YOU ALSO CAN BECOME A SHAPER. THE GUIDE
PART I - DESIGN
Chapter 2 - DESIGNING THE SURF BOARD
Now that you have your tools, it's time to put them in order !!! Having order in the workplace is an advantage that should not be underestimated. Your resin is solidifying, you have noticed that a slip has come off and you need to take a brush or a new spatula to fix the problem. Here is knowing where each individual tool is and identifying it immediately can make a difference on your state of anxiety and on the final result. Once you have your tools sorted, it's time to determine what type of surfboard you want to make.
The complete design of a surfboard would require an intensive course carried out by a professional, which can be skipped if we orient ourselves towards very simple and fun models. In this case, it is enough to get a general knowledge, turning on the web on the websites of the various surfboard manufacturers, in the shops, carefully observing the details, also taking the sensations to the touch. Check the tails, the rockers, the shapes of the rails, the profile of the bottom with its concave. Better to focus on simple board models, suitable for undemanding wave conditions.
Among the basic characteristics, in addition to the measures, the boards have different rails and rocker profiles. Generally flat rockers and softer rails for small or loose wave boards, harder and more pronounced boards for steep or thick waves. Look at the tables that have a similar size to what you require, and take measurements. Some are written on the stringer, others will need to be taken with tools such as gauge and shaper square and a rod to measure the rocker. Savor the feeling of rails flowing from a soft rail in the first half of the board to a hard rail (about 90 °) in the tail.
As for the various concave configurations, there is no better configuration than the other. Although there are configurations more used than others, they must be chosen based on the type of board you want, the type of style, the type of wave and what you want in terms of performance from your board. There are endless possibilities and combinations you can play with. Then there are other elements such as channels, wings, panels, edges that all have their own function, that is to control the flow of water, which in turn can drag, stop and release its thrust during the glide in a different way. It is in fact by understanding more about the design of surfboards that you can make a more informed decision on your next board, but be careful not to rush, because the realization of a complex project also requires greater technical experience in the realization. If you are at the first table, the advice is to start from a completely flat bottom (Flat) or an always valid Concave and focus on other elements.
If you plan to make your first table, follow these two musts: COPY and SIMPLICITY
A good salesman in a surf shop would advise you not to imagine yourself on the board you saw doing a 360 ° aerial, but to observe and make those models that maximize the fun based on your level. Even in shaping it's certainly a good idea to keep things simple for the first few boards. Whatever your level in the water, if you are on the first board (s) forget about channels, bat tails, concave that goes to flat that goes to V and concentrate on other things. Each project must always have in mind the wave conditions to which it is best suited. We suggest a shape with clean, simple lines, without sharp curves or angles in the outline, a fairly flat deck and at most a single concave bottom. Better if you bet on a board of good volume for small or not very steep waves: they will be easier and the consequences of any errors will be felt less in the water. Know that boards with a lot of volume are pure fun for the Prosurfer too. Below is a nice article that we have translated and reworked on the design of a surfboard downloadable at https://www.jarven.com.au/surfboard-design-aspects
1. SURF BOARD DESIGN
The outline of the surfboard is also called an "outline" and is determined by the dimensions of the length of the board, the width of the nose (12 inches from the nose), the widest point (not always the center of the board), the width and the width of the tail (12 inches from the tail). For greater accuracy add the widths at 24 inches from both the nut and tail.
WIDTH OF THE NOSE
Wider noses are generally used on shortboards for smaller waves and surfboards that are designed to be shorter and with flatter rockers. The extra width of the nose increases the volume / float and in turn facilitates paddling. The larger surface in contact with the wave helps transport the board through the flatter and slower sections of the waves. When performing open turns on larger, more powerful waves, the increased tail area can help dig into the face of the wave and allow for greater drive when cornering. The wider nose profile can however have a tendency to get tangled in the face of steeper waves, especially when running into steep sections and / or taking off late.
Narrow noses, typically used on performance shortboards, reduce the volume of the board and together with a more pronounced connected rocker allow to avoid entanglement and consequently increase the lift during tight turns towards the wave face. The narrower nose adapts better to critical sections of the wave during late takeoffs and drive into the tube. However, these features make the surfboard more difficult for a beginner to use, especially in small or weak waves.
