Carbon patches ain't carbon patches

Stu Nettle
Design Outline

Since the late 1980s, carbon has found various uses in surfboards. Carbon fibre is stronger than fibreglass, it's stiffer, and it's lighter too, but it's also more expensive, thus its use has been limited. Carbon has been targeted to the parts of a surfboard that specifically require those properties: around the rails in the case of stringer-less parabolic rail surfboards, as a substitute for a wooden stringer in some boards, but most commonly as a stomp pad near the tail. 

These days it's hard to find a high performance shortboard that doesn't feature carbon in some way. So popular is it that those thin black strips have become fashionable. Surfers don't know what they do but they sure do look good.

More recently, they've been rumours of manufacturers either using bog standard fibreglass coloured to look like carbon, or simply printing black strips to hoodwink buyers into thinking the board is carbon reinforced.

Yesterday, John Dowse from Sanded Australia posted a photo on Instagram of a board that came across his Long Jetty counter (see image below). The customer had dinged his board and wanted it fixed, yet the ding had cut through the 'carbon fibre'....and you'll notice the use of ironic quote marks because the carbon wasn't carbon at all.

The customer's board had a piece of nylon printed with black stripes to look like carbon fibres. It added no strength, in fact there's a chance it made the board weaker, and it certainly made the ding fix more complicated and hence more expensive.

Swellnet spoke to John about fake carbon and how buyers can tell the difference.

Swellnet: G'Day John. I've heard of some board makers using black fibreglass that looks like carbon, but this was something else, wasn't it?
John Dowse: Yeah. What it is, is actually nylon that's been printed on. There's a company which does it in Australia called Inlayz. There a few brands that are using the prints, and I find it disappointing because the customers don't know that it's just a print.

Recently we had a customer come in and go, "I spent $800 on this board and it's lasted three months and the glass is just peeling away."

So you've come across this a bit, have you?
Yeah. It's been in the industry for a while. But now that everyone's trying to get their look and their marketing edge, we're seeing it a bit more often. But yeah, unfortunately, this one [the board in the photo] was made by one of the big guys. We just sit here and go, 'You don't understand it's just going to hurt your brand in the end.' They're losing a customer over it.

You hear all about Firewire and their paper down the middle of their LFT models but they're actually changing back and we've worked a bit with them lately. They're actually now doing strength tests and all that sort of stuff. But to see an Australian manufacturer do that...yeah, it's just disappointing.

How much money are they saving by using it?
They're saving probably a dollar a board. Maybe a few dollars.

OK, what about customers being forearmed? If I'm in a showroom and see a board with carbon strips, what should I be looking for?
Well carbon is a fibre. It's like, if you have a cotton thread and you wrap the edge of the thread, it's going to fray a little bit. It's the same with carbon: glassers will squelch resin into it and move it around slightly, so you're going to get a tiny bit of fray on the edges of it.

So no carbon patch will look perfect? No real carbon patch, that is...
No, it won't. You will have a very slight imperfections in alignment. If the strips are too perfect that's when you start to go, 'Oh, there's something wrong there.'

You have to think of a carbon as a fibre. It's a material. It's got filaments in it, so if you cut an end of a filament, it's going to open up. That's another easy way to work out if it's real enforcement or not.

Fake carbon inlay at left, and real carbon fibre at right - note imperfections and frayed ends

What about the fact the Inlayz patch is printed. Can you look for pixel marks?
Maybe some of the cheaper patches you could notice it. It's hard to see to see that on the Inlayz patches though. Simply, if it's too perfect it's not real.

They used to print on silk, and now they're using a nylon base and nylon floats in resin. Especially with poly resin, you really need to work it through. 

So there's potential to delaminate?
Yeah. Or the resin doesn't permeate through the nylon. They should be putting a bit of resin on one side, then put it on the other. Especially with poly. With polyester, you have to actually force the resin through the glass. That's how you work polyester. With epoxy, it soaks in, so you'd find if it's an epoxy board it will probably hold on a little bit longer.

But really, the fact is you think you're buying a board with a carbon patch when it's not that at all.
That's what it comes down to.

Visit Sanded Australia online

Comments

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Friday, 14 Jun 2019 at 9:29am

I remember Sharkman mentioning this previously.

If the brand in question is actively marketing it as carbon fibre , surely they can be named ?

I assume that there’s no mention of just what the material is though and that it’s left to the consumer to presume what they are buying.

neville-beats-buddha's picture
neville-beats-buddha's picture
neville-beats-buddha commented Friday, 14 Jun 2019 at 9:46am

Great work Stu and Swellnet.

Nick Bone's picture
Nick Bone's picture
Nick Bone commented Friday, 14 Jun 2019 at 9:47am

“Saving a dollar a board.” - I’m no big business man but really saving .125% (based on that $800, one of the big guys as a apporx.) a board be worth what seemingly isn’t worth the trade off in the quality of the product?

This is also probably why I haven’t made my millions yet.

I am the bone

Nick Bone's picture
Nick Bone's picture
Nick Bone commented Friday, 14 Jun 2019 at 9:49am

Rather should i look at it from the company’s eyes as a win/win - saving money on costs that lead too more breakages that in turn lead to more purchases of product?

I am the bone

goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot commented Friday, 14 Jun 2019 at 2:23pm

“Yet”
Hahah love the optimisim bone

rusty-moran's picture
rusty-moran's picture
rusty-moran commented Friday, 14 Jun 2019 at 9:17pm

A funny quote I read on here once:

“THAT ^ and taking extra large steps to save wear and tear on my shoes, is how im going to make my first million.”

daisy duke kahanamoku's picture
daisy duke kahanamoku's picture
daisy duke kaha... commented Friday, 14 Jun 2019 at 9:48am

It's fake and you look like a Collingwood supporter.

Lose/lose

indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming commented Friday, 14 Jun 2019 at 10:24am

Theres a good thread on that discussion here https://forum.surfer.com/forum/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=290578...

Firewire have never marketed any of their boards as having carbon fibre, to me the centre stripe thing they have on some LFT is just a design.

