.

brutus's picture
brutus's picture
brutus commented Monday, 14 Apr 2014 at 8:11am

Hi K1 ....ah the debate handshaped Vs preshaped...that's another subject ...I don't and couldn't handshape the board designs that I am currently surfing shaping and designing.....

I have utmost respect for surfboard craftsmen who can and still shape off the blank....but for design very limiting......I am not a great craftsman,but design pretty well and need a help from those digital Preshapers ,so that I can apply a bit of analogue gut feel and play with the last 20% and fine tune the shape to the customer......have always liked Mitchell Raes work.......and more power to him....

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Tuesday, 8 Apr 2014 at 2:03pm

I got the M.I.L.F. bit.

top-to-bottom-bells's picture
top-to-bottom-bells's picture
top-to-bottom-bells commented Tuesday, 8 Apr 2014 at 2:09pm

hahaha

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Wednesday, 9 Apr 2014 at 1:34pm

Same, and Brutus' comments confirmed it, ha!

wellymon's picture
wellymon's picture
wellymon commented Monday, 14 Apr 2014 at 1:28pm

Another lark,
An older bird :)

Our brains are too small at the moment to comprehend the reality of what's happening in our forests . We're only just waking up so to speak . The big problem is we think we know everything, we are specks of dust on a timeline and we know nothing .

StevenA's picture
StevenA's picture
StevenA commented Tuesday, 8 Apr 2014 at 3:04pm

All this babble would have anyone believe its going to make kooks turn into slaters by using a bit of flex foam. Seriously ?

Good on buddy with his new fad but you can rest assured the idiots that buy this stuff couldn't tell what was under their feet. A bit of flex here and a bit of flex there aint going to make you surf any better that's for sure.

Who cares when a board breaks or not? Does anyone buy a piece of plastic and foam then throws it amongst waves without realizing nothing that shape or material will ever survive a long time.

A slater or the like may extract the usefulness of his "foam" but the rest might as well ride a piece of bread!

Go well Mr Guy :-)

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Tuesday, 8 Apr 2014 at 3:17pm

StevenA wrote: Who cares when a board breaks or not? )

Gets my vote for the dumbest comment of the year.

Go well Mr Steven A!

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Friday, 11 Apr 2014 at 1:44pm

@foamhack, if your version is correct .....tell him to go get fucked.....he hasn't got a leg to stand on .
can you /do have your own blog for your blanks ?

misanthrope's picture
misanthrope's picture
misanthrope commented Tuesday, 15 Apr 2014 at 8:05am

I have to agree. If you were doing it before him and he's now regards it as an infringement of his patent, then he's just admitted his design lacks novelty.

foamhack's picture
foamhack's picture
foamhack commented Friday, 11 Apr 2014 at 2:29pm

heaps in sways
http://www.swaylocks.com/forum/1000005
search bamboo woven xps eps and lots of pics/posts would come up

or an oz version
search on this forum
http://www.sanded.com.au/forumdisplay.php?2-General-Discussion

foamhack's picture
foamhack's picture
foamhack commented Friday, 11 Apr 2014 at 3:21pm

also check out this guy!

Barry has been doing some amazing things with his blanks

http://www.barrysnyderdesigns.com/dissect-series.html

brutus's picture
brutus's picture
brutus commented Saturday, 12 Apr 2014 at 8:45am

Hmmm,now we are getting the full story...I wonder what the patent is on Guys blanks?

It sure is a hell of a story.....blanks wars......thanx foamhack for the great info...I think I'll give guy a call and see what's up with his foam...??

indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming commented Saturday, 12 Apr 2014 at 9:10am

Its good people are experimenting with blanks and construction techniques its a big step forward, but it really sucks that you can patent things like this to the extent that foam hack is pointing out, in a way it only stops the availability and moving forward of surfboard construction.

I don't know that much about patents but IMO it should be limited to the shape(hexagon), size of the shape, pattern of different density used etc but if you alter a certain % of all that it should be okay etc use an octagon, decrease the size by 10%, change the density of foam in the pattern.

Imagine if Simon Anderson did patent the thruster?

I dont think it would have been a good for thing for surfing or surfboard design/fine tuning moving forward.

Ada gula, ada semut!

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Saturday, 12 Apr 2014 at 9:29am

It's unusual territory, eh ID? People have to protect their R&D efforts but there's also gotta be latitude for further development.

