Submitted by indo-dreaming on Sun, 12/15/2013 - 15:25
Im starting this topic as a reference point for board builders that are making boards that are not traditional construction, (polyurethane foam and polyester resin)
Please share board makers big or small that are doing alternative builds and your thoughts or experience with there boards.
yeah Mary give us another update soon ,wonder how good that vent is on a hot day....interesting construction though.Only ever seen a bamboo deck one before and it seemed to be going real good especially when the rider scored a sick pit in front of me....
Wish I'd seen this thread before, lots of good info Indo
Currently running 3 boards
- PU with slightly heavier glass 644. Works best around good 6ft
- Firewire FST for everyday 2-5ft unless the surf is lumpy bumpy windblown. Surfed it this morning on open beachbreak. Too light plus my limited ability
- PU 2-5ft with 444 glass. Great board for the lump, and different conditions and days
FST easily the most durable, 644 surprisingly ok, 444 is like fine china. FST has really impressed me so far.
Thank god for classifieds & gumtree for feeding me most of these boards :-)
2 months old now. Board still goes great. A couple of very shallow deck depressions have started to form finally. No depressions on the bottom. I can't see any dings anywhere. The lighter EPS/epoxy boards I've tried in the past do tend to ride too high in the water and skip out but with the carbon layer this one is a bit heavier and it just feels better.
Still like the way PU boards surf a bit more but for the price and being so durable I can't complain.
How much would that carbon layer weigh do you think Mary?
Kind of hard to tell without knowing the specifics of all the other components. IIRC, most CF cloth used in applications like this is ~5 - 6oz.
The board I compared it to was a different volume than I thought it was... so the stealth board actually weighs about as much as a 6+4 / 4 glassed PU board. EPS/epoxy boards are often anywhere from 300-500 grams lighter than equivalent volume PU boards... so I'd guess the carbon fibre layer weighs somewhere in that range.
regarding Cal Liddle and epoxy boards mentioned much earlier in this thread. Cal ceased making custom shaped vacuum bagged epoxy boards around 2006 as, in his words 'you have to make them (the boards) pay'. Yes , they were well constructed and very durable. I had two, I gave one to a younger cousin 10 yrs ago and it still gets surfed and the other gathers dust in the shed, I am too fat for it these days. The foams he used were blue (extruded not expanded) EPS with a deck skin of PVC foam. They were laminated top and bottom in one layup then bagged and vacuumed on a rocker jig. To explode a few myths, extruded EPS does wick when exposed to water but less quickly than expanded EPS(coolite) and to my knowledge he has not shaped in Hawaii but has been there.Cal is pretty underground, I doubt if he has ever sent an email let alone posted on a forum. He is still handshaping at his Yamba factory in his little cave and still gets the odd big baz at Angourie. He has also been known to surf big Yamba bar on his own, paddling across from Lovett's. A crazy guy or just able to access a logical, coherent unity?
underground craftsmen of superb skills and a really nice bloke.
know this sounds like a stretch, but even if you aren’t an auto-racing fan, the sport still manages to touch your life every time you drive a car. Pardon the gearhead-speak for a moment, but useful and often lifesaving advances like disc brakes, radial tires, fast-shifting automatic transmissions, and traction control—among many other bits of automotive gadgetry that you’re using whether you realize it or not—all had their debuts as cutting-edge technologies in the car-racing world years before they found their way into your dinged-up Civic. This trickle-down effect is pretty common in the rest of the sports world, too. Howitzer-powered carbon-fiber tennis rackets, space-age graphite-shaft golf clubs, those springy gel-foam running shoes you love to wear to the coffee shop and the mall—all were designed for the world’s best athletes. That gear made its way into our Amazon carts (and became forgotten in the backs of our closets) long after the tech it was based on was vouched for by the pros.
In surfing, however, that tech flow seems to run upstream.
With the exception of subtle board-design tweaks that would be useless and incomprehensible for most of us, anyway, today’s highest-flying pros are, for the most part, riding boards made with technology that lags far behind what your average Joe can grab off the rack at pretty much any surf shop in the country. Polyurethane foam and fiberglass, still? Really? It’s been 60 years since Dave Sweet first started selling foam boards at Malibu, and the world’s best surfers are still slaves to these things? Do they really think we reached the pinnacle of surfboard construction with the first advancement after wood?