IMHO the whole carbon fibre thing in most cases is more just a fashion and marketing thing, to make a board look different, in a day and age where surfboard sprays have almost become obsolete because of the cost involved.

abc-od's picture
abc-od's picture
abc-od commented Friday, 14 Jun 2019 at 10:42am

You'd need a truckload of gullibility to think boardmakers who use black and white prints aren't trying to fool buyers into thinking its carbon.

Island Bay's picture
Island Bay's picture
Island Bay commented Friday, 14 Jun 2019 at 10:44am

Staggering.
As for the benefits of real carbon tail patches, I wonder how much is in it? I've had boards with carbon patches that dented horribly, and some without that look perfect after 5 years (hello Rhinolaminating, you good good people).

OLD MALIBU's picture
OLD MALIBU's picture
OLD MALIBU commented Monday, 17 Jun 2019 at 7:41pm

Carbon fiber is STIFFER not stronger as incorrectly mentioned in the article above. Fiberglass is way stronger than carbon fibre 50% STRONGER , carbon fibre is STIFFER than fibre glass and so more brittle . 'S' Cloth is the strongest surfboard cloth full stop. The problem with 'S' cloth is it does not "POP" like COOL AS carbon fibre, don't believe the hype.

savanova's picture
savanova's picture
savanova commented Friday, 14 Jun 2019 at 10:44am

All the big guys outsource their boards so its probably the glasser in Thailand cutting corners. Saving $1 a board when your getting paid $1 a day makes sence in any language.

The Shaper's picture
The Shaper's picture
The Shaper commented Friday, 14 Jun 2019 at 11:03am

To bring some balance and insight into the issues raised here, The reason these guys use that approach is not to save a dollar, it to achieve a very sharp clean presentation for the retail environment. The difference has already been pointed out. Think about this .....you walk into a shop and look at two boards one has carbon with fuzzy messy edges and squiggles the other looks similar but its sharp clean and straight. Unfortunately visual presentation always wins over function and performance in a retail setting. We saw that with the early plastic fins. High glass filled ratio gave good rigidity but a poor finish. FCS went for retail presentation "good finish" instead and used 25% glass fill. The fins were useless but people bought them because they looked good.

The second thing to know here is that carbon does not deliver its properties in polyester resin. So apart from having a thicker laminate (which counts)there is no real strength advantage until you set it in Epoxy. That's when you get the full bang. So its all perception anyway.... sorry.... here is a link and there will be heaps more available on this topic is look for it. -: https://www.sollercomposites.com/EpoxyResinChoice.html
Quote " Polyester Resins

These are the cheapest of all the resins. They have poor bonding capability and should never be used for any structural carbon or aramid work. They typically work well only on fiberglass. One should generally never consider using this resin with structural applications with Carbon Fiber or Aramid. "

boxright's picture
boxright's picture
boxright commented Friday, 14 Jun 2019 at 11:14am

Caveat emptor and all that but I still think there's an onus on makers not to deliberately deceive buyers. Despite what you've said about strength and looks and the rest, the board makers aren't printing red polka dots to use as stomp pads, they're printing black stripes and they're clearly meant to fool buyers into thinking they've bought something else. It's only because of articles like this that buyers would be aware of the deception.

The Shaper's picture
The Shaper's picture
The Shaper commented Friday, 14 Jun 2019 at 12:02pm

Yes of course the information should be passed down the supply chain. People will ask the sales guy the question now and should be told no lies. My point though is that the deception is far deeper than just is it or is it not. The deception is at the carbon level its its self..

wozz's picture
wozz's picture
wozz commented Thursday, 20 Jun 2019 at 7:49pm

Those clean fine lines on fcs2 fins are probably only nylon as well and not the carbon reinforcement that they charge an arm and a leg for.

The Shaper's picture
The Shaper's picture
The Shaper commented Thursday, 20 Jun 2019 at 8:57pm

they are certainly prints of some sort

atticus's picture
atticus's picture
atticus commented Friday, 14 Jun 2019 at 11:33am

@The Shaper, I'd say anyone using prints designed to look like carbon is legally sailing close to the wind. They're obviously designed to look like carbon, in fact the Inlayz website advertises them as "Carbon Stomps" and it's not till you get to the checkout that it says "carbon-like."

Also, I just did a quick search on the net and came across multiple surfboard sites that advertise black and white stomp pads as carbon. I estimate it'd take any suburban judge around five minutes to decide carbon prints were designed to fool buyers into thinking they'd purchased something else. They might even joke about the decision being black and white.

The Shaper's picture
The Shaper's picture
The Shaper commented Friday, 14 Jun 2019 at 11:52am

Totally agree with you if they state that its carbon. In fact just taking your point on legal obligation a little further, I have been aware of a number of serious product failures from notable brands where the buyer has had to effect repairs, serious delaminations, FCS boxes coming out because they are not glassed into the foam, stuff that just makes me mad....... these buyers are ENTITLED to replacement or refund under consumer statutory warranty legislation.

atticus's picture
atticus's picture
atticus commented Friday, 14 Jun 2019 at 12:26pm

My point, perhaps not clearly made, is that they even if they don't say it's carbon the board makers leave themselves vulnerable because the prints are deliberately designed to look like a strengthening product (the text on Inlayz website says as much).

Think of a safety product, a seatbelt in a car, or a legrope on a board, a manufacturer can't replace them with something that looks better but doesn't do the job it's designed for.

Surfers have been told carbon reinforces a board, so it's reasonable to believe a buyer purchasing a board with a black and white stripes would think they're getting a stronger board (whether that's explicitly stated by the seller or not).

Of course, there's little chance of it being legally tested because surfers have come to accept surfboards breaking - as per your examples. Still, if it came across my desk I know what I'd advise.

