An asymmetrical discussion

wingnut2443's picture
wingnut2443 started the topic in Wednesday, 23 Mar 2016 at 6:13pm

I've started this thread in the Shaping Bay forum to give the discussion about asymmetrical design in the comments in the latest boarding school article an alternate home. If you've missed the article it's here:

http://www.swellnet.com/news/design-outline/2016/03/22/boarding-school-p...

In the comments on that article, Stu started the asymmetrical discussion by saying:

"... just over 12 months ago I got my first asymmetrical board and it was a revelation. Injected my surfing with vigour and vim, had me up for nights at a time thinking about the flow of water over fibreglass, the possibility of new moves and feelings. That's an incredible narcotic for a fella on the creaky side of 40. I'm onto my second one with another, a step-up asymmetrical, in production and I get the feeling I'll be riding versions of them for a very long time to come.

I guess that's the "personalisation" you refer to MK1. The odd thing for me is how well it's going to how few I see."

wingnut2443's picture
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wingnut2443 commented Wednesday, 23 Mar 2016 at 6:17pm

My contribution in the comments there being:

"I've been playing with asymmetry with fin placement - toe in, cant and placement (fore / aft). I've found a tad more cant on my heel side fin helps ... so has a mate of mine, but he does not know what / why. He's just ended up never giving a board back to me :) .... (note - we are both left foot forward surfers)"

and Stu has added:

" I'm not really playing around with fins, just rail length. The fins - all boards are quads - have the heel side cluster an inch-and-a-half up the board compared to the toe side, but they're the same distance from the stringer and I'm riding the same fins side to side.

The concept exhilirates me, but I'm trying to make high-performance boards while some of the asymms I see fall squarely into the 'alternate' category. Would be wonderful if you knew how and why they all work but it's baby steps for me - rail line first."

Mike Hunt asked:

"Does an asymmetrical board only go or go better one way? I mean designed for lefts or rights? i remember the windsurfers used to do it and it was always on the outside rail . less drag, maybe bit snappier out of the turn. I seem to remember Caml rode asymmetrical tails/fin set up for a while, frontside Gland stuff."

And, Stu has responded with:

"The original board was made for a righthand pointbreak near my home (I'm natural), but now I ride it in anything, beaches, left points, even had it out at 6ft+ Cloudbreak last year. Another foot of rail wouldn't have gone astray out there but the difference in rail length didn't bother me.

There's a few different theories but the general one is that the heel side rail is shorter to allow quicker, more 'pivoty' turns off that rail. Lately I've been chatting to some of the old boys who toyed with it, Bob Cooper and Midget Farrelly, and they both operated via that principle, as did Carl Ekstrom when he patented the idea in 1965."

I'm now over the cut and paste process, so, here ya go, let's riff about asymmetrical design ...

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.

carpetman's picture
carpetman's picture
carpetman commented Wednesday, 23 Mar 2016 at 7:45pm

I've made one asymmetric board and am in the process of finishing my second. The first one was a real game changer for me. I made it to try and improve and sustain more power through my bottom turn on my toe side. The toe side tail is a swallow (or half of) and the rail line has a defined edge which extends a further 200-300mm up the length of the board. The heel side is almost a squash, with a medium/normal rail shape and line. I think its about a 5'11''/5'8.

Its been fantastic in any wave where previously I would need to nurse my bottom turn. I will never lose an edge on my toe side again. Backhand surfs like any other board. Problem is when I surf any other board in punchier conditions it takes me a few waves to get used to the effort required to engage the softer rail.

wingnut2443's picture
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wingnut2443 commented Thursday, 24 Mar 2016 at 1:00am

Any pics carpetman?

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.

caml's picture
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caml commented Thursday, 24 Mar 2016 at 6:07am

Heres the twist , col smith assys had the short rail forehand & long rail for cuttys . And why do both work ?
Obviously other shapers have it differently with vice versa

stunet's picture
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stunet commented Thursday, 24 Mar 2016 at 8:09am

Personalisation Camel: what feels good for one person doesn't for another. My first asymm was from Chris Garrett whose theory follows the direction the wave breaks - long rail off the bottom, short off the top, irrespective of stance. Fortunately for me we shaped a board for a righthander otherwise the board would've had long rail on the heels and my asymm experiments might've ended there and then.

I also spoke to Scott Bass in America recently and he likes asymms with short rail on the toes / long on the rail.

This is another aspect of asymetry that confuses people and why they've never taken off with the mainstream. Most people don't even know why concaves work so it's a hard ask for them to wrap their heads around asymetry. It's also why I try and keep my asymmetric boards as simple as possible.

carpetman's picture
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carpetman commented Thursday, 24 Mar 2016 at 9:14am

Here's the first one I did...

And the one I'm currently working on. Almost finished glassing it now.