WIDTH AND POINT OF GREATER WIDTH
A wider board increases the volume and surface area of the board and, in turn, increases buoyancy and ease of rowing. In general, where the outline is “more curved” the board will rotate on a shorter arc while where the curve is straighter, the board will rotate on a wider arc and the board will be stiffer during the curve.
The positioning of the point of greater width towards the tail brings the apex of the rails closer to the surfer's feet and this shortens the turning radius of the board, compromising the driving. It is suitable for super performance boards where tight turns are required.
Moving the “widest point” of the board forward (with respect to the center of the board), as seen more in the “Old School” boards, allows longer and more drawn curves.
For a more versatile board for everyday use in a variety of conditions, the “widest point” is positioned relative to the center of the board length providing a balance of thrust and responsiveness.
Wider tails are generally used on boards for smaller or weaker waves as they provide a larger contact patch, more lift and float needed to keep the board afloat and therefore moving when the wave power is weak. This greater buoyancy in the tail also allows the board to start early on the takeoff. In fact, as the wave comes towards you from behind, the upward force of the water lifts the back of the board. A wider tail helps push it forward, and this in turn increases the acceleration of the board in the phase just before the takeoff. In this way the departure is anticipated making it easier.
Narrow tails are generally found on boards made to be used on big and powerful waves and especially where you want the maximum "release" during a tight turn. At higher speeds the tighter tail sinks into the face of the wave and gives the surfer more control. Ultimately a narrow tail is suitable for advanced-pro surfers to perform radical maneuvers on powerful and steep waves, or to enter deeper into the tube.
WINGS AND FLYERS
Wings are a way to reduce the tail width of a wide board without having to model a lot of curve in the rear third of the outline. This means that the contour on the Wing or Flyer is squarer and with fewer curves reducing the tail width in a small space to allow it to bite into the face of the wave for greater control.
Generally the Wing is positioned immediately after the end of the front fins, because in this way the water flow will not be released from under the board until it has first passed the fins. Combined with wide and slightly curved outlines especially in the center of the table, it becomes fast with a lot of thrust. The wings allow to reduce the lack of reactivity that a “straight” board or with fewer curves necessarily has.
This is the amount of curve a surfboard has from nose to tail. It is a very important aspect of a surfboard and affects the board's turning capabilities and the board's ability to generate and maintain speed.
NOSE OR ENTRY ROCKER
Low: Easy rowing and ideal for generating and maintaining speed in weak conditions or flat sections.
Medium: A good balance of speed and performance, works well in most conditions.
High: A larger rocker in the nose works best with hollow and steeper waves as it helps prevent leading edge grip. Suitable for performance surfer.
TAIL OR EXIT ROCKER
Low: Offers good fluidity and maintains speed in sections with low power.
Medium: Offers a good balance of drive, speed and release when cornering. Works well in most conditions and suits most surfers.
High: reduces driving, but increases rear release when cornering. It is adopted for high performance surfing and during big wave conditions.
The thickness is measured at 12 ”from the tail, in the center, and in the nose of the board. Typically a high performance board will be thin in the tail, midsection and nose, which will make the board less float, lighter and easier to maneuver. For surfers who want a little more float and volume, the tail, center and nose are thicker, which will make the board easier even when paddling.
An increase in thickness in the tail adds volume and buoyancy which when paddling allows the wave energy to more easily lift the back of the board and push the board forward towards the bottom of the wave so the board can catch wave speed first allowing the surfer to get to his feet earlier.
The profile of a surfboard rail is the outer curve from deck to bottom, seen in section. The shape of the rails section gradually changes from tail to nose, performing a different function throughout the board. They affect the volume, the buoyancy and the way the board interacts with the moving water that surrounds it.
The harder edge created by the low profile of the rail allows water to be released from under the board quickly and with minimal resistance. This makes the bottom of the board faster and increases the speed. In addition, they bite the surface of the wave more easily for better maneuverability and remain stable at higher speeds. Generally suitable for large, steep and hollow wave conditions. They reduce the volume and buoyancy of surfboards and are used on high performance boards. The low edge becomes even more pronounced towards the rear third of the board for greater response, control and speed.