Speaking of Simon and patenting the thruster, there's a fella I know (and sometimes visits these forums) who shaped a six fin board on a lark. Didn't really take it seriously but posted a few photos online. He copped a cease and desist from a bloke that owns the patent for the six fin board and won't allow anyone else to make them. As if he's gonna get loaded when six finners become popular!

blindboy's picture
blindboy's picture
blindboy commented Monday, 14 Apr 2014 at 1:44pm

I think we can all be very grateful that Simon didn't patent the design. I am not sure he would have got it through anyway but if he had it would have been a massive restriction on the development of modern designs. I don't know what he was thinking but he always seemed much more interested in the surfing and designing rather than accumulating millions.......something that sadly cannot be said about quite a few others of that generation and later ones as shown by the post above.

misanthrope's picture
misanthrope's picture
misanthrope commented Monday, 14 Apr 2014 at 6:15pm

Patents don't necessarily place fetters upon further research and development. More often the problem is the way in which the inventor chooses to exploit the patent. History has shown (at least in my field) that patents that are licensed exclusively to one firm (or a select few) carry the greatest threat of obstruction. I would like to think that if Simon had patented the thruster he would have granted a licence to all-comers.

blindboy's picture
blindboy's picture
blindboy commented Monday, 14 Apr 2014 at 6:43pm

......yeh but would all comers have been willing to pay up or would they have tried to push less functional designs of their own ...as some did anyway out of ego or whatever.

misanthrope's picture
misanthrope's picture
misanthrope commented Tuesday, 15 Apr 2014 at 8:02am

Interesting question, blindboy, one I cannot answer. There will always be those who refuse to pay, for whatever reason, or attempt to work-around the patent. I'm sure any attempt to extract a royalty would have come as something of a culture shock at the time.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Wednesday, 23 Apr 2014 at 11:14am

Cory Russell from Cory Surfboards in Torquay has just shaped his first Geoblank, a 6'0" Stretch Buzzsaw. Keep tabs on it.
10300278_10202950872306713_1046451987335148210_n.jpg

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Saturday, 11 Oct 2014 at 11:00am

Any feed back on these blanks ?

trippergreenfeet's picture
trippergreenfeet's picture
trippergreenfeet commented Sunday, 12 Oct 2014 at 8:15am

Back in 1998 Burt Burger (Sunova - parabolic rail) handed me a sample blank he had been working on using the hex/honeycomb method. Hex cells were about 30mm in diameter.

Hands me the blank, then hands me a two pound gympie hammer and tells me to belt the blank as hard as I can. So I hit it hard, but being his one and only prototype I hold back. No damage at all is done from my gentle love tap. He then says "hit it hard as you can". So I belt the fucker hard and the gympie proceeds to fly out of my hand from the rebound and hit the shed wall. On inspection there was not one iota of damage to the blank.

What was this blank constructed of you may ask to be so tough...rice paper and epoxy resin is all. The blank, being a proto was painstakingly hand made using folded strips of ricepaper to create the cell walls and then the cells were capped top and bottom with several layers of paper.

Burt's biggest issue at the time was figuring out how to make this type of blank with rocker and deck roll. I don't know if he ever followed this through to a usable product as he is still using EPS blanks with Balsa and HD foam skins...plus carbon fibre PB rails.

So all in all it's obvious the inspiration for honeycomb blanks is nothing new however this Geodisk appears to a worthy contender for a practical solution in bringing the hex cell format to the masses.

indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming commented Sunday, 12 Oct 2014 at 9:32am

(sorry if someone already mentioned this)

Way back late 80,s maybe early 90,s there was also a board on "Beyond 2000" that im sure used a honeycomb blank pattern, cant remember the material they used, i think it was more a pop out, not a blank you could shape maybe in a plastic or something.

Also saw a vid the other day on a surfboard made of cardboard, maybe it was on that Inertia website.

Ada gula, ada semut!

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Sunday, 12 Oct 2014 at 2:02pm

Do any board makers in Aust use Marko envirofoam blanks ?

brutus's picture
brutus's picture
brutus commented Monday, 13 Oct 2014 at 8:40am

hey udo, I have used the Marko envirofoam in the USA..expensive and still does not hold up as well as a normal PU or EPS blank......did a test run in some kite bds....found that there is a slight delamination after constant pounding......

the bds I tested also were glassed in HydroFlex Tech.....which is way stronger and a future for stronger lighter and now with the Bio-resins...I think we are very close to producing a s/bd that is not a toxic cocktail.....

I am still awaiting a blank from Guy to test.......but I don't like bds without a spine/stringer......but am open to trying anything that looks like improving performance!

wingnut2443's picture
wingnut2443's picture
wingnut2443 commented Sunday, 9 Nov 2014 at 10:30am

Hey crew, just digging this up to see if any progress ..

Brutus, did you end up calling Guy?

On a side note, re: IP, patents etc. ... many many 'inventors' have learnt the hard way; a patent application is really a knowledge sharing disaster. While new investors and their investors rush off to IP lawyers and patent attorney's, the old skool crew work underground ...

The real key is not giving your secrets away and developing a commercial product from the ingenuity before anyone can work out what you've done. A patent application that is public knowledge does nothing but make lawyers money. Same too, for 'defending it' - only the lawyers make anything from it.

Surfboard Design and Construction Kook. Evidence is here: www.ffwsurfboards.com.au
*FFW - Few Fun Waves ... that's what it's all about for me.

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Wednesday, 1 Jul 2015 at 5:29am

Roy Stewart calls bullshit on surfboard flex

Surfboard flex physics myth busting - YouTube.

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Friday, 30 Sep 2016 at 4:18pm

Channel Islands offering a 1 year warranty against breakage on there Flexbar surfboards

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