Polycarbonate Shrink Wrap

Mick D, I agree that the pros are like Pied Pipers for the board market but popouts outsell customs and similarly with the popularity of SUPS. If its a good product OR has a desireable benefit not otherwise addressed by current products, it will sell.

atomised, HOW to vacform over EPS is where Im thinking atm too… 

Ideas Ive had to get around that…

  • using High Temp EPS…which is available

  • cooling the EPS blank prior

-applying a spray /brush-on cold liquid seperator just prior

-applying a temp resistant coating prior, maybe dipping the shaped core into something?

  • Co2 rapid cooling after vaccing

-vaccing a low temp shell before vacccing the hi temp shell.

 Either way Im going to have a go at it and see what happens.

Im thinking about how to totally avoid any glassing or resins or sanding or avoid at least  90% of the resin work, may need to do some for the plugs tho…

 Imagine you can vac wrap a custom shaped board in under 15 mins and know its light, dingproof, cheaper and safer to produce.

 Theres a few vac forming forums around (tk560.com) where theres lots of info and ideas, but its essentially a simple process of heating a very  thin plastic sheet and then sucking it down over a plug, so how hard can it be to alter that process for surfcraft ??

It does work… But the biggest challenge to come for jab is the flex and feel…


I don’t think it may be possible to vacuform over EPS. EPS has a pretty low melting point. It starts to distort around 160℉. The polycarbonate sheet has to be heated up to the point that it is soft enough that it begins to sag. That’s most likely around +200℉ depending on how thick it is. Polyurethane foam can withstand much higher heat before it starts to distort.

Regarding magic boards, I meant if you have a disposable board and get a magic one, then you can’t enjoy it for very long before it breaks or falls apart. Then you can try to replicate it, but we know how well that goes. 

I agree with you about the throw away boards but I don’t see things changing in the immediate future unless more of the pros start using compsands or similar/stronger technology to build more durable boards (assuming the pros drive the majority of the market here).
While there is already some great tech out there already, for these producers to be profitable they need to make standard models. Take Lib tech for example, awesome technology and he says in an interview they barely touch a board, ask them to make a custom though and you will be SOL or it will cost a bomb. To have such a system it needs to be heavily automated which neccesitates rigid designs and set ups.

In regards to the magic board I think this is where the shrink wrap will work best, quick prototyping to get the magic board, scan it then build it properly using other or more traditional methods.

As far as throwing away the prototypes I think if EPS and the shrinkwrap was used at least these components could/may be easily stripped and recycled easier than current boards(??).

i think this new tech is exciting, but I don’t see the benefit in having “throw away” boards. Not only is it wasteful, but what happens when you get a magic one? 


Its just something new and new stuff takes time to be accepted.

 Heres a few examples of vac forming surfboards…









 So whats the diff between this and the chinese boards ?? Same price but you can do it at home.

I tried melting our polycarbonate Versa-Squares on an EPS blank a while ago. Played around with the idea for a while.

Has potential to replace traditional resin/fiberglass. That’s all I’m saying…

Abandoned the R&D on that for other things that are accomplished a little easier. Might get back to it one day. Or not.


I had pondered this myself after watching mythbusters making a mold of a head for filling will balistics jell, the main question I have is how do they seal it or create and hide the seam of the 2 sides??

I think it’s a brilliant idea, especially for design/development purposes. How good would it be to knock out a quick and cheap eps shaped blank, vac it and take it out and surf!

This could even be a better option for shapers making HPSB’s for guys who are prone to snapping a lot a boards a year, the margins on these types of boards are nearly non existant given current pricing and the fact that these guys don’t want to pay a lot of money for these ‘throw away’ boards even though the shaper puts more effort into the design for them as they are not ‘off the shelf’. This method would allow the shaper a bit more wiggle room for profits and the punters can get cheaper boards as well.

I think there will still be plenty of traditional glassing happening though for the higher quality boards that people expect to keep for many years.


Ive seen 100s of these boards in Australia.

Greg Clough who used to own the Aloha label makes them in Newcastle with his own technique.

 Greg uses ~.5mm ABS which is ultra thin car bumper bar plastic and Ive seen finished boards thrown down a concrete staircase to demonstrate their toughness and theyre not dented in the slightest, scuffed but no dents. Mega light too.

 Polycarbonate isnt UV resistant but there are UV versions available (Lexan) so Im sure thats whats being used in France.

 No water ingress either because the plastic has been tested on car bumbers for decades so its well suited for a surfboard.


 The blanks are computer cut and then the top and bottom shells are vacced on. Plugs with Epoxy.

 Its a great system and I’d suggest that this system or something very similar will takeover from mainstream glassing, its so much stronger, cleaner, faster. quieter. No chems, no sanding, perfect gloss finish every time.

 Its just a matter of time before its adopted by smaller local manufacturers and then their boards will be able to challenge the imports for cost and value…

Its just takes time for new tech to be adopted, but** **this vac forming is a great step forward in making small factories more economically viable.


Here is a link to the “JAB Surfboards” technologie page:


One of our French friends may have to help us out with some translating, though!

