Flex Research: Problem#3: Foil and construction

Original Thread:



I do not agree. The problem is not getting them up to speed once. The problem is speed in general. A non-pro loses more speed in every turn (every little fault results in speed loss) and has more trouble to accelerate. That’s my experience with “pro” boards. With a pro board I get stuck in the flat too easily. It’s not the take off. You can take off with almost everything as long as the wave is steep enough.


How do you get surfers that are 5'10” 160lb and size 10.5 shoe, but ranging from 22yr-49yr old and average level to pro...on the same surfboard? How do you make a board that works for everyone in this group? My original board was 6'0x18.75”x2.25”. It was a very standard shape for the good surfers in my group, but too big for the pro. The standard shape for the pro is 5'10x18.5”x2.125”.


Secondly, I need my riders to get a ton of waves in every session so that we get lots of data. These shapes ensure that they don't get a lot of waves.



The main problem with the pro shape(5'10”) for the non-pro surfers is catching waves and dropping in. Less volume means it's harder to paddle. Less surface are means it's less stable. All together, a non-pro on a pro shape(5'10) isn't mechanically fit to make that first critical pump right as they stand up. That first pump lines you up for the rest of the wave. I believe that the non-pros would be fine on the pro shape(5'10”) once they get up to speed...the problem is getting them up to speed...getting them to drop in comfortably.


The only part of the foil that matters when surfing is the part that is wet (assuming you don't have really windy conditions).


My theory is that if you keep the same wetted foil, same mass and same flex as a pro shape, you will get a board that performs the same. You can add a lot of volume as long as you don't change those three things.



I took the pro shape 5'10x18.5”x2.125” 24L. and stepped up the deck an entire .5”. The rail shape is still the same, rocker and everything else, but about 1” in from the rail the deck sharply thickens. It was about a 30% increase in volume. It's about 15% more volume than the 6'0. The board is now 5'10x18.5”x2.625” 4.75lb, 32L.



As I said in problem#2, this is the best board I've ever ridden. I can get into any wave and it is the most responsive board I've ever had.

I was told by many experienced board builders that this couldn't be done. That volume is actually the problem. VOLUME IS NOT THE PROBLEM. The problem is all the biproducts of volume, when you don't add it correctly--rails, mass and stiffness


1)Add volume, but don't adjust the rail shape.

2)Add volume, but don't add mass--even better if you can reduce mass.

3)Add volume, but don't make the board stiffer--even better if you can go more flexible.


Any shaper can do 1), but 2) and 3) require that builders break away from the sacred pupe construction. Btw, all of my riders were pupe lovers when I signed them up...now they won't touch the stuff.


I'm still getting feedback and refining the layup and shape. It will be finalized in one month and I'll post the shape file and details on construction.

A lot of good stuff in here - so you've gone with a step deck.  This is a subject of some interest to me.  I have observed also that I can ride a shorter board, but the problem (for me) is the reduced wave count.  Especially when you add the crowd and pecking order factors.  So, like you, I've been exploring step deck designs.  Like you, I've experienced some negativity when discussing the subject, but not from those who have tried it.  Lovinlife's step deck boards have come back with a good ride report.

Not sure about 3), the importance of increasing flex while adding volume - why do you postulate this?

Again, love to see pics of your step deck boards

Thanks for this thread.

The problem is how you can make the first turn. If you can make it in good situation, you can ride the wave well. When you late take off because of board or hollow wave, it’s hard to do a good first turn, that’s where better surfer make a difference.

What Benjamin say is what a lot shapers work on nowadays: a small board that’s keep volume to be friendly.


I say this because most boards are too stiff to begin with.  However, if your baseline is a pro glass job, 4 on deck and 4 on bottom…on a 2.2" thick board, then you probably don’t need to make it more flexible.

Some interesting opinions. Not everyone likes flexy, light boards though.

You’re right, getting stuck in the flats is another problem, but our tests are mostly at Blacks and Trestles, where it’s rare to find flat sections.

I think the best I can do is make a board that works for surfers at a variety of skill levels.  Making a shape work best for a variety of conditions (and variety of skills) seems impossible with the current technology.  People still need quivers.  The board shape that we’re using is optimized for steep head-high waves–what you find on a good day at Blacks or Trestles.  As the wave becomes hollow, the board lacks rocker.  As the wave becomes mushy, it has too much rocker and lacks width.


I say this because most boards are too stiff to begin with.  [/quote]

I'm not gonna say this is or isn't true, but it sure sounds (to me) a lot more like opinion than fact.  Its like saying most boards are too big, too heavy, too wide, too thick, etc., etc. 

As someone already mentioned, if you have a real prejudice going into this, it will tend to call into question the validity of your conclusions. 

Just sayin'

Sure, everything I’ve done till this point has been qualitative.  Hopefully sooner than later I’ll be able to get quantitative data for you guys and hopefully it will be clear that there is an optimum…it certainly feels that way to my riders and myself.

Keep in mind that I was the only one with a bias toward more flex.  All my riders are far more experienced than I am and know nothing about building boards or physics for that matter.  They were all of the opinion that what they were buying (or what their sponsors made them) for all these years was the best there is.  This is the way 99% of surfers think around here. 

I never told them how one board was more flexible than the other or one weighs more or whatever else I changed.  These were blind tests.  They never said that they prefer the more flexible one, or lighter one…they simply said that they like board A more than board B.

I invite anybody to the ride the boards (if they are your size) or send one of your riders to me.  Send me a PM and we can meet up at Blacks with a bunch of boards to ride.  : )