WHERE'S MY STRINGER GONE?

New Zealand Surfing - - Roady -

For 60+ years surfers have slid into the shore break and pad­dled out duck div­ing through the on­com­ing sets star­ing down at a piece of wood join­ing one half of their finely crafted block of foam to the other, yet over the last few years many surfers have dug their ch­est into the board, picked up their stroke and thought “Where has my stringer gone?” Since the ad­vent of the surf­board man­u­fac­tur­ing pro­cesses have barely changed, and with the en­tire world ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a tech­nol­ogy age where huge ad­vances in equip­ment have been seen in other sports and in­dus­tries, surf­ing has re­mained rel­a­tively stag­nant. Why you may ask? Be­cause it works, so if it ain’t broke don’t fix it! But surf­board man­u­fac­tur­ers have for many years toyed and played with dif­fer­ent ma­te­ri­als and tech­nolo­gies be­fore com­ing back to the tried and proven polyurethane foam blank and a wooden stringer! Some boards have one, two, some­times even three or four stringers, but they have all utilised the nat­u­ral ma­te­rial of wood. Talk to any old shaper and they will tell you “we’ve tried ev­ery­thing! In the 70’s we tried fi­bre­glass, then when alu­minium came onto the mar­ket we tried that, then when the mil­i­tary started mak­ing bul­let proof vests out of Kevlar, think­ing that was the next big thing we be­gun build­ing our stringers out of Kevlar, then car­bon! But we kept com­ing back to the nat­u­ral flex and spring of wood”. But let’s pose the ques­tion, if you were to add any type of tech­nol­ogy or change to a surf­boards shape with­out hav­ing a ‘Con- stant’ plat­form, how could that change be mea­sured? It is the sci­en­tific pre­req­ui­site to mea­sur­ing any change to have a con­stant in place. Pre-the days of the finely ac­cu­rate shap­ing ma­chine, a shaper could only at­tempt to repli­cate a board but real­is­ti­cally this was not as pre­cise as re­quired to of­fer that con­stant we speak of. That newly glued up Kevlar stringer blank, was shaped as close to the wooden stringer blank it was sup­posed to repli­cate, but it went dif­fer­ent there­fore the Kevlar stringer was seen as the neg­a­tive, and not per­haps the in­ac­cu­ra­cies of dif­fer­ence in the shapes form. En­ter the shap­ing ma­chine and CAD (com­puter aided de­sign) where now more than ever changes in de­sign can be mea­sured be­cause we now have a con­stant to work with. And since ma­chines have be­ing im­ple­mented and re­fined and tuned so has tech­no­log­i­cal and man­u­fac­tur­ing ad­vance­ments come hand in hand. Stringer­less surf­boards are now part and par­cel of nearly ev­ery board man­u­fac­tur­ers of­fer­ings, with big name brands such as Slater De­signs, Lost, Firewire, Chan­nel Is­lands and more, of which some of these brands are us­ing kiwi born in­no­va­tions, all of­fer­ing var­i­ous de­signs of this tech­nol­ogy. And since ki­wis have al­ways been at the fore­front of in­no­va­tion and tech­nol­ogy es­pe­cially in sec­tors such as yacht­ing we thought we’d take the op­por­tu­nity to talk to two of our surf man­u­fac­tur­ers who have been work­ing on their own in­no­va­tions for sev­eral years now. HAY­DEN CHAM­BER­LAIN - HC SURF­BOARDS. While Hay­den is quick to point out that he has taken a lot of the tech­nolo­gies oth­ers have worked on in the EPS Epoxy field and cre­ated his own vari­a­tion, it is the ground­work that has gone into his de­sign and the years of test­ing that was un­der­taken by his team rid­ers that have de­liv­ered the de­sign cur­rently titled the ‘Apex Flex’ which in­cor­po­rates the use of car­bon lam­i­nated into the board with two par­al­lel placed rods in the bot­tom which run un­der the fin boxes fin­ish­ing just be­hind the front fins, and one rod placed into each rails fol­low­ing the apex of the out­line and fin­ish­ing di­rectly in the cen­tre of the front fin and rounded off with a car­bon strip lam­i­nated into the deck, and this makeup cre­ates a lot more tail flex, which pro­vides a lot more ‘Pop’ and spring in and out of turns. Like all new in­no­va­tions only the fool­ish would re­lease un-proven tech­nol­ogy and Hay­den spent over a year fine tun­ing and get­ting it right be­fore the de­sign found a place in his pro­duc­tion

“We­madealotof board­sjust­for­good­surfer­sand­di­dalotof test­ing,just­tomakesurewew­ere­on­the right­trackandtha­tour­con­ceptswere­ac­tu­al­lyproveninthesurf,weal­so­didn’twant tore­leasethem­tothe­mar­ke­tun­til­weknew they­worked,andt wothatthe yw­eren’t gonnas­nap­like­car­rots,there­ar­e­so­many brand­sout­there­push­ingnewtech­nol­ogy thatares­nap­pin­gallo ver­the­p­lace­and then­they­have­to­war­ran­tythem,sowe­had

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