Baron von Spatula's picture
Baron von Spatula's picture
Baron von Spatula commented Friday, 14 Jun 2019 at 12:01pm

Most, if not all, 'fashionable' branded vanilla HP shortboards residing in the racks of 'surfshops' are machine-shaped under license in Thailand. (Using inferior materials, exploiting cheaper labour and waaaaaaay less stringent Environmental Pollution Policies - particularly concerning Epoxy waste emissions!!!)
The Bank of Queensland 'allegedly' (inserted with intent) owns the license for the manufacture of stock/production boards for JS – or so I've been reliably informed.
It's all smoke n mirrors.
Send a message to the purely profit driven pop-outs, and support your local shaper!!!

yorkessurfer's picture
yorkessurfer's picture
yorkessurfer commented Friday, 14 Jun 2019 at 12:28pm

Interesting article. I bought a cheap Jacks board on the Gold Coast last year that was $299 retail.
I changed the crappy plastic fins that came with it for Sunny Garcia carbon fins I had floating around. Those things are super light and strong.

It actually goes really good and has lasted 12 months of abuse with minimal dings or depressions.

After reading this I had a close look at the carbon strips on this cheap board and guess what?

Genuine carbon strips! (See pictures below)

Any board maker going cheap and charging $800 plus should hang their head in shame.



Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Friday, 14 Jun 2019 at 12:47pm

And another example showing the fibres splitting when bending, shows it's real..

ron's picture
ron's picture
ron commented Friday, 14 Jun 2019 at 12:56pm

The fake 'carbon look' thing is across most sports and automotive industries these days. Surfboard manufacturers probably took some inspiration from cheap golf clubs, tennis rackets, car parts that all say carbon but have a print or sticker surface to give it a carbon look or colour.

Be interested to hear more on why carbon is less functional glassed in Poly than epoxy?

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Friday, 14 Jun 2019 at 12:59pm

Me too, seems like poly doesn't bond with the carbon well at all so it's just like putting a lacquer over the top, whereas with expoxy it will bond and abrosb in the carbon, hence actually strengthening it?

Spuddups's picture
Spuddups's picture
Spuddups commented Saturday, 15 Jun 2019 at 6:06am

I'd be interested to see some science on this.

Twichy's picture
Twichy's picture
Twichy commented Friday, 14 Jun 2019 at 1:32pm

Why is it that the “big name” shapers are not named and shamed?
They are like a protected species.
Also why do guys continually buy their boards after failures?
Blows my mind.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Friday, 14 Jun 2019 at 2:02pm

Naming and shaming brings either a whole host of legal issues, or a whole lot of work where I have to personally verify each accusation.

Think of this article the next time you go tyre kicking for a new board. Check the pattern on any carbon features and make your decision accordingly.

Twichy's picture
Twichy's picture
Twichy commented Friday, 14 Jun 2019 at 2:42pm

Point taken Stuno
It seems board manufactures are the only product immune from criticism.
If its shit its shit.
Wetsuit manufactures on the other hand get thrown to the wolves daily.
There appears to be more to it than a simple fear of litigation.
Egos perhaps?.....

Fortunately ive found a manufacturer of quality.

Ps i get where you’re a coming from in relation to the page and litigation issues

eel's picture
eel's picture
eel commented Friday, 14 Jun 2019 at 7:07pm

Stu the pic in the article is obviously not carbon. As stated it's that inlayz material. It is not even up for debate. How would you be in trouble if you said "this board by INSERT BRAND used a nylon cloth from INLAYZ that looked like carbon fibre"? It's straight out fact and you haven't defamed anyone. Take a photo of the same board with the logo in it.

J.seas's picture
J.seas's picture
J.seas commented Saturday, 15 Jun 2019 at 11:05am

I’m happy to add Photos off my new $1000 custom made board that came out off the glass house QLD with that fake stuff non carbon Inlay .

eel's picture
eel's picture
eel commented Saturday, 15 Jun 2019 at 3:20pm

Post it!!

Twichy's picture
Twichy's picture
Twichy commented Saturday, 15 Jun 2019 at 4:12pm

Checked my Rusty.
No fake shit here

singkenken's picture
singkenken's picture
singkenken commented Friday, 14 Jun 2019 at 1:52pm

Sanded article says Epoxy at least 3 times stronger than Polyester / Polyvinyl resins, and will be absorbed by the weave of carbon. Polyester will not. All Epoxy & textile composites (Carbon, Hemp, Bamboo, etc, etc.) far superior to Polyester equivalents with exception of Polyester & Glass.

The Shaper's picture
The Shaper's picture
The Shaper commented Friday, 14 Jun 2019 at 2:25pm

Deck compression strength or weakness is directly related to the density of the blank and how far the deck has been cut into the blank. Blanks are softer towards the core. So we now know that carbon does not reinforce if its been used with PE resin. It just looks nice. Now i am a big advocate of machines for all sorts of reasons, BUT everything you do in any space has upside and downside, SO the down side of the machine is that it forces another step in production to ensure that the deck line of the file you intend to cut matches the blank you are cutting. Otherwise you may end up cutting too deep particularly at the tail area and this weakens that area. This often requires a custom glue up of the blank to match the file curve. (obviously you need a stringer) Once its all set though you can get great results. Then an additional 4oz tail patch and you have a nice strong tail zone with or with out the use of carbon. So if your board is caving badly in the deck (not talking rib dents) its one of those three reasons.

Spuddups's picture
Spuddups's picture
Spuddups commented Saturday, 15 Jun 2019 at 6:15am

Hi Shaper, that all makes good sense to me. The only thing I'd question is the idea that blanks are softer in the middle. This concept has been the received wisdom in surfboards for as long as I've been around anyway. I was wondering if anyone you know of has actually ever tested this in a scientific way?

Terminal's picture
Terminal's picture
Terminal commented Saturday, 15 Jun 2019 at 6:52pm

That scientist with the flex machine on the south coast might be able to provide some insight there

Spuddups's picture
Spuddups's picture
Spuddups commented Saturday, 15 Jun 2019 at 8:00pm

It’s more about density rather than flex isn’t it? You’d need a way to cut very accurately sized samples of foam from various parts of various blanks, then weigh them with a good set of scales. In this way we could determine the relative density. If we were to cut 1cm2 cubes of foam then we’d need a very sensitive set of scales to weigh them as they would be very light. Indeed, based on my calculations a cm2 of foam weighs about .004 of a gram.