Intermediate rails are a more versatile shape that offers a good balance between rotation sensitivity and buoyancy volume. The disadvantages associated with the Full and Low rails are not so obvious and overall the final result can be a fast and performing board for all conditions.
Full or Boxy Rails
The Boxy Rails give the board greater volume and buoyancy, suitable for small waves and flies. The additional buoyancy is an advantage when moving slower on smaller waves and the fuller shape is less prone to carving the belly of the wave thereby reducing friction. However, the boxy rail creates more resistance as the water does not disperse from under the board as quickly and they can make turning on high and powerful waves more difficult.
These rails have a smooth curve from Deck to Bottom and the apex of the curve is centered between the two (50% top / 50% bottom). The edge on the side of the bottom is never “Hard” so there is no water dispersion away from the board as it travels along the wave to create less drag and therefore the board is slower. However, they bring more stability and bulk to the design of the boards and are often used on Classic Longboards.
FORMS OF THE BOTTOM
The shape and contours of a surfboard's bottom affect the way water flows from the naose to the tail along the bottom of the board and this in turn affects the speed, lift, stability and maneuverability of the boards. There are many contours and shapes of the bottom.
The purpose of the concave is to contain the flow of water that flows down the bottom of the surfboard, through the center and out through the tail, preventing it from freeing itself from the rails. As the water flows from the nose to the tail, the water is compressed and this increased water pressure is what causes lift, less drag and more speed. This effect also gives the surfboard greater responsiveness to acceleration in turns. Concaves are not very suitable for choppy sea conditions. There are several types and combinations of concavities.
The single concave generally begins where the flow of water meets the bottom of the board, and steadily gets deeper through the center of the board and then shrinks or morphs into a Flat or V behind the rear edge of the center fin. The concave channels channel water under the feet to give lift and speed. It also flatters the rocker profile along the stringer than the area around the rails. The deeper the concave, the flatter the rocker on the stringer which, in glassing conditions, can help increase glide speed.
The Double Concave is a double bottom curve that is often used from the back half of the board by fitting into a Single Concave. If the double curves of the double concave are stretched further towards the front foot, they increase control at high speeds and increase driving. When shortened towards the rear foot, it increases lift and maneuverability, but reduces control at higher speeds.
Single to Double Concave
Single to double concave is the most common shape for performance shortboards. It is a single concave under the front foot and a double concave shaped on the inside under the rear foot. The single concave through the center of the board channels water under your feet for lift and speed, while the double concave through the fins and tail increases your speed when maneuvering.
Similar to the concaves, the bottom channels direct the flow of water from the center of the board to the tail helping the board to generate drive and speed. Unlike the single concave, however, they do not make the rocker significantly flat on the stringer. They are an alternative to the Concave, with infinite possibilities of design and functionality.
Bottom Vee is a convex surface normally placed in the back half of the board, most often starting at the fins. They provide easy rotation and rail to rail transitions. Since the V makes the rails taller than the stringer, water is allowed to flow out from under the rails making them not as efficient in smaller waves, but they provide more control in larger waves as they are more sensitive to turns.
The Belly Bottom is similar to the bottom of a hull and like the Vee it has a convex surface normally positioned in the rear half of the board towards the tail. This type of bottom splits the water on each side of the board and offers a smoother ride in choppy and big surf conditions allowing for easier rail to rail travel. Driving is significantly reduced with this bottom shape as water is released from under the rails slowing down the board. Commonly used on classic longboards or larger boards.
FORMS OF THE TAIL
The square tail design extends the rail further towards the tail end providing maximum thrust and lift. As the corners are rounded more and more from Square to Rounded Square to Squash, the Lift effect decreases but the Release increases. The sharper the corners, the tighter the curves. The Rounded Square and Squash Tails are a popular choice as they give the board good ride, maneuverability and a balance of lift and smooth turns.