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carpetman commented Thursday, 24 Mar 2016 at 9:16am

Agree with Stu. I'm hooked now because the first and only one I've ridden works well. Maybe it was a complete fluke. The next one may suck.

stunet's picture
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stunet commented Thursday, 24 Mar 2016 at 10:01am

Love the look of the tail on the second one C'Man. What's your thoughts on the different nose outlines?

carpetman's picture
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carpetman commented Thursday, 24 Mar 2016 at 10:35am

Thanks Stu. The bottom profile is different on the second one, particularly up around the nose. The nose is a little tighter on the toe side and I've also tried to put more rocker in it too. So, naturally, because of the difference in rocker the toe side rail is harder at the nose.

The idea is to help reduce purling and try make it easier to knife a late take off. Plus the added bottom turn benefits from the first board and the top turn pivot as you've already highlighted.

The heel side should be out of the water pretty much straight after take off, except for on turns, so I'm hoping the additional volume in the heel side will assist when paddling but be irrelevant when up and cruising.

Like the last asymm it was made to go right so if it manages to go left its a bonus.

caml's picture
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caml commented Thursday, 24 Mar 2016 at 10:38am

Yeah that's right stu

simba's picture
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simba commented Thursday, 24 Mar 2016 at 2:59pm

Hey carpetman,so what are the dims on both boards length width and thickness ,think you said the top one was 5-11 5/8? by ..... anyway does it do your head in shaping these boards?

simba

quadzilla's picture
quadzilla's picture
quadzilla commented Thursday, 24 Mar 2016 at 6:00pm

There's no rules,only scope to experiment.This sort of stuff happened in the 60s on the unresponsive shit boxes they called boards.Its a wonder Y symmetry just keeps repeating,backside & front side are very different...even ASYM fin set ups are rarer than hens knobs

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Thursday, 24 Mar 2016 at 6:29pm

Thank fuck Ryan Birch has drifted away from those evil fork nosed things he was shaping for Bryce Young a few years back
absolutely no point in having those two points. Oyster fork I think he called them ?

quadzilla's picture
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quadzilla commented Thursday, 24 Mar 2016 at 7:24pm

Some shapes are ridiculous,the twin points didn't serve any purpose than to pose double the danger if you somehow landed on them,,,,at least both couldn't stab ya in the clacka

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quadzilla's picture
quadzilla commented Thursday, 24 Mar 2016 at 7:24pm

Some shapes are ridiculous,the twin points didn't serve any purpose than to pose double the danger if you somehow landed on them,,,,at least both couldn't stab ya in the clacka

wingnut2443's picture
wingnut2443's picture
wingnut2443 commented Thursday, 24 Mar 2016 at 7:36pm

My kook designer take on this stuff - there is more in this due to difference in the fin placement than the rail length or bottom contour difference. Yes, the rail length and with that the tail shape (extended rail line and more or less curve) adds some difference, but, the fin placement impact of moving one side 1" or more forward does way more ...

Just think about the difference a bees dick of fin size does to any board. Now, take that difference and place it fore or aft?

What "if" you change the fin cant? No one ever said boards had to, or do, have the same fin cant on both sides ... have you checked yours?

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.

quadzilla's picture
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quadzilla commented Thursday, 24 Mar 2016 at 8:55pm

Yes, change the fins position/cant/rake /toe...any variable can make a difference....then the preference of the rider is the biggest variable....I suppose symmetrical is safe and acceptable that's y it predominates

wingnut2443's picture
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wingnut2443 commented Friday, 25 Mar 2016 at 9:14am

Was thinking about this while out doing a surf check this morning. Heaps of dudes around hunting for a surfable wave - got me thinking. How many average joe surfers out there would even try, or think to try, their regular board with different side fins? So, say put a larger fin in on their heel side, then try it the other way? Then see what does better left or right, front side or back side?

With a few fin templates available in slightly different sizes (i.e. the AM templates, the AP01 and AP02, or even the Mick Fanning templates for example), it's easy to do with basically the same fin profile too, so therefore taking that variable out of the equation. Then, to get funky, going different templates too, so say a rakey fin like an AM style fin with a more upright fin, like say the AP02 or K2.1 in the other ... then change 'em over. Try lefts n rights ...

Have any of you done it?

What did you learn?

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.

quadzilla's picture
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quadzilla commented Friday, 25 Mar 2016 at 12:03pm

I've been using asym fin setups since the first boards came along with plugs....what I've settled on is 2drivey fins on the toe side,on the heel side the same drivey front fin but a lower area pivoty trail fin.
This set up suits the long walled waves I ride mostly...a long drivey turn front side and shorter arc snap backside.its the sensation that suits me.
In peaky beach breaks I prefer a twin,with a centre stabiliser(mostly use MRs but as a twin alone the Webber's work good too).

udo's picture
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udo commented Monday, 4 Apr 2016 at 8:51pm

Ted Heople - hipster asym.

saltman's picture
saltman's picture
saltman commented Monday, 4 Apr 2016 at 9:36pm

Bruce McKee touches on the Assym fin set in his quad reference documents

Makes a lot of sense to try before hacking off the rail line

jesse's picture
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jesse commented Sunday, 8 May 2016 at 10:31pm

Just a quick question for anyone with an opinion....

