Re-thinking flexspoons

I recently tried making a flexspoon, well it was a project I stretched over 2 years, doing little bits here are there. Unfortuantly it didn’t end well as the humidity caused the pour foam to collapse and distort the spoon.

Not being discouraged I was planning on order a blank and using the scoop out method, eliminating the pour foam issue.


However I have been thinking about another option.

Rather than using multiple layers of glass to create the flex and incur the weight penatly, could all the flex be controlled by the foam rim, with the option of various materials for the planing area? Making for a much lighter and user friendly craft, that could potentially be used with a leash as it’s less likely to hold you underwater!

Plan is to build the rim of the spoon from xps, laminated with multiple layers of staggered carbon to create the desired flex.  Xps seems to have a pretty good flex memory, and in my experience doesn’t fatigue as quick pu or eps, so should pair well the carbon. I have read the xps threads here many times, however never experienced any of the reported out-gassing (Live/surf in NE England, it doesn’t get hot here!).

The planing/kneeling area will attach to the foam with bolts and threaded inserts. Allowing for different materials be be experimented with, polycarbonate, fabric, compsand panel, inflatable?

Fins would be mounted on the rim using fusion plugs.

I intend on this being a build thread so will post pics of my progress.





Hi , Matt !


 I’m looking forward to seeing what you come up with mate !


Yes ,  please post photos  …a build thread is LONG overdue on sways !!


  does that mean the previous one wasn’t ridden ???



 My brother used soft foam [ like boogieboard type stuff] , in the tail area of a ‘fishy’ kinda template he created from  reshaping the tail area of an old , existing kneelo , that he had .  He ground a lot of foam down off the deck’s tail area , then glued the soft foam on.  He went with twin keel type things , which were glassed onto the bottom couple of layers of glass.


 I posted a few photos of it here on sways once ,  but I can re-photograph it for you , if you would find it helpful ??


    cheers !


hi Matt !


  Here you go ,   I found them , mate !  [ they were hiding among my thousands of old photos , on my ‘photobucket’ account  ! ]

I REALISE that of course this board is NOT  a ‘spoon’ … I post these shots merely to show the way the foam was added [and the ‘fin’ setup , and legrope plug arrangement , too ]  …

photo zres58fishflexytail14_zpsd02f9d5a.jpg

photo zres58fishflexytail_zps4eab633a.jpg

photo zres58fishflexytail10_zpsf3c44414.jpg

photo zres58fishflexytail15_zps1c564b75.jpg

photo zres58fishflexytail2_zpsf2da4492.jpg

photo zres58fishflexytail6_zps522c616d.jpg

photo zres58fishflexytail5_zps0cf73f32.jpg

photo zres58fishflexytail4_zpse554468e.jpg





As you can see , he probably needed to scoop more deck out , so thinner foam could have been used.


However , bear in mind … this WAS done by  remodelling an existing [already glassed and finned] old kneelo of his [?!]


So , doing it from ‘scratch’ , with a new blank , would be a LOT easier , and more practical !





Tynemouthmatt said " Rather than using multiple layers of glass to create the flex and incur the weight penatly, could all the flex be controlled by the foam rim, with the option of various materials for the planing area? Making for a much lighter and user friendly craft, that could potentially be used with a leash as it’s less likely to hold you underwater! "

Ive tried it heaps of times with different materials, some of these are just a foam or glass perimeter and some have a solid deck but they all have a different hull.

 Some are clear vinyl like the red hand plane, some are mesh and some are inflatable hulls and some have a mesh deck and vinyl hull.

it does make for a lighter craft and brings about a more creative understanding of construction and without a solid hull there’s room to create a folding or sectional frame and just stretch a flexible hull over it.

Once you accept a flexible hull, the deck can be minimised down to a laminated bridge and the frame can be just two rails. There’s scope to develop a travelling surfcraft that not a mat but performs like a solid surfcraft and fits in a backpack.

P.S. Black glassing doesn’t like Aussie sun.



Hi Ben

No, the other spoon wasn’t ridden. I went through 2 lots of pour foam trying to sort the rails, realised it was a dead end so scrapped it.

Your brothers board looks similar to the Pendoflex boards.

Surffoils, have been following your creations. My spoon will be on similar grounds, very similar to your second board in that picture.

When to pick up some foam today from a local insulation supplier to find it has closed down, so currently in the search for somewhere local that has suitable size xps boards.

I have a friend ho works at a place that develops epoxy flooring and gave me ~5lt of their epoxy (before they add anything else).
I have done a small test lamination and it wets out ok, much thicker than RR and is alot more flexible when set. No idea how it sands yet. Tempted to try it out on this project though.

will post some sketches of the design soon.