Weirdly, this means that if you’ve ever ridden a carbon-railed, stringer-less epoxy (and I’d assume you have, considering how many of those things I see clogging up my local lineup), then you’ve ridden a board made with materials far more advanced than anything most of the pros on Tour have ever ridden in a heat.
And the advances in surfboards go way beyond fancy stiff rails or weird tail shapes. If our sporting surf stars were a bit more open-minded, they’d learn that some of the most adventurous leaps in surfboard materials these days are being made by the mad eco-warrior scientists tinkering away in their solar-powered, passively heated labs. From epoxy resins made from biowaste to durable, recycled-EPS blanks to strange new foams made from pretty much any organic material you can think of, lots of the most radical advances in surfboard construction are coming from the sustainably minded wing of the board-building industry.
Yet the days when a WSL pro steps onto anything but a board made with the traditional polyurethane/wood-stringer sandwich are rare indeed. Sure, there’ve been a handful of exceptions. Slater’s taken to toying with oddly shaped boards made with exotic epoxies over the past couple years. Michel Bourez, Sally Fitzgibbons, and Taj Burrow all have ridden Firewires in competition. And Stu Kennedy destroyed Fantasy Surfer dreams everywhere when he used his quiver of otherworldly Tomos to punch above his weight class as a wildcard in the first couple ’CT events of the year.
If you’ve ever ridden a carbon-railed, stringer-less epoxy, then you’ve ridden a board made with materials far more advanced than anything most of the pros on Tour have ever ridden
in a heat.
But even the relatively advanced materials ridden by Slater and company were already widely available to civilian surfers years before they found their way under the elite feet of the world’s best. It’s strange when you consider that top pros will often blow through 100 boards in a year; with that kind of turnover, you’d think they’d be more willing to mix in a new bit of kit every once in a while. But the pressure to win, and the predictability of the old polyurethane standby, has proven too big a hurdle for them to really embrace new materials. It’s almost as if us common folk get to decide what works when it comes to advances in surfboard materials, and if the pros want to give it a whirl, they take a cue from us.
Beloved shaper and half-man, half-bear Maurice Cole is just as perplexed as I am by the weird lag between interesting advances in surfboard materials and the archaic equipment elite pros ride. He’s especially interested in the advances in sustainably produced materials. At a panel discussion during the most recent Boardroom surf show in San Diego, Cole suggested to the crowd that the WSL should implement a rule requiring the use of environmentally friendlier boards in their contests. A longtime auto-racing fan, Cole explained that back in 2014, the suits directing Formula One (the world’s most elite car-racing series) decided that all cars would switch to six-cylinder hybrid motors, which are far more fuel efficient than the gas-guzzling eight-cylinder motors they replaced. If Formula One could require a dramatic change in the equipment their pros use—all in the name of being a bit more environmentally friendly—Cole wondered aloud, why not surfing?
It’s worth pointing out that Formula One’s experiment was a huge success. The cars are actually more efficient while producing the same, if not more, power and even higher performance. And whatever secrets automotive engineers unlock powering the world’s most advanced race cars will get plugged right into consumer cars in the next few years.
Cole recently shared with me a letter he wrote to the WSL brass. In the letter, Cole asked why surfing shouldn’t follow Formula One’s lead, and he outlined a multi-year proposal that would phase in sustainable surfboards for all riders. (The WSL responded saying that they’ve been trying to figure out a way to encourage more sustainable directives in all phases of the Tour, including surfboards.) Cole’s hope is that if more pros start riding sustainably made boards, more average Joes will too.
He’s probably right. For those materially conservative surfers who still take their cues from whatever Kolohe Andino is riding, WSL-level endorsement of non-traditional board construction would be a big motivator to give something different a try. And it’s certainly about time. The Shortboard Revolution was 50 years ago, and the next revolution in surfboards is long overdue. Who knows, in another 50 maybe somebody like me will be bitching about riding the same old blanks made from tree fungus.
[This feature originally appeared in “Hidden In Plain Sight,” our October 2016 Issue, on newsstands and available for download now.]
Read more at http://www.surfermag.com/blogs/culture/trickle-up-surfonomics/#K0Hz3hGvB...