Just picked up an asymm, threw on the loose fins I had available, largest thruster set fronts I had and a smaller rear fin on the heel side (the board is the twin toe side / quad heel side set-up).

Now I was sure I needed more fin on the toe side, like a twin and one bottom turn it got a bit slippy, so will rectify that. What I found was that I wasn't getting those tighter arcs turning onto that heel side, really struggled to do a cutback, but could do a more pivotty type turn off the top ok .I am thinking too much fin are on the heel side? Will a smaller quad set loosen up those rail turns? Not really wanting to (or can afford) to try a heap of fin sets to find one that works so hoping some advise will at least give some direction!

Otherwise it was surprisingly normal to surf except those turns, fast down the line. Looking forward to it with a more appropriate fin setup!

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jesse commented Monday, 9 May 2016 at 8:55am

Shot of the fin layout and outline of the board....

stunet's picture
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stunet commented Monday, 9 May 2016 at 11:25am

It'd be the first thing I try, Jesse. That or whack a more upright fin in the forward finbox, FCS H2 or the like.

I'm not so sure on the fin placement for that rear fin, seems to be somewhere between a rail-centric quad and McKee-style quad.

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jesse commented Monday, 9 May 2016 at 12:42pm

Cheers Stu - will report back when I know more!

wingnut2443's picture
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wingnut2443 commented Tuesday, 10 May 2016 at 2:35am

Hahahaha... Therapy. The dude that uses that label surfs ok, but, what I've noticed is other people struggle on his boards. In fact, I can't recall anyone other than him that surfs well on them. He's a good guy in the lineup, we've discussed making boards etc.

So, jesse, don't be surprised if it's the board, not you! Don't let this one board throw you off the journey into asymmetric designs.

I tend to agree with Stu, that rear fin placement for the quad side looks a bit compromised. Not quite rail centric, not quite mckee.

Edit: Hey, look, I just reread that and I don't want readers here to think they should not buy a Therapy board. Might just be I've only been surfing with kooks, ya know, like attracts like... My comment, is for Jesse to understand it may be the board and why, from my observation.

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.

quadzilla's picture
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quadzilla commented Tuesday, 10 May 2016 at 7:28am

That looks an ideal board to experiment with.

The toe side fin plug is too far forward though,if you put a fusion plug back where it would normally be on that longer rail side, and use a MR template there it will behave as a twin should.

Also I cant see the point of the trail quad plug being so far off the rail on what, looks to me, a small grovel knee to waist(occasionally chest)high design.If theres room, a plug closer to the rail will provide a looser sensation.

jesse's picture
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jesse commented Tuesday, 10 May 2016 at 11:14am

All input is welcome guys - will try some fins first (cheaper and less board destruction!) and move from there.

Haven't seen many of his boards around, but a chance to try the concept at half the price is why I tried it!

Good news is even with totally wrong fins and whatever other faults I still managed to bash a few close outs and few whips off the top in the dying swell on Sunday. And now the northerlies mean a few days off!

And wingnut - don't worry I understood where you were coming from. Interestingly last few boards I have had that I loved were shaped by guys that surf bloody well (and way better than me!)

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jesse commented Friday, 13 May 2016 at 10:41pm

New fins, new board! Got my hands on a twin and half a quad set and went for a paddle this afternoon. Fun little shoulder high waves on an extended beach break. And the issues of not turning heel side is gone. Tight arcs are no problem, and still good drive down the line. Super happy to have the concept work. Even threw the fins free on a few lip hits, so it went as good as any other board I could have ridden today.

stunet's picture
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stunet commented Saturday, 14 May 2016 at 7:52am

What shape fins, Jesse? More upright or just something totally different?

jesse's picture
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jesse commented Saturday, 14 May 2016 at 9:41am

All knock offs, but MR twin equivalent and on the quad side g-5 front and G-x quad rear. More upright rear quad, smaller front.
Few observations -
First wave I was expecting the heel side to still be a bit stiff but it was really loose - thought I might need more fin...second wave decided to trust it and pushed the turn and it whipped through a full roundhouse without sliding.
Had one wave were I arrived late at a close out section and it was hard to redirect quickly on the toe side - more suited to long drawn out bottoms turns.
Great release off the top.

All in all its now a design I'm interested to explore - maybe I need to learn to shap my own!