Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Aloha,
Thanks for visiting the epoxy surf blog. Two days ago Clark Foam closed it's factory and the surfboards industry is in turmoil. I created this blog as a discussion forum for new options, including the use of new core materials and epoxy resin. I have been using epoxy sandwich windsurf boards since the mid 80's and epoxy surfboards since they were first introduced and became convinced that epoxy is not only stronger and more durable but also has superior performance to conventional poyester surfboards. The biggest downside of production boards is that they cannot be customized. The surfer/ shapers are crucial to the development of new designs, developing and incrementally improving shapes. I am very concerned that with a blank shortage this process will slow down and many shapers will suffer.

A couple of years ago I talked to a glasser that was glassing a board without a respirator in the middle of a crowded ASR show. He was using epoxy resin with very little volatile compounds, which was just one of the many advantages. It seemed to me like this was the future of custom board production but it still has not taken hold. I guess shapers and glassers were comfortable with the traditional clark foam/ poly resin construction process and saw no reason to change. Now it's a matter of survival to take a more serious look at alternative materials. Does anyone have more information of this production process?

I have been involved in introducing production epoxy surfboards to the Hawaii surf market through Blue Planet Surf Shop in Honolulu and as the Boardworks distributor for Hawaii and more recently introducing Rock Solid Surfboards shaped by Chuck Andrus and manufactured in Brazil. I'm hoping this blog will become a forum for information on new production techniques that will help keep the surfboard industry progessinve and creative. If you have any questions or information on surfboard manufacturing or ideas, tips, etc, please post it here!
Mahalo!


Epoxy Surf: Blue Planet Team at the 2015 M2O race with Carbon/ Epoxy SUP race boards preparing to cross the 32 mile Molokai to Oahu channel.

8 comments:

MikeB said...

what about EPS? it traditionally has not been the preferred material of choice, but there are some heavier densities now that seem to better suited for shaping, and it can be produced locally...any interest?

epoxysurfer said...

Hi,
I guess the problem with shaping EPS foam is that it is not very rigid, so it is hard to shape, also most shaping tools can easily rip the foam. The best way is to cut the rockerline out of a foam block with a hotwire using a rocker template or a computerized cutting machine. Then create a high density foam sandwich using vaccum bags. This technology had been used to build custom windsurf boards since the early 80's and by some forward thinking surboard shapers as well.

I have been doing some research and found some really useful information on how to build a shortboard using this technology at:
http://www.swaylocks.com/forum/gforum.cgi?do=post_view_flat;post=183391;page=1;mh=-1;guest=3249436;sb=post_latest_reply;so=ASC

I will post links to more useful infromation as I find it.
Aloha!

epoxysurfer said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
epoxysurfer said...

Segway composites offers a composite blank with a 1 lbs. density EPS core with 4lbs density rails glued on, looks like a great idea. Check it out at:

http://www.segwaycomposites.com/ParabolicSystem.html

jtroy said...

EPS foam is now available in higher densities that are easier to shape at Segway composites. Also there is molded EPS foam that are steam blown in molds and have tighter well fused beads that shape similar to urethane at Markofoam/surflight

Proctor Surfboards said...

Here is what Todd Proctor is doing, after about 10 years of research on the best way to build epoxy boards that combine strength with performance:
PROCTORSURF.COM/PROXY.HTML

* Stronger than before, lighter than before, with an even more responsive/ longer lasting flex memory *

1. Made from materials designed for the highest performance surfing possible – utilizes specific flex patterns to increase the board’s torque through turns.
2. Stronger than the molded boards
3. Lighter than traditional p/u boards (polyurethane)
4. Custom designed...no pop-outs.
5. Now with unlimited custom graphics options.


This is our latest development in the flexible epoxy series.
The concept is simple enough….picture how a dolphin moves through the water; it’s body in a constant state of torque and acceleration – this same cause and effect is what drives the new Proxy series. The boards flex when you lay into ‘em and spring back through turns, creating a slingshot effect.