Surfing the outside bar at Yamba is amazing especially with no ski. A big hats off to him.
1st pic - how cool is that.
This may be common knowledge nowdays, not sure. But what everyone here seems to miss is that epoxy doesn't have to mean epoxy resin on some weird non-PU foam, carbon rails etc. The solution to all your problems is just replace the old PE resin with good epoxy resin. Will cost you $50-100 extra from the shaper and is no lighter or heavier, epoxy is it less brittle and more flexible than PE resin => dings way less and you get less pressures and is more snap resistant. You can also just repair any dings with PE resin or epoxy, whatever you have (it is the dodgy XPS/EPS foam used in the old 'EPOXY' boards that doesn't like PE resin). I have done 3 boards with PU foam and epoxy resin, they are so much stronger than PE-PU boards.
My latest board has just 4x4x4 and epoxy and has barely any pressures and I have been thrashing it in head-high indo surf for over 3 months. About the only downside apart from the slightly extra cost is that some epoxy resins can slightly yellow pretty quickly, its not extreme, like an old PE-PU board, but the white will fade slightly, not an issue to myself for the sake of not having to see pressures and dings all over my board and the confidence that I'm not going to have to buy a new one so quickly. I have a CI custom PE-PU that has pressures after just one surf and it has 6x4x4 glass!?!!?!?! Quite simply, many big brands do not want to push this simple tech because it degrades the bottom line => too much of an increase in board lifetime for too little increase in revenue. Anyway, I have done it, it works, it is the best thing since sliced bread, for myself at least.
A Currumbin company mentioned in the article. Lemongrass core? No mention of laminates or resins, composites or stiffeners
Thanks for the contributions here everyone , Some good ideas .
I have ridden 3 of these different technologies. I was always on PU boards before and hated the look and feel of epoxy. Lately these new materials have got my interest though and there are so many options. So far I have bough a 5'9 Firewire, 5'9 Joistik Karboload and 5'8 Futureflex. All small wave groveller designs. All the boards are light and so far durable. My favourite by far was the Cab Sav in Karboload Tech (https://www.joistiksurfboards.com/technology/karboload). The Cab sav felt way more alive than the others, super responsive and more manoeuvrable. All of the epoxies were more expensive but all 3 are in great condition, no dings a year later so I guess worth the extra.
"I've ridden Hayden Future Flex but don't like the feel of them. Too light for my liking, hard to engage a rail and any sort of chop bounced the board about. I like the flex but not the weight. So if FF were made heavier I'd consider buying one. As it is I like my PU boards at the moment."
My Hayden Futureflex I find too stiff and sat high in the water. Like top to bottom says any sort of chop bounces it around. I like my FireWire baked potato much better.
PU boards with epoxy resin do not look very white but if you don't mind the yellow tinge I guess it is an option
I'm currently getting my woodies weight down with frame construction using 3 and 4mm ply, epoxy composite glass / 2mm paulownia skin. Will be changing to bamboo material when I run out of glass. Frames designed from http://boardcad.com/, fins ply/glass composite, very light and stiff, routed in house designed with http://www.finfoil.io/ . It's nice to design on the pc, out to the shed, route components, then assemble. Construction is getting quicker and should be economical soon. Frame costs similar to pu blanks, any computer designed board can translate foam core --> wood frame.
Hi Guys, Loved all the comments and info here..
I have moved back to Oz from Bali.. did way too much R&D over there lol.. anyway im back on the coast and making only CUSTOM Dynocore and PU boards.. hit me up if you want one +61419246595 , cheers
While in Bali checking out some sustainable surfboard construction
Damo Cole son of Maurice had a surfing accident and needed surgery
Needs some financial help $
MC surfboards insta for info
EDIT: 20K crowdfund goal reached...Yew.
No travel insurance?
Anyone tried one of these?
that flax cloth looks great.
I like the look of these
Hydroflex went bankrupt a couple of years ago , ended up making some great boards , but also made quite a few which were not infused , hand laminated , was a complete disaster in the end......by far the best Glassing tech is at Varial foam , which has a similar infused technology as Hydroflex , but a lot more advanced , also have really interesting foam , but smells bad!https://www.varialsurf.com/pages/new-technology
hey Indo , just came across this which I think is relevant to the discussion , why are Pro surfers still breaking boards when there are technologies that can make a surfboard bullet proof and still very high performance?