Interesting concept, but would need to be compared head to head against other materials.  Puncture resistance, stiffness, ability to bond with other materials.  That would be a start.

So it looks like the blank is “packaged” in the same way store bought products are.  But the skin would have zero bond to the core inside. 

I’m guessing creative marketing.  “Lets do something and splash my name all over it, before we decide whether it works”  Marketing genius.  

But Roy Stuart thought of it first back in 2002.

i love the theory and the romance of the process… i have lots to learn. but maybe something is not true to label here…


Some plastics can absorb moisture from the air.  These materials fall into the category called "hygroscopic plastics".  The best known product in this group is polycarbonate. It's not, however, the only hygroscopic plastic. Nylon and polyester can also absorb water vapor.

Water vapor isn't the only substance that polycarbonate sheet can absorb.  Researchers have discovered that polycarbonate can also become saturated with oxygen.

While absorption of moisture and oxygen isn't always a problem, it can be, especially when you are decorating the sheet with vinyl graphics. As the plastic outgases, bubbles can form under the applied vinyl graphics.

Moisture in polycarbonate sheet is also an issue for sign makers, who are thermoforming signs.  Here's why.  Sure the heating in the thermoforming process will drive out moisture, just as it will in a recirculating oven.  But the heat is higher. Much, much higher.  Exposed to this high heat, the moisture rapidly boils off, turning into a gas.  As the trapped moisture is explodes from the sheet, tiny craters or pit marks can form on its surface.

 Polycarbonate does not outgas, only absorbs moisture in its natural state.Unfortunately, we don't live in a protective bubble and nobody stores their polycarbonate sheet in one either

I think a lot more probucts we use are susceptible to water absorption. Some of which we use regularily and most take no care in storing.

I know from working with a fair bit of Kevlar in the past and now nylon and polypropylene non woven fabrics , that these material draw moisture from the air.

I’d imagine Carbon and even woven fiberglass would also absorb some amount humidity if it were high, maybe between the glass filiments.

Air condidtionded storage and sealed bags should suffice.      I’m just hearing about the polycarbonate build process just like the rest of us.    Interesting, but probably far from perfect.

What keeps it bonded to the foam core?   Hopefully  not just the initial heat and then the shrinkage from thermoforming?



I use to see a guy who surf a jab in my home spot. It’s seems to be a really valid product: light, strong with a clean finish and cheap !. Guy who make jab have a real knowledge in industrial plastic and surf world.

it can be the future: cleaner building, work on custom blank (PU, EPS,XPS), look standard boards with nice artworks, ding resistant and the most important: CHEAP.

Plastic warp surfboards made the success of BIC, what is new here is that they warp custom blank in a clear plastic.

Sorry for my frenglish


After looking at this pic and watching this video (skip to the 8:00 mark)…I absolutely get it.  Has a Swaylockian built a frame for this?  I guess it makes sense to use a rocker table under vacuum.  Would you basically “cutlap” the plastic, flip it, and repeat for the other side?  Seems like the stringer and any blank embellishments would contribute more to the ride than the skin.

Very interesting thread.

Its a great little video isnt it?   Everything from English geeks to Golden shoes to 3CPO’s bum…

Im currently building a frame to do this. As well as organise suppliers and working out the best way to provide economical heating.

My thinking would be to do the underside first and use a rocker table under the board or maybe a sandbag to support the board so it doesnt warp under pressure.

 Once the underside is done, trim, flip and repeat , as you said. Once the first shell cools and wraps around the rails i reckon the rocker of the board is almost unchangeable but some supports would ensure theres no change to the rocker or twist. A generic EPS rocker table would do the trick perfectly for both sides.

 Theres a few issues to confront but overall it seems pretty easy to me and damn quick. If I screwed a vac, Im guessing I could just cut the shell off and do it again…?

 Depending on the thickness of the plastic shell and the force of the vacuum would dictate the style of support… ( see white plastic box under tail in pic above)


Im doing a few tests with EPS XPS and poly for compatability with the plastics but if theres no resin it doesnt really matter what the blanks are made of…


 Something else Im pondering is…

 Maybe I can use this vacforming technique to make an ultralight fin frame or an ultralight legrope plug.  I could mould the convex side of a fin/s, flip and use pour-foam to fill the void and then seal the ‘flat’ side. They’d be fins with a positive bouyancy and maybe cost $1 a fin to make.

 The leash-plug would be something extra lightweight too.

Maybe I could vacform iPhone covers ???**  ;-)**


Hmmm, EPS blank with cork deck bagged on with glass underneath. Then you’d only need to shrink wrap the bottom and wrap it around the rails. Cutlap on the cork and have an exposed cork deck.

I wonder if that polycarbonate seam on the cork would be waterproof to keep water from seeping in at that line where it ends?

Lots of possibilities.


I’m curious what the structural properties of the polycarbonate are. The fiberglass that it’s replacing carries a key structural component to the surfboard as far as compressive and tensile strengths go.


Surffoils, I too am intrigued.  Thing of it is, according to other members, there were many made in Oz.  If I could spare the time, I would check into the many Australian surf websites to ask why it apparently did not pan out, before putting time & money into finding out any downsides.


Lawless I think you could have something there.