Island Bay's picture
Island Bay's picture
Island Bay commented Sunday, 16 Jun 2019 at 5:17pm

Easiest thing in the world to confirm, my dear Spud.
Next time you cut the end bits off a PU blank, do a little probing. Very clear difference from surface to centre.

brutus's picture
brutus's picture
brutus commented Friday, 14 Jun 2019 at 2:54pm

Firstly ,carbon parches on the tail are a hoax , as carbon is all about rigidity , not compression.
The whole idea of carbon patches on the tail is looks , but actually by putting carbon patches on the tail , you change the flex in the tail and create a weak spot where the carbon finishes ,how many snapped or creased boards have you seen just in front of the fins?
As for Fake Carbon , it's everywhere on big brand name boards , FW /slater designs included , and to say its just a look and meant to be fake...when you see team boards come out of the XTR facory in SoCal , they have real carbon T&B...
So is there any real need for carbon on a surfboard, me thinks not.......but is a cool looking black material ,which makes boards snap and crease easier...if you want to stop rail cancer, try kevlar or Inegra!

The Shaper's picture
The Shaper's picture
The Shaper commented Friday, 14 Jun 2019 at 3:33pm

@brutus "Firstly ,carbon parches on the tail are a hoax , as carbon is all about rigidity , not compression."

a true champion of reality!

Island Bay's picture
Island Bay's picture
Island Bay commented Friday, 14 Jun 2019 at 3:48pm

They don't make bullet proof vests out of carbon fibre.

ArtVandelay's picture
ArtVandelay's picture
ArtVandelay commented Friday, 14 Jun 2019 at 6:50pm

.

Pops's picture
Pops's picture
Pops commented Friday, 14 Jun 2019 at 4:15pm

If I'm looking at it right, the carbon fibre strips should act like a fibre-reinforced composite (assuming they're properly bonded). Such composites generally have very good tensile strength (i.e. resistance to stretching forces along the fibre length, which also helps a little with bending), but don't add anything in compression or shear - if anything they reduce compressive and shear strength due to the potential introduction of defects (pretty much all mechanical failures occur at the site of a material defect).

If you wanted to improve strength in all directions, you'd go with short fibres randomly aligned... pretty much like normal fibreglass, but with carbon instead of glass.
My old man's got a board like that under his house that I've ridden a few times. Think it's from the early to mid 90's, maybe a T&C? Went like an absolute dog. Just didn't flex right.

Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean commented Saturday, 15 Jun 2019 at 2:42pm

@ Brutus.
Welcome back !
Great info as always .
Interesting to note you have been sounding the alarm for this for quite some time.
Rigidity.....now there's a word.

Island Bay's picture
Island Bay's picture
Island Bay commented Friday, 14 Jun 2019 at 3:12pm

Personally, I think it looks much better without.

Here's a fine example:
https://www.instagram.com/p/Bv2nbygHQHv/

Aus_Gannet's picture
Aus_Gannet's picture
Aus_Gannet commented Friday, 14 Jun 2019 at 4:48pm

The guys at Inlayz do my rice papers for me and have been bloody helpful even though I’m worth no real dollars to them. Small business running a good show. Hope they keep going strong.

Beachbumsurfer's picture
Beachbumsurfer's picture
Beachbumsurfer commented Friday, 21 Jun 2019 at 11:29pm

Yeah they done a bit for me lately as well and I’m only small fry compared to other companies they must deal with but always get treated as if I’m one of the big guys. Great to still see a small company that knows what service with a smile means. Love the product too.

Grub Screws's picture
Grub Screws's picture
Grub Screws commented Friday, 14 Jun 2019 at 4:55pm

Surfing's become as bad as Pete Evans when it comes to bogus claims. Cut that shit out, people.

icandig's picture
icandig's picture
icandig commented Friday, 14 Jun 2019 at 5:18pm

Carbon fibre is just a small part of the problem. If you order a board from a local shaper, chances are they'll let you in the factory. You might pop in down the track and see your shaped blank or even watch it being sprayed, glassed and sanded. In short, you know what you are getting and who is doing it. If you order a board from a retailer or website. Chances are it could be shaped / finished by anyone. I know boards are made overseas. Probably / possibly with less quality, but it's pretty hard to find out much. (At least from my limited research). Where's the transparency? Other industries are open to scrutiny. What are they afraid of?

Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean commented Saturday, 15 Jun 2019 at 12:24pm

@ icandig,
Thirty years ago almost all boards were made in Australia. Probably 90 '/.
Twenty years 90 '/.
Ten years 70'/.
Now ?
There's been some great articles written about this by Stu net. Lately re Abro boards.

The supply chain has drasticly changed over the period of my surfing life.

I all about surfers supporting local shapers......seems they don't really want to though.

icandig's picture
icandig's picture
icandig commented Saturday, 15 Jun 2019 at 5:36pm

I also believe it's important to support local shapers - even though I'm guilty of buying the occasional 'model'. Everyone should have the right to make money from their skills as craftsman and as a business person. Offshoring is inevitable in many industries - it cuts costs and also gives people in other countries the opportunity to make a living when otherwise they might not. What I'm pissed about is that there seems to be a cloak of invisibility around the surfboard industry when it comes to finding out how boards are made, who shaped them and what goes into them. It goes back a long way. For many years you could order a well known brand from a retailer only to find out a ghost shaper had made it. Unless you were on the 'inside' you might not get what you asked for. It still happens, but now on a much larger scale. The business model runs on hype and marketing. Maybe it always has?

Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean commented Sunday, 16 Jun 2019 at 2:08pm

Started in the late eighties/ early nineties.
Most surfshops reaked of these three things, in no particular order.
Resin, wax , neoprene.
I was raised on the scent.

Everthings wrapped in plastic today.
As soon as shaping machines turned up surfboard manufacturing became very secretive.

ron's picture
ron's picture
ron commented Friday, 14 Jun 2019 at 9:16pm

All of this could be put to bed with some simple testing. Glass some blanks with various forms of carbon and other reinforcements then add pressure in kg and see if there's much difference.

