# Board "speed"

uhh boy. Can’t believe I’m about to open the speed debate – but isn’t “speed” of a surfboard a relative measure? In other words, when you measure how fast a surfboard is going you must state what that speed is relative to. Relative to a fixed point on land or relative to the surface of the H2O it’s traveling over. Think of a standing wave. No speed relative to land – lots of speed relative to the water. Given this context, would you still say longboards are “faster” than shortboards?

I think its more about speed down the line. Speed toward the shore is of course governed by the wave speed, not the board. A faster board will be able to skirt through some faster sections, and avoid being closed out. By building up speed down the line, it can carry more speed through cutbacks or whatever else you want to put it through. I would say that some longboards might be faster than some shortboards, but I don’t think there is really any way to compare the two in a universal way. It’s also going to depend on the wave. On a mushy little knee slapping wave, a longboard will probably be able to harness more of the wave’s energy simply because it has a larger area in contact with the wave. Thats just one example, but its always going to depend on the wave. If you ask me, thats one of the coolest things about surfing, every wave is different.

So basically, I would say that speed of a board down the line is more relative to the speed of a different board in the same type of wave, not so much an actual quantification of how fast its going.

Just to take it one step farther…

``````  Speed on a longboard is usually gained by proper positioning on your board, and on the wave, to get the perfect trim. Because of this, it seems to me that there is a limit to how fast a longboard can go. Once you are in perfect position, it is upto the wave to tell you how fast you can go.

Speed on a short board is a different story. With pumping, the rider has a greater influence on speed. This means that the speed of a shortboard is much more a factor of the rider than the board itself. Of course the board itself has a lot of influence, too.
``````

It’s all about speed relative to the wave. I don’t care if I’m going 2 mph or 45 mph. Land speed, water speed, it doesn’t matter. What matters is making sections.

speed is always relative, doesnt matter whether its about surfboards, cars or spaceships…

The most logical would be to measure the speed of a surfboard relative to the water passing underneath the board…

…yes,

is like punasurf said

the fact is passing sections or not

Quote:

Just to take it one step farther…

Speed on a longboard is usually gained by proper positioning on your board, and on the wave, to get the perfect trim. Because of this, it seems to me that there is a limit to how fast a longboard can go. Once you are in perfect position, it is upto the wave to tell you how fast you can go.

Speed on a short board is a different story. With pumping, the rider has a greater influence on speed. This means that the speed of a shortboard is much more a factor of the rider than the board itself. Of course the board itself has a lot of influence, too.

There’s always a limit to how fast a board can go, and that limit is determined by the thrust to drag ratio not by the length of the board.

Thrust is directly proportional to mass, plus the muscular input from the rider (which is typically less than 12% of the total thrust)

Muscular input can be transferred into thrust via long or short surfboard solutions.

Quote:

It’s all about speed relative to the wave. I don’t care if I’m going 2 mph or 45 mph. Land speed, water speed, it doesn’t matter. What matters is making sections.

Well you are going to make more sections if you can squeeze 45 mph than if you can only get 2 mph !

Speed = DIstance over Time.

The distance is relative to some point.

In the case of a surfer on the wave in the diagram, taking off and going right at point X on the wave, the initial starting position may be stated as X in reference to the wave, x will always move towards the shore at the speed of the wave (theoretical in an unbroken wave) and Y will remain constant, or the initial starting point on the earths surface.

So I think speed can be expressed in relation to either two points. Remember X also has a height factor. So Take off on a big closeout you will travel a short distance very fast.

Quote:

Given this context, would you still say longboards are “faster” than shortboards?

depends on the shape especially the rocker. I’ve ridden longboards that were dogs because of their rocker.

in general I think you ride higher on the water surface (less drag?) because of all the extra floatation that you have a higher what I would call “glide speed”. Maybe that should be redefined as a “roy” unit of speed because he demonstrates it the best.

But a shortboard in the proper hands can create it’s own speed by constantly engaging the fins to generate forward thrust. If you want to see speed just watch a pro/semipro (such as Mick Fanning) manipulate a high performance short board along side a longboarder and you’ll notice how the shortboarder can generate forward thrust/speed ins short bursts at will. At times it looks like he’s only riding off his tail scooting along with all the pumping action.

In a straight line trim though. A properly designed longboard or I should say longer board will outrun a shortboard in the same trim any day depending on the float advantage.

That’s why fish trim so fast…

because the float facter for the same size board is greater due to the outline difference.

It’s just that you can’t squeeze in as many “thruster” pumps as a narrow high performance design…

but these are just observations from the field that’s all nothing scientific

board shape > board length

the first board i acually purchased (learned on my friends quiver) was a dog…i wasnt catching the waves or getting the speed i did on other boards and being poor just went with it until i had the money to buy a shorter board which was a bit wider with lower rocker…fast paddling…faster down the line

Quote:
uhh boy. Can't believe I'm about to open the speed debate --

Can’t resist stirring it up, can you?

Regardless of how you want to measure it, what matters to me is how fast I’m traveling over the SURFACE of the wave. Fixed points on land mean nothing to me when I’m chasing a section.

The other thing that Oneula hit on is… some boards have faster glide speed, and others generate speed by pumping them. Think back to BK as Sunset. It wasn’t just that he had faster boards than everyone else… he found the speed within them and tapped into it.

Maybe it should be broken into “passive speed” and “active speed”. Passive speed being how fast a board will glide if you point it in a straight line and let it go. Active speed being how fast you can get it to go by pumping it. Longboards are (in general) going to have more glide, and shortboards (in general) are going to get more from pumping.

