Understanding Surfboard Construction Design Shapes
In this guide, we will explain the basics of Understanding Surfboard Construction Design Shapes, the lingo describing the nuances of surfboards parts and various designs and surfing board shapes
Building surfboards is both an art and a science. Designing the Shape of the board is the art that gives every board its uniqueness. By simply looking at the design, you might assume that the entire design process is simple. That notion changes the moment you look at the surfboard’s nitty-gritty elements. As a builder, we need to be highly cautious with the shape and dimensions as a little alteration will cause a whole lot of difference in the performance of the board.
While it is possible to buy a custom surfboard, most surfers purchase a board which will best suit your weight, athletic ability, different condition, and styles. First, you have to familiarize yourself with how a surfboard works before you can embark on determining the board that suits you best. All this may at first seem intimidating but with a little patience, proper tools, and the right design tips you will come away with a perfect surfboard on your first try.
Factors to Consider when Choosing a Surfboard
As a surfboard rider, you need to consider three elements:
- Parts of a surfboard
- Types of surfboards
- The material used to make surfboards
Parts of a Surfboard
Understanding different parts of a surfboard and their function helps you come up with a board that will enhance your surfing skills and increases the level of enjoyment when surfing. These components include;
- Length– this is the measurement from the nose to the tail of the surfboard. A longer surfboard allows you to catch more waves and hence paddle faster. When determining the length of the board, you have to consider the surfer’s weight and height.
- Width– this refers to the measurement of the widest part of the board. This part requires careful consideration as it affects the turning radius and riding style.
- Nose– this is the tip of the board and has great impact on paddling ability and entry into a wave.
- Tail– refers to the rear of the board and has an impact on the performance of the entire product.
- Rocker– refers to the board’s curvature and every foam blank comes with its rocker. You need to change it slightly to help handle steep drops slightly.
- Rails– are the outer edges of the board and have an impact on the planing speed, tube riding, and turning.
- Fins– they act as the board’s engine and help it move forward. They have an effect on the board’s turning radius, hold in the wave, drive, and general speed.
- Bottom contour– refers to the convex bottom also referred to as the hull. It sits low on the wave and moves slowly giving the surfer a smooth ride. It has an impact on speed, riding style, and turning capability.
- Deck– this is the top part of the board and its design is determined by the surfboard’s rails.
Understanding Surfboard Construction Design Shapes
The following are available surfboard designs depending on the requirements of the surfer.
- Funboards– these are large with a length ranging from 6 to 8 feet. They also have great volume allowing the surfer to balance easily, a feature that makes them suitable for beginners.
- Shortboards– these are below 7 feet long and are most suitable for aggressive surfing. They are mostly used in competition surfing on waist high to double overhead waves.
- Longboards– their length range from 8 to 12 feet long. They are thick and wide, features that allow them to ride exceptionally well and best for beginners.
- Fish boards– they are shorter, wider, and flatter than the shortboards. Their small size and design make them the perfect boards for a mushy surf.
- Gun boards– they have bigger boards and their length range from 6’6 to 10 feet. Their design allows the surfer to paddle fast and catch fast and heavy waves.
Materials Used for Making Surfboards
Hard, Epoxy or Polyester Boards
- Fiberglass cloth– a layer or two of fiberglass cloth is applied lengthwise, board, and deck on the surfboard to strengthen it. Other alternative materials such as carbon fiber and Kevlar can also be used.
- Foam blank- the foam blank comes in a crude form and you have to shape it until you reach at the desired shape of the surfboard. The foams can be urethane aka poly boards or the blank can be expanded polystyrene or extruded polystyrene aka EPS Epoxy surfboards.
- Resin– this is used to bond the cloth to the shaped foam. This is done by pouring the resin on the foam and the cloth until it is uniformly saturated. Epoxy resin is used on EPS foams. Urethane foam uses polyester resin.
- Stringer– this is the structure that runs down the center of foam blank. Its purpose is to strengthen and provide flex memory to the board. If you want to create better flex memory, move the stringer from the foam center to the rails. Stringers can be wood, carbon fiber, fiberglass, even plastic.
Soft Surfing Boards
Foam Laminate: Usually an EPS core blank with an Expanded Polyethylene foam deck and a slick bottom of High-Density plastic. The method of laminating these 3 different materials can be a challenge. Glued lamination almost always fails. Heat, melting the materials together is the most durable method. Heat lamination is less likely to Delaminate destroying the surfing board. Some Softboards do not have support stringers inside the foam blank, avoid these as they snap easily. Stringer systems vary in strength, the strongest is the Patented Liquid Shredder Dual Aluminum/Carbon/Fiber system. If you are looking at a board without the Aluminum system, dual wood stringers can work in boards up to about 7ft. Beyond that length a third Fiberglass is required. Glass EPS core blank foams vary in water “resistance”, none are waterproof. Most Foam Laminate board fins are attached by screws through the board. These holes penetrate the waterproof deck and bottom material into the EPS. If not fitted with rub tube seals, the surfing board will gain water weight and fail. For more info on Fin Seals CLICK HERE. All Liquid Shredder Soft Surfing Boards are equipped with Fin Seals and the strongest stringer systems available.
Peruvian Patented Hybrids: These Soft Top Surfing Boards have an EPS core but the deck and bottom are not laminated. In a Patented construction, the outer skin is heat shrink wrapped around the foam blank. Since it is not Laminated, it cannot Delaminate. All Patented Peruvian surfing and SUP Paddleboards use this process and the Dual Aluminum stringer system. CLICK HERE for Details On Patented Peruvian Board Construction