Boards snapping in front of the fins is the most obvious weak point carbon or not. The fin boxes are like 2 giant stringers then right in front of them is the next thinnest weakest part of the board at that end. You also have weight applied there allot and indentations from feet. Why would carbon strips make it weaker at that point than having nothing at all?

Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean commented Saturday, 15 Jun 2019 at 10:12am

Ever been to Hawaii Ron?
You'll see so many boards snapped in front of the fins.

Most boards end up outside houses and in the trash cans.

ron's picture
ron's picture
ron commented Saturday, 15 Jun 2019 at 11:28pm

Yeah thats what i was saying. Its the most obvious place to snap there, carbon patch or not.

brutus's picture
brutus's picture
brutus commented Sunday, 16 Jun 2019 at 10:48am

you are correct in saying that when you put a fin system in the bottom of a board , cutting the glass on the bottom creates a weak spot , but when you add on the deck carbon strips and stop them at where the fins are cut out.....you now have a board that is even weaker...as where the carbon stops on the deck , this has created a change in flex , so now you have a surfboard very weak Top and Bottom...
I put the fin boxes in after the board has been glassed , and glass over the boxes before the hot coat to keep the strength.......and do not use carbon at all , don't get many boards that break ......I still believe if Carbon wasn't sexxy black , we wouldn't use it for any technical reason other than just looks really cool!

rooftop's picture
rooftop's picture
rooftop commented Saturday, 15 Jun 2019 at 1:02am

If I pressure ding my tail pad, is that a carbon footprint?

Spuddups's picture
Spuddups's picture
Spuddups commented Saturday, 15 Jun 2019 at 6:17am

Ha ha!

pinhead's picture
pinhead's picture
pinhead commented Saturday, 15 Jun 2019 at 11:13am

Another thing that isn't carbon is Innegra. However if you go to the DHD site you'll see claims that the white decks of their boards are laminated with "innegra carbon" Innegra is super fine polyolefin fibre, usually white. Carbon fibre is alway black because its er.. carbon. Tail reinforcement and tail carbon are used interchangedly so I guess they mean innegra reinforcement.

Island Bay's picture
Island Bay's picture
Island Bay commented Saturday, 15 Jun 2019 at 1:03pm

https://vimeo.com/340918833 New DHD Sweet Spot 3

Innegra patches and "Tiger Stripes" Looks like they super fine are grooves cut into the foam. Can anyone enlighten me, please?

pinhead's picture
pinhead's picture
pinhead commented Saturday, 15 Jun 2019 at 1:31pm

Don't know about the "tiger stripes" The 6 oz bottom and the wide laps is where the strength is coming from. The innegra would improve tail strength a bit. If you were serious about strength though, you'd go epoxy resin, 3.5 oz double bias + 4 oz s glass deck and 6 oz s glass bottom.

Island Bay's picture
Island Bay's picture
Island Bay commented Saturday, 15 Jun 2019 at 1:51pm

Just curious about what those tiger stripes are.

Two strongest glass jobs I have:

Russ Short Bonzer, impeccably glassed by Rhino in Sydney. After 4 or 5 years, there's barely a dent on it. Such good work.

Murray Bourton Reef Swallow, with double 4oz deck and bottom diagonally glassed. This board has survived total torture and not snapped.

Proper blank selection so as not to over shape; wide laps; good sanding.

Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean commented Saturday, 15 Jun 2019 at 2:54pm

Diagonal weave is key. Remember, double mat glassing is 5 times stronger than single.

Board won't flex the same though....
It's quite a head scratcher though.
I personally like a board with Torsion / Flex.
I used to have a bunch of old single fins , twin fins that had double mat top and bottom.
All my big wave boards also, multiple layers of glass.

I guess it depends on your preferences .
If you order your boards from a local shaper you can always ask for more lay ups or less.
Custom ordering I guess.

Island Bay's picture
Island Bay's picture
Island Bay commented Saturday, 15 Jun 2019 at 3:18pm

Picking up a 7'6 Webster Spartan in two weeks. double 6oz both deck and bottom.

Pray for swell...

shredsleddin's picture
shredsleddin's picture
shredsleddin commented Sunday, 16 Jun 2019 at 7:06pm

Tiger stripes are made by dragging a wax comb down the foam blank. They act like rovings supposedly because the resin fills in the tracks. DH has been doing this on team boards for years, as has Sparrow from Super (who learned under DH). Whether it works - who knows.

brutus's picture
brutus's picture
brutus commented Sunday, 16 Jun 2019 at 11:03am

couple of points from watching the DH video....the tiger stripes are , lines made by a comb / Wax comb that are scratched into the foam.....no real strength , and don't listen to the "team riders don't break them ," as DH has been doing this for a couple of decades......it's amazing that he doesn't talk about wooden laminated stringers and increasing their size when the boards get bigger.....???
I have boards made out of Innegra , and use it on Tow boards( Triple stringers) has little or no rigidity , so you can up the Stringer/Spine size , where the true strength really is!

Island Bay's picture
Island Bay's picture
Island Bay commented Sunday, 16 Jun 2019 at 1:25pm

So the tiger stripes have no real effect?

Curious why they would make the effort (as they are barely perceptible, as opposed to carbon patches).

brutus's picture
brutus's picture
brutus commented Sunday, 16 Jun 2019 at 2:19pm

ever heard of gimmicks/bells and whistles ???

Island Bay's picture
Island Bay's picture
Island Bay commented Sunday, 16 Jun 2019 at 3:23pm

Heck yeah, they're everywhere.

These tiger thingies, however, seem so strange as a gimmick: hard to see; never been touted on the DHD website; not much said about them even now.