Hi Matt, looking forward to seeing what you come up with. That pour foams expensive too !

The basis for these craft Ive done is two rails and then minimalising everything else.

Connecting the rails at the tail with a bridge from the top of the rails to provide a surface for the rider and connecting the front of the rails with a bridge from the underside of the front rails that creates a front planing surface. Then add a flexible hull, and / or a flexible deck too.

 A basic rectangular Simmons-ish outline seems to suit prone, kneelo and standup.

 Have you thought of laminating the XPS frame with veneer ?



… now it’s  fully intercontinental mad 'scientist ’ stuff


  ain’t swaylocks GRAND  eh ?


nearly as strange as putting ants or curry powder in a fin panel eh …


  cheers guys



Ill throw in a few mad scientist pics of an experimental build while Matts getting his ready…

heres the EPS mold build and preparation for a

Minimalist Vac-bag veneer / epoxy, Carapace style paipo hydrofoil…

aye yi yippy yippy yi yi !

Surffoils, that thing looks crazy!

Hadn’t thought of veneer, would be a good way to control flex. I don’t have a vac set up though.

Drew up some plans today.

5’ x 22"

Wide point 4" forward of centre.

16" at tail.

4" of nose rocker.

Going to try a bodyboard style bevelled rail, tapering out from a hard edge at the tail.

red shading on plans = bevel

blue shading = level.

Having trouble sourcing some suitable, reasonably priced xps so will likely switch to eps.

Pretty much immediately after posting the above I realised there was a few design flaws.

Mainly the detachable central area would have to curve up with the rocker.

Also the bottom bevelled rail creates an edge across the front, I imagine this would catch.

So the redesign addresses these issues, looks similar to an edgespoon now.

thats awesome Matt.

great idea to use the Polycarbonate as its indestructable.

 are you glassing in Nylon nuts to screw the poly into ?

 And how are you going to glass the frame ?

  The Grey board below is 2 X 6 oz top and bottom with Innegra deck patch and the Blue board is just a ring of EPS with 6 layers of glass and innegra wrapped from the top and bottom, it looked like a huge toilet set but its damn strong and at 44 inches long has minimal flex. The blue material is glued top and bottom to the frame and is inflated.

 Everysurfer said —" Remember the build threads, where someone did something unusual?  Haven’t seen one of those in a while."

He mustve missed this thread !

Here’s a link to the build of my laminated paipo…

Re: Polycarbonate

Just a precautionary note–NOTHING is indestructible. Nothing.  It is strong but there can be major forces applied in a hard cranked bottom turn on a sizeable wave.  And if you exceed the limits of the piece you are using it will snap and leave an edge sharp as a razor.  Not at all to discourage using it but just be aware and make certain you know the limits of your materials and don’t exceed them.

Dr Strange, thanks for the warning. I had considered this and will test the flex before using it. I don’t envisage it flexing enough to fail…but I guess you never know.

Surffoils, Lam schedule for the frame is however much carbon it takes till I struggle to flex it 1"(by pushing or pulling). 1" is fairly arbitary, but I guess if I struggle to flex it by that, it will flex at least 100% more under load during a bottom turn.

The flex can be tuned by adding or removing carbon from the frame.

I always have found it hard to get good idea from dry land testing flex what I will get in the water. Easy to tell more vs less flex of coure but I find it continually surprises me (slow learner?) how much load full contact water/wave can apply.  Good know you are heads up about it!  I will sleep better because of that


Can’t believe it has been a year! It seems I have this longstanding desire to build a spoon but never quite get there.

I recently changed my build method to an internally glassed compsand boards. I was beginning to worry about the constant exposure to noise, styrene and sanding dust and wanted a quieter, cleaner method. Pretty happy with the results so far. 

Decided it was once again time to attempt a spoon, this time using this new (to me) build process.

5’ x 21" with more of a lean towards an edgeboard. It does not have a raised edge but a tapering chine. 

Blank hotwired out of EPS 150 and outline cut 1/2 smaller.

1/4" internal cedar rail bands were steamed to shape and attached to foam with polyurethane glue.

Hull has been shaped in and is now ready for laminating.

Going for a initial lam of quad axial carbon/glass sandwiched between 6oz plain weave, with an external layer of Cherry veneer.

I’m not sure if this construction will hold up for the pressures a spoon goes under, there is also no way to tune the flex after it is built. So it is a case of guess work till it finally gets in the water.

Should have progress pics up in a few days.