The rounded tails begin to reduce the amount of edge of the rails in the water and allow the water to disperse evenly from the board. The reduced surface area on the water makes it easier to push the tails area into the wave face at high speeds for control and this can be seen more prominently on the Pin Tail on big wave surfboards and to a lesser extent on the more rounded Rounded Pin. Round Tail or Thumb Tail have wider and smoother turns which tend to favor smoother and tighter turns but still provide good ride and speed similar to Squash Tail.
SWALLOW AND FISH TAIL
The deeper fish tail is found mostly on retro, old school boards.
The shorter and narrower tail is found on high-performance boards with two tips that resemble a double pin tail. These points give the board greater grip and traction during turns by biting the face of the wave with more cutting surface. This tail design allows the rail to extend fully to the rear of the board and increases the surface on the wave to add lift, drive and speed similar to the Squash Tail. As with the deeper tailed twin Fish, there can be a slight stall effect as one point disengages the wave before the other bites, but this is pretty well eliminated by reducing the area between the tips. Generally used on small to medium wave boards, it can also be used on larger waves for extra hold during big turns.
Now that you have a certain type of board in mind, it's time to make the project !!! However, you can contact us in the HELP CENTER section for technical support in the design and in all phases of construction.
Once you have chosen a certain type of shape, there are several ways to filter your idea into a concrete series of dimensions and arrive at the final design. The first is to use Cad programs adapted to the design of surfboards.
2. DESIGN ON CAD PROGRAMS (SHAPE3D or AKU SHAPER)
There are free Cad-based surfboard design programs available on the internet. We report Shape3d, Aku Shaper and Boardcad for the moment. If you have a certain familiarity with the PC, you can learn how to use these programs in no time, also relying on the tutorials that these programs have.
In its free version, these programs allow you to shape your project by drawing the outline, the rocker profile, and even the concave and rails. It is then possible to color and view the table in 3D format.
You can start from a model present on the program site and modify it according to your needs, or start completely from scratch by entering your measurements. At the end the program will also calculate the volume of your table.
Once the project is finished, these programs will allow you to print the outline and the rocker profile in 1/1 scale. If you go to a copy shop equipped with an architect's plotter you can print directly in the original format. If you want to save money, you can always do it with your small printer and bother the various sheets of paper together following the guidelines that each sheet has.
3. TESTED SHAPE HOUSE MODELS
The collaboration with local shapers who test our materials has allowed us to develop some models that you can buy on our site. These models are available in PDF or Shape3d file format or in pre-shaped EPS blanks with a density of 35kg / m3. With the latter solution, the process of designing and cutting the outline and the rocker profile will be completely skipped. Through this option you will have to shape the rails, the concave and any details. All you have to do is select the model you want, and then choose whether you want only the file format or the pre-shaped blank to be delivered directly to your home.
4. COPY AN ALREADY EXISTING TABLE
If, on the other hand, you have seen a board of your friend and you would like to copy it, you can create a Template for both the Outline and the Rocker Profile. We report two modes:
draw the outline directly on a support, such as cardboard or masonite
take the necessary measurements from the board and copy them onto a support;
THE OUTLINE: Drawing the outline on a model is simpler. We report two methods both very simple.
One method is to draw the outline directly on the media. You will need to make sure to block the cardboard or masonite directly on the bottom of the board to be copied. The straight side of your support will have to run along the stringer, as you will only have to copy half of the outline !! This will allow you to obtain perfectly symmetrical outlines. Also make sure that it is tight to the board through clamps, obviously well padded to avoid damage. Once the support is stationary, draw the outline with a marker being very careful that it is perfectly vertical, especially when the distance between the support and the board increases considerably. This can be ensured by popping a small level 2 or 3 inches long at the pencil.
Another method is through the measurement of key points. Take your Shaper Square and measure the width according to the following key points: 0 (the tail has a width while most often the nose does not); 3 "; 6"; 9 "; 12"; 24 "and from foot to foot both starting from the tail and starting from the nose. Then bring them back to your cardboard or masonite template and draw the lines with drawing curves.
ROCKER PROFILE: As for the rocker profile, this will be objectively more complicated, but only if you have chosen to use an EPS block. In fact, the polyurethane foam blanks already have their rocker profile. Just choose the right blank. USBLANKS offers a very large sample by favoring this process.