I was thinking about this the other day when I was surfing my 6’4" S-Railed fish at Trestles. On the first few waves I surfed that board like it was my 9’2"… aiming and gliding. I was thinking I could use more board so I could glide through sections. I then changed my approach and started pumping turns off my front foot… all of a sudden I was going about 1,000 times (approximately) faster. It made it very clear that it’s not just the board… it’s how the surfer taps into the potential of the board. Straight-line speed on that board isn’t very fast. Wiggly-line speed is super fast if you get the wiggles right.

Quote:

depends on the shape especially the rocker. I’ve ridden longboards that were dogs because of their rocker.

in general I think you ride higher on the water surface (less drag?) because of all the extra floatation that you have a higher what I would call “glide speed”. Maybe that should be redefined as a “roy” unit of speed because he demonstrates it the best.

For your information Oneula: Many of my longboards ( including the 10’9" I am presently riding) are very low volume low buoyancy boards, and have much less flotation than foam longboards. . . . their speed depends more upon their shape and fin configuration.

As for measuring speed, I use mph or kph, measured in relation to the surface of the earth, quit trying to quarantine the speed of my boards please !

.

Hi Kendall,

In relation to pumping the board:

Pumping the board is a method by which we can transfer muscular effort into forwards motion.

The amount of energy available from pumping is less than 10% of the total energy available to drive board and rider. … and that’s assuming a constant pumping action using the maximum muscular output of the rider at all times. . . . which never happens.

Pumping is thus likely to provide no more than 5% of the total energy driving the board, and that’s in ideal conditions. . . . . what does tend to happen IMO is that boards like shortboard thrusters are` so slow when not being pumped ( due to toed in fins) that they are handicapped when not being pumped, and this makes the potential gain due to pumping appear to be greater than it is to the rider of such a board.

Longboards can be effectively pumped by the way. . . IF they are designed to do so. . . it’s a a matter of overall design, not just length.

.

ok heres a high school/college physics project…go to orlando when they get the wave park open…pull out as many different demo boards as you can…set up markers (kind of like gates in whitewater kayak racing)…try each board a few times on the same size wave only going straight (no pumping/wiggles)…time from marker to marker and record results…repeat on different size waves/riders…it will take some time, but is it really work? of course someone could do the same project and come up with completely different results.

notice i didn’t use the 4 letter “f” word…fins

Quote:

The other thing that Oneula hit on is… some boards have faster glide speed, and others generate speed by pumping them. Think back to BK as Sunset. It wasn’t just that he had faster boards than everyone else… he found the speed within them and tapped into it.

There is no speed ‘within’ a surfboard !. . . . that’s nonsense !

Quote:

I then changed my approach and started pumping turns off my front foot… all of a sudden I was going about 1,000 times (approximately) faster.

More nonsense ! .

Quote:

Pumping the board is a method by which we can transfer muscular effort into forwards motion.

Exactly… the more focused your effort is, the more forward motion you can generate. Also, there is no absolute equasion for percentage of total energy available to pumping. It depends on the surfer, the board, and the wave. Surfing SanO mushburgers, more like 80% of the energy is coming from me pumping. The wave gets the board on plane, but my hips and legs make the board do most of it’s moving around… forward or otherwise. Triple-overhead Kalihiwai is more like 5% my energy and 95% wave energy.

Of course, it would be difficult to generate much speed by pumping an eighteen-footer. You just have to aim it and let it go.

I don’t know how much time you’ve spent on skateboards, but this effect can be demonstrated very clearly on them. You can just let them roll, or you can let your hips and legs pull them forward. I can keep a skateboard moving forward on a flat surface (or even an incline) as long as my legs hold up. In that case 100% of the forward motion is comming from me.

Quote:
Quote:

The other thing that Oneula hit on is… some boards have faster glide speed, and others generate speed by pumping them. Think back to BK as Sunset. It wasn’t just that he had faster boards than everyone else… he found the speed within them and tapped into it.

There is no speed ‘within’ a surfboard !. . . . that’s nonsense !

Quote:

I then changed my approach and started pumping turns off my front foot… all of a sudden I was going about 1,000 times (approximately) faster.

More nonsense ! .

I’m sorry Roy but how would you know? I’ve only seen videos of you going straight.

Let’s take this to the water.

Quote:

there is no absolute equasion for percentage of total energy available to pumping. It depends on the surfer, the board, and the wave. Surfing SanO mushburgers, more like 80% of the energy is coming from me pumping.

This is absolute nonsense

Unlike yourself, we have done careful calculations prior to posting

The maximum energy output of an adult male under ideal conditions (continuous deep squats) is around half a horsepower. Calculations of the power obtained (in horsepower) via gravitational potential on a head high wave for a board and rider of 100kg is around 5 horsepower.

There’s no way that you can suddenly produce 20 horsepower. . . no matter how hard you try, and that’s approximately what you would have to do to make your san O fantasy scenario true.

mmmm I seem to recall from an earlier discussion of pretty much this same thing, or a “What is the fastest board in the water?” thread, that I and others maintained the fastest board was a old-style wood paipo: minimum surface area (ergo minimum drag), minimum flex (ergo minimum energy loss from redirecting water), minimum flotation (volume and flotation are irrelevant once you’re planing), hard edge thin rails (water release is key to speed) and no fin (a drag item).

And the best of these old paipo boards were made from some 3/4 plywood scrounged from a For Sale sign, which one would aihue from some lot in the neighborhood.

And oh yeah, speed across the wave is what counts.

's all I’m gonna say