No mal half a quiver's picture
No mal half a quiver's picture
No mal half a quiver commented Saturday, 15 Jun 2019 at 3:03pm

Thank god for this article I was beginning to think I was the only person in the world who realised this.
Let’s put some racing strips on the tail and charge $150 more for it. Are the slaves in Asia getting paid anymore for it? But the xtra cash builds wave pools right.
Do an article big company’s sending the local shapers broke because of stronger and cheaper resorced labour to make ground breaking products like surftech FireWire ect. You remember the boards that you could thrash for 6 plus years scrape the wax off and looks new again but that’s bad for business so they send local shapers broke then reduce quality of products to boost sales hey back to a board a year and now paying what I use to pay the local bloke for a custom.

indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming commented Sunday, 16 Jun 2019 at 8:51am

Im not sure how you figure big companies sending local shapers broke?

The big brand name companies have actually helped reset the price point of surfboards.

A few years ago it was rare to see boards for $900+ it was only Firewire and more niche brands who were selling boards at these prices they could do so because they had a product different to the rest of the market or just have the brand name to sell.

But now look at board prices of bigger brands (have a look online), they have also lifted their prices to around $900+ for a board some are even pushing over the 1K mark

Do you think this would happen without others like FW charging these prices?

No they have helped re set the price point of surfboards.

However at the other end of the scale you can now go online and buy a board that appears pretty decent (doesn't look cheap) for $350-$550

Or go to places like the gold coast and everyone is basically trying to undercut each other.

As for durability if you still want a FW board that you can scrap the wax off and it looks new again you can still get this in Timber Tek and even if the resin yellows you can't tell because of timber effect.

J.seas's picture
J.seas's picture
J.seas commented Saturday, 15 Jun 2019 at 3:08pm

Before you run to your shed stressing if you’re board has fake carbon or not it’s not as easy these photos make it look. Iv got boards with extremely nice cuts to the patches and strips carbon including A lost carbon Rap which can’t be anything but carbon you would think and the cuts are so very neat hard to pickup much fray at the ends at all .

Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean commented Saturday, 15 Jun 2019 at 3:15pm

What's peoples take on carbon fins? Yay or Nay?
Any fake carbon running in the fins?

linez's picture
linez's picture
linez commented Saturday, 15 Jun 2019 at 8:28pm

What a good question....in light of this article, seriously good question

brutus's picture
brutus's picture
brutus commented Sunday, 16 Jun 2019 at 12:47pm

a lot of hype around fins also , when you see those composite multi layer colored moulded fins , they are OK , but without doubt the best fins are 32 layers of 4 0z glass , with the panel being made under compression , and then foiled thru a C&C machine, that's what we all use as our performance fins!

Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean commented Saturday, 15 Jun 2019 at 3:18pm

From memory the first board I remember with carbon was the Al Meric Slater ci model early nineties.
Any thing before that?

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Saturday, 15 Jun 2019 at 3:32pm

Slater model CI at right, and Webber Banana at left, both with carbon strips. Both approx. late-'92, early-'93.

Can't recall it being used earlier, though I'm bound to be proven wrong.

EDIT: I recall carbon being used in fin rovings for glass ons though whether that was earlier or the same time as the boards above I can't say.

Terminal's picture
Terminal's picture
Terminal commented Saturday, 15 Jun 2019 at 6:48pm

I was once shown an old Hot Dot (I think, memory is rusty) that the owner claimed had a solid layer of carbon fibre on the tail. It was painted white to not look ugly apparently.

That Insight is unreal BTW Stu, is it an original banana board?

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Saturday, 15 Jun 2019 at 7:01pm

Yep, it's an original. One of three bona fide early 90s Bananas that I've got.

Here's the deck:

Terminal's picture
Terminal's picture
Terminal commented Saturday, 15 Jun 2019 at 7:32pm

Unreal, the Al Merrick looks great too. That was the Luke Egan grip wasn't it? I've often wondered if the Momentum generation boards would take off as collectibles. Given their construction, I'd have thought It'd be as hard (or harder) to find a mint example from this period than trying to find an MP.

Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean commented Sunday, 16 Jun 2019 at 2:37pm

Lets get a review on the banana Webber in the middle Stu net ?

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Monday, 17 Jun 2019 at 1:59pm

A review? When you're on point it surfs like a bar of soap - slips through the water with minimal resistance - but when you're not on point it's more like a sponge.

When GW re-released this I thought it'd be the next step in high-performance design: a finely-tuned set of curves only able to be ridden by the 0.1%, and when photos like the following turned up I figured it was only a matter of time before it took off with pros again:

Will Webber decribed the above shot as like Muhammad Ali in his prime, an athlete displaying total dominance, and it's hard to disagree.

But no-one aside from Slater rode it, and after a while not even he was on them, which says to me that even though you could potentially do the best turns of your life on a Banana, the feeling of feedback from a surfboard shouldn't be discounted. That sense of manhandling a board through a turn, it's kind of the opposite of what the Banana was designed to do.

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Monday, 17 Jun 2019 at 2:23pm

That Cloudbreak footage of Slater on the banana was unreal.

inoshishi sex

Terminal's picture
Terminal's picture
Terminal commented Monday, 17 Jun 2019 at 9:58pm

That turn is timeless, on par with Curren's and replicated too. On that, wasn't Curren's cutback on a stickerless Webber banana board too? Someone?

Spuddups's picture
Spuddups's picture
Spuddups commented Monday, 17 Jun 2019 at 5:02pm

I had a board in early 93 with the Slater Style carbon stripes.

Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean commented Saturday, 15 Jun 2019 at 4:14pm

Everyone needed a C I carbon in 92, you think they were shaped in Aus under licence?

Terminal's picture
Terminal's picture
Terminal commented Saturday, 15 Jun 2019 at 7:34pm

Doug Bell was shaping CI in Aus from memory. And someone else I think.

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno commented Saturday, 15 Jun 2019 at 7:31pm

The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.

yorkessurfer's picture
yorkessurfer's picture
yorkessurfer commented Saturday, 15 Jun 2019 at 9:01pm

Conversely velocityjonno paying top dollar for a custom board and getting a dog can also make one bitter.

On more then one occasion I’ve ordered a custom board from reputable shapers and ended up with a board shaped by their understudy without my permission. Boxy asymmetrical rail shapes, twists, fins not set correctly, I’ve seen some dodgy shit.