- A method to obtain the rocker profile can be done by carrying out the following operations: position the rail at 90 ° with respect to the plane or floor. To avoid displacement, you can use two rolled towels to be placed under the rail respectively about 2 inches from the tail and the nose. Use blocks such as boxes to keep it straight and not drop it. Then you take a marker and bore it to a long strip at least a little more than half the maximum width of the board and pass in perfect adherence to the flat area around the stringer in a perfect 90 ° angle (you can bother a small level with the marker) from tail to nose on a hardboard or cardboard. This operation must be done on the side of the deck and on the side of the bottom. Once the towels are removed, the lines are connected.
If the above method is not practical, equip yourself with rocker stick and large shaper gauge for shims. They are both tools that you can build yourself (see the working tools section). Place the board with the bottom facing up. Then place the rocker stick from the center of the tail to the nose, along the stringer, making sure through a spirit level that the instrument is level. Then take the distance measurements from the bar of your rocker stick to the stringer of the board to be copied at 3, 6, 9, 12, 18, and 24 inches and then foot to foot, both from the rocker and the tail. Mark the points on a piece of masonite or cardboard. Then take the gauge and at the same measurement points mark the thickness at the height of the stringer. Once this is done you can add the thickness measurements to your first profile obtained with the rocker stick and that's it.
5. DRAWING ON THE BASIS OF SOME KEY MEASURES
There are only key measures, no table available. Go with the old school method with thin and flexible slats to connect the points together along a Masonite edge.
To make a template according to this method, take a stick of wood or other material that is thin, flexible and therefore resistant to bending. Also take a piece of masonite, cardboard or plywood at least half the size of your board and mark the following 6 points along the straight edge of your support:
1) Nose, 2) 12 ”from the nose; 3) midpoint; 4) stitch with greater width; 5) 12 "from the tail; 6) Tail.
Once you have marked these points, you need to measure and mark the correct width of your design at each of these points using a Shaper Square. Slightly inside these points drive one nail into the masonite and two at the nose and tail to hold the cue in place. The nails will act as guide points for the stick that will rotate around it. When placing the hose around the nails you will have a curve that will be your starting point. From here, you can insert additional nails to modify the curve to your liking. Once satisfied, trace the curve on your template with a felt-tip pen.
BUILD A TEMPLATE / TEMPLATE
Now that you have created your project on paper or on a PC, it is time to put it into practice. To make a surfboard you will need templates, or as they say in the world of shape, a template. A good template is essential for making a good surfboard. A template is simply a piece of flexible material, be it plywood, masonite about 3mm thick (or corrugated cardboard can also work) that is used to trace the outline of the surfboard on a blank to be shaped. For short or medium-short boards, a support that is at least half the width and length at least equal to that of your board will suffice. If, on the other hand, you intend to build a longboard it is necessary to make a "rotation" of the support which has half outline, that of the nose on one side, and half, that of the tail, on the other side. Just make sure that you mark the points on the stringer of both ends. If you plan to make special tails, such as bat tails, or fish tails, it is not necessary to include them in the template. Just bring your model to the end of the rail and then cut the tail shape later when you are at the end of your outline cut. Once you have cut out your template, you will need to take care to make the curves precise, smooth and free of splinters that can damage your blanks. Let's see how to do it:
- once the project is drawn on the support, it is necessary to eliminate the part outside the drawing of the table If masonite or plywood can work with a jigsaw, good scissors or a utility knife will work for corrugated cardboard. Don't forget to stand off the line when cutting, and to securely fasten the model to the bench when cutting.
- With a file, or with a surform plane, approach the line without ever going under. In this phase you will have to be careful to reconstruct the curve without being distracted by the line.
- Once your line has been roughly rebuilt it is time to switch to a hard sanding block with medium grit sandpaper (60-80 grit) and get to the lines of the line.
- Slightly smooth the edges of the wood and your template is ready.
- Once the tempate is finished, check the measurements at 12 ”both from the tail and from the nose and in the center and mark them with a marker on the surface of the template.
- Make a hole to hang it on the wall and that's it.