The Surfboard Materials Race
It seems that almost every month there is a new “advanced construction” going down. Every major brand is trying (and most of them successfully to some degree) to come up with new constructions to help improve flex, recoil, weight, strength…over all performance of a surfboard. This is without even considering different shapes, just the materials involved in the build to help set these brands apart.
Some developing their own that they plan to use exclusively on their boards, others designed and made available for any other brand to make use of.
The vast majority of these “new” or unique construction methods focus on flex properties of a board in one way or another. Some directing their attention to the amount of flex and recoil, other focusing more on torsional flex, the twisting of a board.
Most of these technologies are also related to Epoxy boards only. With the exception of DHD Surfboards new Epoxicore which actually blends Polyurethane foam with EPS foam. This may be due to the fact that since EPS/Epoxy surfboards have been experimented with, ultimately people are looking to create that optimal flex that our traditional PU boards have given us over the years, but in with a lightweight board. EPS foam is completely different than PU, so its natural flex properties are vastly different on their own.
DHD Surfboards new Epoxicore has been rigorously tested by Steph Gilmore, Mick Fanning and Jack Freestone…all loving the results.
It’s also good to take an in-depth look at surfboard constructions from the point of view of different board performance characteristics like Surfboard Flex.
And let’s set the record straight here too… the majority of these constructions have been developed and evolved over time.
Many new technologies are the result of the combination of ongoing experimentation with materials in different forms and a positive reinforcement from pro-testers. A good shaper/craftsman looks to the past and the future at the same time and gets input from surfers. What has worked in the past and what hasn’t…and if there is a process or method that should work in theory, but has not had success in the past, why is that? Maybe it has to be seen through a new pair of eyes and tweaked a little to really open it’s potential.
Future Flex construction from Haydenshapes is widely available from most brands if you request it.
There was/is nothing new with constructions or materials used like Haydenshapes Future Flex , SUPERbrands SUPERflex or DHD’s Epoxicore except for the way they are used.
All of these brands have looked to the past for how each material or construction had been used, and either put their own spin on it or took the time to experiment with different variations using the worlds best surfers to refine them to optimal performance levels.
The carbon vector net is essential in the SUPERBrand SUPERFlex construction.
Carbon Wrap Technology comes to mind as an existing material used in a unique way. DMS Surfboards toyed with the idea of laying the carbon down in strategic patterns to help control the flex and spring of their boards. Now it has caught the attention of Lost Surfboards Matt Biolos, who seems to be stoked on the results and offers it for all of their models too.
DMS Surfboards Carbon Wrap Technology is turning heads, including Matt Biolos’s from Lost Surfboards.
The Future comes in the form of new materials that are making themselves available. Varial Foam for example, although the material has been used in Aerospace for years, it is relatively new the surf industry. Shaper Jeff “Doc” Lausch of Surf Prescriptions played a huge roll in bringing this material into the lime light. Now almost everyone around the globe is using it or at a least sampling it.
One thing that is clear, it is an exciting time for surfboard development. From all the new materials/constructions, designs, Wave Pools, etc…there is so much happening and we imagine that 2016 is going to bring us a lot more.
It seems that the Surf Industry is starting to put more focus back on boards lately than in recent years which is rad. We can only imagine what boards will be available and what some surfers will be doing with these new technologies in the next year or so to come.
Master shaper Jeff “Doc” Lausch loves to experiment with new materials. Here he is with the founders of Varial Foam Edison Conner and Parker Borneman.
Limits are being pushed daily around the world with regards to both design/construction and performance levels. But we can’t forget out past either…we still love our older tried and true designs and the feel you can get from them. The most progressive high performance shortboard will never feel the same as a Retro Fish or traditional longboard.
What will we be surfing in the next 20 years? Only time will tell…
That’s not to say on style of board or construction is better than another, just that they are all different. That’s the beauty about surfboards, they can all be different. There is no right or wrong…just what gives you the most enjoyment. Many people are not into high performance surfboards just like many people are not into fish’s or logs…to each his/her own.
Why not embrace the old and the new. There is room to appreciate all.
Make sure you check out the Board Engine to find a range of boards all made in America by professional shapers at the top of their crafts. Email [email protected] with your details for a detailed report of board recommendations for you.