Why do all pros ride PU /Polyester as their go to construction ?
what affect does having Pro's riding disposable equipment have on the market , when there are so many superior technologies to make boards out of ..??
Imagine if Pro's could not break or have only 5-? boards a year??
Sounds like a great initiative. Keep pushing!
Good stuff Maur- sorry, Brutus.
I take it Mr Cole produces such sustainable, durable high-performance boards?
I have been following this thread with interest as we supply alternative materials to the surfboard manufacturing industry, some of the big guys are talking about testing "eco" models and they say they are getting pushed by their customers to do this..
But the first question with all the new fabrics is "does this come in white?" the issue is that they think they cant look different to what they are selling/marketing now. unfortunately they think there is a formula to selling new boards - bring out a model (which is a slightly tweaked version of what the pro was riding last year), do a marketing video about the new board, put it under a feet of a pro and then get them to ride it in a contest hoping that they win so they can come back to do another push on how awesome this board is. It can't look too different as if the pro doesn't win on it - then they don't have much bad media and they can go back to pushing the new model with social media instead. The issue is that this will continue to repeat itself as every one has a stake in this - the board manufacture can't risk the model looking too different, the pro can"t risk be seen riding a board that doesn't "perform" (even though pros have bad days sometimes).
its the backyarders that are happy to try these out and understand that it might look different... but dont have the pressures that the big guys have, They can start working on a concept, ride the board, tweak it a bit, do another one, tweak it a bit more until they understand how it performs and the differences. The Woolight shown above, is a good example of this Paul worked on this concept for years before Firewire picked up the rights to it. Its a very different laminating/ finishing processes to a normal board but he showed to Firewire how it could be done ... they then worked out a way to mass produce.
Not saying that we all should swap over to wool boards, but until we open our minds to the different material, processes and not worry too much about the marketing, we will be staying on PU/Poly boards.
"hey Indo , just came across this which I think is relevant to the discussion , why are Pro surfers still breaking boards when there are technologies that can make a surfboard bullet proof and still very high performance?
Why do all pros ride PU /Polyester as their go to construction ?
what affect does having Pro's riding disposable equipment have on the market , when there are so many superior technologies to make boards out of ..??
Imagine if Pro's could not break or have only 5-? boards a year??"
Firstly i think it's important to point out the needs of a pro surfer and a every day surfer differ, personally im not that interested in what pros ride, i rarely ride high performance shapes and ive never got a board as lightly glassed as a pro. (but have sampled very lightly glassed boards)
Obviously pros get very lightly glassed PU/PE boards because they go good, durability is not of that much importance, almost all everyday surfers take a compromise for a bit of lack of performance for a slightly more durable board.
Even FW team riders often do this with lighter glass jobs than stock boards, looks like even Michel has now done this although for a long time he was said to prefer FST in exactly the same construction as sold in store.
Almost all pros ride PU/PE boards because thats what almost all shapers produce, and its easy and quick to get a board shaped, it's what most of us have grown up on.
Performance wise there is absolutely nothing wrong with PU/PE boards, it's a safe bet if your a pro.
But im not a a pro, when i get a board i love and im getting a ding every week or so or i get off the plane in Indo and open my board bag and my new PU/PE board is dinged up for me its sucks, i get bummed out.
So my search has been for over ten years now for a board that still goes good but has a decent degree of durability.
For me all the different builds out there are just like different flavours, or different brews of beer, i have my favs and i still like the old go to beer i grew up on, but i also enjoy sampling new brews.
BTW durability in regards to dings etc is not the same as durability to snappage, i discovered boards that are more durable and go good, bit i haven't discovered a board that is stronger in regards to likely hood of snapping.
I regards to why more shapers dont experiment with different materials.
1. Time is money and for most they dont have the luxury of experimentation with materials. (and not set up too do this) a good quality product/construction could take months to years to get right.
2. Where is the incentive to produce a more durable board?
Longer lasting boards could even mean you sell less boards, that not good for business.
3. Increased cost of production, possibly higher cost of materials or definitely increased labor cost, means increase selling price
As we know surfboards are too cheap as it is, many guys dont want to pay more for boards, so it's a niche market.