I’ve also had some magic boards that weren’t able to be replicated.

One good thing about mass produced boards if you find one that suits your surfing is the consistency of replication.

brutus's picture
brutus's picture
brutus commented Sunday, 16 Jun 2019 at 12:42pm

or consistently getting better boards each time!

ron's picture
ron's picture
ron commented Sunday, 16 Jun 2019 at 11:26am

I guess if the carbon doesn't actually add any strength in poly as some shapers in here are saying then the whole thing is kind of a non issue, real or fake.

I cant do this myself but a super basic test as a starting point would be to glass 2 layers of 4 oz together with no carbon and then 2 with carbon between. Make the pieces 300 long, 50 wide to start with. Clamp on a bench so they over hang a chosen amount them add weight at a chosen spot and see if one bends more, snaps easier etc etc. I know this is super simple stuff and not real science but i wonder if anyone is doing stuff like this?

Same thing on a piece of blank off cut, load it with weight at small point and see if the carbon resists indentation more or not, should be a pretty obvious result.

The Shaper's picture
The Shaper's picture
The Shaper commented Monday, 17 Jun 2019 at 11:00am

Ron the basic test you suggest is valid to a point. You just can't calibrate and measure the difference. However for a semi proper comparison you would replace one of the 4OZ layers with the equivalent weight of carbon. You have to let it cure for a couple of weeks then. Adding the extra layer of carbon to the 2 x layers of 4 OZ will increase stiffness by virtue of the thicker lamination. Same thing is achieved by adding an extra layer of normal e-glass.

Gazman82's picture
Gazman82's picture
Gazman82 commented Thursday, 20 Jun 2019 at 12:17pm

I actually have the means to test this.. I work for a company that has calibrated force measuring devices. I could make 4 samples all dimensionally the same..
Sample A) 4oz bottom - 4+4oz deck (standard)
Sample B) 4oz bottom - 4oz diagonal + 4oz deck
Sample C) 4oz bottom - 4+4+4oz deck
Sample D) 4oz bottom - 4+carbon + 4oz deck

I would set each up, so the test piece is clamped to a flat bench, with the same midpoint overhang. Apply a load systematically and measure the peak failure force.

I'd take all sample pieces from the same foam and cut - eliminating any variable in density of foam.

ron's picture
ron's picture
ron commented Saturday, 22 Jun 2019 at 12:02pm

Would be great if you can. Bit of youtube video would be interesting. What work do you do there?

Gazman82's picture
Gazman82's picture
Gazman82 commented Monday, 24 Jun 2019 at 11:08am

I work selling lifting and rigging equipment. As part of that, we do load testing. So I have the means to do the testing :)

I build boards in my spare time.. as a side hustle.

Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean commented Sunday, 16 Jun 2019 at 2:34pm

It's interesting how the topic always come back to mass production vs custom boards.

You think people on the ct ride stock boards? The only person who can do that is curren.....

Regardless here's the thing......
custom surfboards are very cheap in relation to stock models produced overseas.
You keep the money flowing in the local economy you effectively employ / support a team of craftspersons.
You will also end up with great boards. If you ask nicely you will probably get real carbon also.
OVERSEA MASS PRODUCTION HAS NO QUALITY CONTROL.

The big board companies want it that way.

indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming commented Sunday, 16 Jun 2019 at 4:39pm

Any and every surfer on the CT could rip on an off the rack board.

But they are professional surfers looking to get any tiny little edge they can, they do this by working closely with a shaper and fine tuning a high performance shape, even then they still get a shit load of boards and many they wont like sometimes they dont even ride all the boards they get.

Almost all also get boards with much lighter glass jobs than of the rack boards, because they go better.

Im not against getting customs, but unless you are taking you last board in and improving on it and really talking with your shaper and trying to work out what you like and what you dont in the board reality is he is just going to shape you up the board that's on the rack and just put your name on it. (these days often just a file punched out often borrowed/ripped off from a bigger brand)

Everyone loves customs, its nice to know a board was made for just you, but the reality is if you fit into the average build, height, weight, your really not that special or unique a good board is a good board,

Big name surfboard models these days are popular because they are proven shapes that have been refined tried and tested.

BTW. Total bollocks to suggest boards made overseas have no quality control, my FW boards glass jobs are generally immaculate, while local or OZ made boards over the last 30 years have ranged from immaculate to terrible and everything in between.

icandig's picture
icandig's picture
icandig commented Sunday, 16 Jun 2019 at 7:59pm

Curiosity got the better of me...and whaddya know...some transparency.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6L5t8hD3SjY

At least Firewire appear to be open and honest about what they are doing and how... I'd still like a peek into their operations in Thailand though.

Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean commented Monday, 17 Jun 2019 at 6:45am

A lot of bold claims from serious industry bros......
Aerospace composite tech........
All surfboards are......

Elliedog's picture
Elliedog's picture
Elliedog commented Sunday, 16 Jun 2019 at 4:30pm

I deliberately depress the deck of my boards... feels good..... makes sense

Luba

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Sunday, 16 Jun 2019 at 7:27pm

Going back a few years just before Snapper comp i reckon Polsy at he Ding Shop had one of Slaters boards in for repair- supposedly an Epoxy with carbon centre strip
[ looked like epoxy]
Looking at the damaged area it was def a pu blank with fake carbon strip..

inoshishi sex

indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming commented Monday, 17 Jun 2019 at 3:58pm

Mark price FW CEO has said before (think it was an interview/podcast) that when Kelly first bought into FW he wanted all his boards to be made in both PU/PE and EPS/Epoxy and painted exactly the same, to try to take away any cognitive bias on what he was riding.