The new process begins with an ultra-lightweight epoxy “Fusion Core” for the shaped blank - a uniquely formulated eps that has been fused under higher pressures to achieve greater compression strength and less ‘worm holes’ (i.e open pores typical with standard eps foams. These open pores, or worm holes add unnecessary weight due to water or resin absorption into the blank.) The “Fusion Core” does not suck in water, bubble or delaminate over time like other custom epoxy boards are prone to do.
The Fusion Core is then preshaped on our DSD cnc machine (computer numeric control). I custom design each board on the DSD cad design program. This allows me to further customize my most proven shapes…tailored to each surfer’s specific needs. Once certain specifics are established i.e. the surfer’s height, weight and the type of waves they need the board for, etc… then, through personal discussion and interaction, we determined the direction they want to take their surfing….this is a very important part of the design process, since a large part of progression has to do with having a board that will actually bring out new levels in your surfing. I have always believed that simple ol’ one-on-one communication is a vital part of the design process.
The glassing is done with premium grade S-glass (the best fiberglass for yielding the highest strength-to-weight surfboards). Strategically placed flex points, or hinges are added at this stage as well. We are offering two performance enhancing upgrades to the new PROXY line....I’m calling this the Titanium Series. Upgrades include: (1) reinforced carbon-hinge flex tail and/ or (2) Kevlar deck compression patch.
The epoxy resin used in the process is also uniquely formulated to have more elongation, or flex than is typically characteristic of most epoxies. This is very important to how a board rides. The best surfboards flex and recoil back out of turns.....they flex lengthwise along the board as well as side-to-side throughout the board....this is the “spring”, the “life” that you feel in a magic board. No matter how great the shape of a board may be, you kill it if you build it so it rides stiff and rigid. The grey resin of the original Flexible Epoxy series v.1 has been re-worked and now has greater compression and break strength than before, while maintaining the same positive flex characteristics. The new clear resin also allows for unlimited custom graphics options.

Each board is made from start to finish here in our Ventura factory. This allows me and the Proctor Surfboards crew to ensure that the highest level of attention and quality is put into every board. Let me know your thoughts on the new Proctor Proxy technology….our unique creation that focuses on quality, function and longevity.
Looking forward to hearing from you.

Todd Proctor

Proctor Surfboards said...

Harnessing the New Order of Flex – “Proxy” Custom Flexible Epoxy
by Proctor Surfboards Worldwide Custom

* Fusion Core – Premium grade eps foam fused under higher pressure yields greater compression strength. This core is slightly more buoyant than polyurethane foam, so the boards can be ridden smaller and fit in the pocket of the wave better.

* High impact rails drive through turns and hold up to a beating.

* Instead of just using standard fiberglass cloth in the glassing process, a combination of S-glass, inter-woven composite fabrics and Kevlar (a product that’s five times stronger than steel on an equal weight basis) are employed.

* Kevlar compression patch – this is a sheet of Kevlar, not a green airbrush. The beauty of this material is that it increases a board’s compression strength (the deck from crushin in), while maintaining the positive flex characteristics.

* Reinforced carbon-hinged flextail – A thinner tail makes for better flex and a more lively feeling board by reducing rigidity and increasing torque. Interwoven carbon-kevlar composite has a rapid recoil flex memory that acts as a hinge to slingshot the board out of turns, as well as protecting the toe and heel areas of the rails from crushing in over time.

* Single-to-inset-double concaves – I feel this is one of the most versatile bottom contours you can run in the modern performance shortboard. It has a wide-open sweet spot, is really drivey and predictable in waves small to large; and it allows you to break the tail free when you want to.

* Flatter deck – I typically go ½” to one inch shorter, 1/8” narrower, and 1/16” thinner than your poly board. By using more buoyant materials, you don’t need to hide foam in the center of the board. The less-domey deck that’s achieved increases the flex characteristics of the board.

* Uniquely formulated epoxy resins that have more elongation, or elasticity allow flex lengthwise as well as laterally throughout the board. This increases the performance of the board as well as its flex life/ longevity.

* All fin systems are available including glass-ons (shown here) which are rare on epoxy boards.

* Environmentally friendly – when a traditional p/u board’s life is over, there’s only one place it can go….to a landfill where it sits for 100 years before it starts to decompose. “Proxy” technology is recyclable.

* Made custom in the free world from concept to construction. It’s your board….talk to the shaper.

Todd Proctor

Shaper’s notes:

I‘ve been working on alternative surfboard materials for 10 years with the commitment to improve technology while enhancing performance. I believe surfboard building is a unique hands-on process that will always be done best by the innovators who love the sport. The unique construction detailed here is done in our factory in Ventura, California. I custom design every board using cutting edge computer assisted design software. This allows me to detail every board keeping the quality, consistency and custom aspects of my shaping always at the forefront.

Surfer’s Feedback:

…the board I’ve been so ravin’ about lately is that Blackbird, the Proxy one. That thing’s incredible. Thanks mate. Jay Phillips, Gold Coast, Australia

Rob S. said...

Thanks for the information, Todd. There has really been a lot of progress going on in epoxy construction. It seems like most brands are at least experimenting with epoxy construction. Does anyone have feedback on some of the newer production brands like Firewire, Resin 8, Santa Cruz, etc?
I have been riding Boardworks epoxy boards for years now and they have really improved the construction over the years. It took me a while to get used to the feel of sandwich epoxy boards but now when I jump on an older polyester longboard it feels kind of sluggish, like it sticks to the wave. It could be the shape, or just that the board is old and too flexy. Any feedback?