You might get to the stage where you just tire of using the toxic materials so damaging to the world and will try to find a way to go back to how surfing always was (Olo from Koa, oiled) except with modern performance.
Don't agree with much of what Indo wrote.
Almost all board manufacturers I can think of around here, and I'm talking everyone I can think of between Ballina and Burleigh; hundreds of shapers and manufacturers has experimented at the least with most becoming proficient with different materials.
Most have commercialised them to some extent.
So it's not the shapers.
Pros ride Pu/Pe for one reason and it's not that it;'s the only thing shapers will make them. I would be very surprised if every surfer in the top 34 and way further down the QS rankings has not experimented thoroughly with at least EPS/epoxy builds.
Pros ride pu/pe because of the reliable handling. It doesn't have quirks like eps/epoxy and it's very easily customisable.
Seems like at least a few pros have dialled in eps/epoxy builds for smaller surf and at least a couple ride it all the time.
Bourez with the FW build and Ace Buchan has been riding the JS version of an eps/epoxy build.
Seen many variants of EPS/epoxy come and go through here and just about every surf er I know is now familiar with them.
Most have gone back to pu/pe of some flavour.
It's also incredibly easy to customise a pu/pe build and make it far, far more durable for a tiny weight penalty that most will not notice or actually prefer.
I've got a CI Happy with a team light glass job and you just look at it sideways and it dents.
I've also got a Pyzel Ghost that is slightly heavier, feels much better to me and is 2 years old and very heavily surfed.
Barely got a dent in it. I stripped the wax off it and the thing looks close to brand new.
No surprise things are different on the north coast of NSW everything there is about experimentation lifestyle, houses, art, music, drugs, surfboards.
Down here Vico of the four or so places that shape boards locally, ive only seen one EPS/Epoxy made board and as expected was pretty shitty, just a poor FW FST copy.
It's all just about familiarity really, humans are creatures of habit and like familiarity.
I'm talking about the Gold Coast as well and some of Australia's major board labels.
DHD and JS being the two major examples.
But yeah, 20 years ago in Byron they were doing full vac bagged bamboo boards as a commercial project.
Sunny Garcia rode them.
Vac bagged hemp boards came and went too.
Yep major labels trying to get in on a niche market (which is a good thing the more experimentation the better those DHD epoxy core boards look real interesting)
BTW. Pretty sure those JS are made in Thailand wouldn't be surprised if the DHD one are too.
Both are about $100 more than their PU/PE boards
Reality is when you start doing different constructions like talked about in this thread material and labor cost increase, most guys aren't willing to pay more for boards it's still a niche market, possibly will always be a niche market.
It's not because EPS or Epoxy dont work though or Vac bagged hemp boards dont work, it more do to do with people sticking to what they know, familiarity and can the extra cost be justified on an unknown?
Im not against PU/PE i still have PU/PE boards but im also a fan of experimentation in materials as you would see in this thread, if i had the money id buy boards from all these shapers/labels mentioned, i love trying them out seeing how they go and seeing how they stand up.
EPS/epoxy is nowhere near a niche market.
Totally mainstream: Firewire, Fibreflex, Tuflite, Bic surfboards, NSP etc etc.
Been some of the biggest selling surfboards in the last 20 years.
Not to mention Bob McTavish ill fated attempt at eps/epoxy molded Pro Circuit boards.
The surfboard buying public has has broad access to many variants of EPS/epoxy for more than 20 years now. People return to pu/pe because it rides well, is easy to work with and very customisable.
Niche markets, ironically enough, are high priced hipster boards, almost all made with pu/pe and customers totally prepared to pay well north of a thousand dollars.
"A niche market is the subset of the market on which a specific product is focused. The market niche defines the product features aimed at satisfying specific market needs, as well as the price range, production quality and the demographics that it is intended to target. It is also a small market segment."
Fair to say 9 out of 10 boards sold (or even more) are PU/PE, EPS/Epoxy is a niche market, needs and price are also different.
Two seperate niche markets actually.
1. Aimed at everyday surfers, like FW, Fiberflex, Sunova, Diverse etc where there is a balance between durability and performance.
2. Boards aimed at beginners or weekend warriors like Tuflite, Bic surfboards, NSP that are often more like gel coated boats.