As we all know even before FW Kelly often jumped between different builds and he still does.

simba's picture
simba's picture
simba commented Sunday, 16 Jun 2019 at 8:05pm

Local ding fixer here had a Taj firewire that was a pu made to look like a firewire,also i remember Kelly over at margarets breaking a 5-9 i think when it was really big and the close up shot of it floating on the inside was a pu dressed up,clearly see the timber stringer.

simba

pinhead's picture
pinhead's picture
pinhead commented Sunday, 16 Jun 2019 at 9:04pm

I heard from a local ding fixer that it wasn't even Taj surfing them - it was some other guy painted to look like Taj

Lanky Dean's picture
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Lanky Dean commented Monday, 17 Jun 2019 at 4:11am

LOL !

goofyrob's picture
goofyrob's picture
goofyrob commented Monday, 17 Jun 2019 at 10:21am

carbonfibre is strong in tension but weak in compression. So on the bottom of a board which is being flexed through a bottom turn it is effective (under tension) but on the deck it is pretty useless (under compression). It's also not very good under impact. Kevlar, on the other hand is good under impact (it's used in bulletproof vests) and under compression but not as good as cf in tension. Kevlar is also much more difficult to wet out. My experience working with these 2 fibres is limited to epoxy. When a laminated fibre is stressed to breaking point the resin becomes the enemy because, as the fibre is pulled straight, the fracturing resin cuts the fibres. Carbonfibre appears to be prone to spectacular failure (remember the America's cup elimination series against NZ?) and if you've worked with it you would know that carbonfire in resin sands away to nothing at the drop of a hat. Polyester resin is one of the poorest performing resins, not only because it is less strong, but also because it absorbs a lot more water than either epoxy or vinylester resin. Absorbing water not only adds weight but dramatically further weakens the resin to boot. Much of the above I learned from a boatbuilder but I have done some google type research which confirmed what I had been told by him. With his encouragement I glassed the last "conventional" board I made with vinylester resin. Vinylester is significantly better in strength and in resisting water absorption. It works a lot like polyester and even smells like polyester, retaining that traditional surfboard factory smell, but board makers don't like it because it always comes with some colour in it and so you don't get that crisp white new board look. I am still riding that board at approaching 10 years old but I don't surf anything like every day. You can't use vinylester (or polyester) with polystyrene blanks. Vinylester costs more than polyester but less than epoxy. Always take your
board out of its board bag and allow it to dry, especially if it is traditional (polyester) construction. That's my collected wisdom (for now)

Spuddups's picture
Spuddups's picture
Spuddups commented Monday, 17 Jun 2019 at 5:19pm

Thanks for the insight. RE keeping boards out of boardbags to dry: this is something I’ve been thinking about recently as I have about 18 boards all with their own bags. I’ve taken to drying my boards with a towel and leaving the zip undone to keep the boards dry. Mostly to stop them getting stinky, but your water absorption theory is food for thought. My boards are all sealed with an acrylic lacquer though, so this should help keep them dry right?
I’ve started making boards with EPS/Epoxy this year. Will keep an eye on things!

channel-bottom's picture
channel-bottom's picture
channel-bottom commented Monday, 17 Jun 2019 at 2:56pm

I wonder if the next step is for the company to make inlays with imperfections in the lines and the look of threading to appear more realistic....

Ray Shirlaw's picture
Ray Shirlaw's picture
Ray Shirlaw commented Monday, 17 Jun 2019 at 6:19pm

I've seen Bombproof boards that had timber veneer top&bottom. Why isn't this more widely used,maybe less flex.....but seriously,to what degree? They looked great&I imagine any pressure dent issue would be negligable.

indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming commented Monday, 17 Jun 2019 at 7:48pm

Extra materials and extra labor means you have to charge more and most surfers aren't willing to pay more, the combo works good with EPS/Epoxy but from memory Cutloose surfboards also did timber deck boards in the early 90s.

Adam71's picture
Adam71's picture
Adam71 commented Thursday, 20 Jun 2019 at 4:23pm

Well done Stu, I have plenty of boards from my shaper that have carbon rails & don’t look as good as the fakes, he says it is a bitch to work with & to get perfect looking, thinks it’s a fad, I used to think it was quality control. Apologise Jk. He said it all started with, I think Thompson & a couple of others back in the day as they were smashing their tails & rails too much, they used rags or other cloth to glass over. Some of the posters her are onto it. Thank you

Beachbumsurfer's picture
Beachbumsurfer's picture
Beachbumsurfer commented Friday, 21 Jun 2019 at 11:13pm

So I have used carbon on my boards over the years and also inlayz lately and have found no difference in how the hold up. (If anything the inlay has held up better) What I have experimented with is though is only having an inlayz on the bottom with zero glass. It is now my favourite board and is holding up better than when I used to just have one layer of 4oz. The secret is getting the blank wet out before you role out the inlay just like the video they have on the website.
To me this article is just someone who sells carbon trying to bad mouth another product. Would be better if we spent our time trying to get the government taxing the China boards that are flooding the market and killing the board building industry in Australia and surpport the local companies who are struggle to survive in what is turning into a new recession... Support your local boardmarker even if it cost a few bucks more or we will all be stuck riding pop outs before we know it!

wingnut2443's picture
wingnut2443's picture
wingnut2443 commented Sunday, 23 Jun 2019 at 9:32am

FMD ... The truth is getting out!

Jeez Brutus, your voice might get heard ... One day?

Crew. FW 'carbon' black strip down stringer in LFT, is covering something up! Put ya LFT to the light, see what you can see?

The Taj / Kelly / whoever riding boards to look like others... Marketing 101 people. Hell, golf, motor racing, tennis,
cricket, etc is full of it. Caveat Emptor!

Now, FFS, can we PLEASE stop calling boards "epoxy" .. yes, you fucking numpty WSL commentators! And, all the shop sales people too ...

Now, can we discuss all the 'handmade' vs 'handshaped' claims? Could we get like a % system, like the Australian Made system. Hell, I handshape boards, hand make them too, but, what fucking % if I use AKU, get it machine cut and outsource the glassing?

Surely "scrubbing" the machine cut blank cutting machine lines off, tidying up the nose and tail is handshaping?

FMD, way too much marketing BS in the surfboard industry. Carbon is just the tip of the iceberg!

Caveat Emptor.

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.