IMHO these second group of boards are actually a negative and a reason for many of the fallacies of EPS/Epoxy i got given an old Tufflite board from a mate in about 2011 and yes that thing was as stiff as a brick and did feel chop and bump, it was horrible.
Biggest selling surfboard in Aus was a Haydenshapes FF Hypto Krypto a few years ago.
Biggest seller in 2017 was the FW Sci-Fi.
Both EPS/epoxy boards.
Nowhere near a niche product, totally mainstream.
Biggest selling surfboard in USA is a Wavestorm.
Beginner markets also are not niche. Totally mainstream.
There are no fallacies about EPS/Epoxy, just user experiences that are now almost ubiquitous ie just about every surfer has now tried them and has their own experiences to inform them.
Look around this website, you will read about them everywhere.
This is about the greenest way to make a surfboard.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TWrylnmQ2M0
The paulownia trees you see in the background at the start all got bulldozed into piles and burnt, there was at least 80 acres of paulownia, enough to make several thousand surfboards.
Niche markets are just specialty areas of a bigger market, the whole market is mainstream.
For instance those beginner type boards, or soft boards are a niche market there not aimed at everyone or trying to compete against all the other PU/PE guys.
I guess it is true that that line is bluring though with EPS/Epoxy with less focus on durability and more aimed at the younger high performance market.
Anyway it's a silly discussion.at least down here in Vicco im still very limited for choice with EPS/Epoxy none of my local shapers shape them and of the local shops 2 out of 4 sell a limited number of them mostly FWs
Off course your mindset is this is because you believe EPS/Epoxy doesn't work but then you admit some of the most popular board models in recent time have been EPS/Epoxy.
Before you say their success is all about marketing, i dont agree, the Hypo crypto took off just because it's a great all round shape especially for smaller waves and got lots of good reviews etc
And lots of people went out and bought the FW Sci-Fi mainly because of Stu kennedy absolutely blowing up on one.
There is plenty of fallacies on EPS/Epoxy i mean can you explain how a board of the correct buoyancy can sit higher in the water when surfing?
It just doesn't make any sense if it was true, it could actually open up different design possibilities to take advantage of this or at least be able to reduce thickness etc in a board, even the extra float thing if true IMHO is way overstated, i really wish it was true im not a great paddler i need foam to paddle but i like my boards as thin as possible, if i could have the best of both worlds it would be awesome.
Or how can a board of the correct buoyancy be corky? a PU/PE board can also be corky if over volumed
The problem is there is so much variation between different EPS/Epoxy constructions, you cant just say EPS/Epoxy is this or that, no stringer, traditional stringer, non timber stringer, rods, parabolic rails, different types of composite construction, different deck skins, use of timber,.bamboo, hemp, flax, cork, different epoxy resins, different density foams etc so many variables.
Yeah sure you can have variables with PU/PE but they are generally much more limited.
People also often come to a conclusion on EPS/Epoxy after one surf on a board, i almost did this, i got convinced by my mate working at my local shop to test a FW board and in all honesty it felt corky and felt like it sat high in the water (looking back now obviously it was over volumed)
My second experience with EPS.Epoxy was after i came back from Indo after a six month trip with no boards all snapped and no money, a mate gave me a crappy surf tech board and again although it got me through it was super stiff and yes it did chatter (something that my FW boards dont do) I guess it was a volume suitable for me though because there was no issues with feeling corky etc
So my first two experiences with EPS/Epoxy were actually not very good, it was only by luck i came across a FW board in the exact dims and shape i was after, that was brand new but only $500AUD and i just had a spur of the moment buy, and first surf the thing felt amazing so lively i ended up snapping it a few years latter but it was still one of the best boards ive had.
I do actually have another in Indo exactly the same, its still a good board, but i think my body weight and fitness etc has changed so its no longer as good as i remember the original one i had.
Thats a whole other discussion though, that a magic board for one period of time, might not be a magic board for us if we re surf it say 5 to 10 years latter, not because the board has changed but we physically do, weight, fitness, and maybe even just how we approach waves or what we need in a board changes.
Hypto’s success was hugely to do with marketing. And Craig Anderson. If he wasn’t blowing up in popularity a few years ago riding Hypto’s then they wouldn’t be anywhere near as popular