We employ a number of different construction techniques when building our surfboards. These techniques allow us to optimize the design goals for the surfboard by selecting a construction technique that maximizes the performance characteristics.
On this page a brief introduction is provided to the primary techniques we employ. Some of these are industry standard and others are our own unique hybrid approach.
This is the industry standard construction technique and is utilized to manufacture the vast majority of boards sold throughout the world.
It is based on a polyurethane foam core that is manufactured and sold to shapers in the form of a blank. This blank has the rough shape of a surfboard, with many different blank shapes available to accommodate the different styles of surfboards that are shaped.
The shaper is responsible for shaping the rough blank into the desired board, based on the design criteria chosen for the board.
Once the board has been shaped it goes through the lamination process, for this construction technique the lamination process utilizes polyester resin and fiberglass cloth. The cloth is applied to the shaped blank on both sides with laps at the rails to provide additional strength.
Once the board has been covered with cloth and resin it is hot-coated, fin boxes are installed, and then finally sanded. If the board has a sanded finish then the process is complete.
However, if the board has a gloss/polish another gloss coat of resin is applied over the sanded board. Once this has cured the board is sanded with ever finer grits of sandpaper and then finally polished with rubbing compound to achieve a high gloss finish.
This hybrid construction technique uses most of the steps utilized in the polyurethane/polyester technique, but with the introduction of the V-Lam methodology.
V-Lam adds a layer of bamboo veneer into the construction mix, most commonly in the form of a deck patch that covers the back two thirds of the board. The bamboo is applied with epoxy resin using a vacuum bag technique that conforms the bamboo to the shape of the deck. This serves to strengthen the deck and it also alters the flex characteristics of the board in a positive way.
There are many photos of boards using this technique throughout this site, check it out!
In some cases the bamboo is applied on both the deck and the bottom, in these boards the bamboo is applied the full length of the board.
This construction technique creates strong durable board, but at a higher price point due to the additional cost of the bamboo and the additional steps involved.
This is our preferred construction technique!
This is a more modern technique that has been gaining more and more interest in the industry as it produces a light but strong board.
All of the techniques involved are identical to those employed in the standard construction methods, but the big differences are that a total different type of foam is utilized in the form of EPS, which is an expanded polystyrene foam made of fused foam bubbles.
The laminating process is identical to the standard process except that epoxy resin is used as polyester is not compatible with EPS.
If the boards have a gloss finish that is still done with a polyester gloss coat as it polishes out better than epoxy typically does.
For the boards we build with this technique we apply the V-Lam to both sides of the board as it allows us to reduce the amount of glass while still improving the overall strength of the board. It makes for a very light but strong board with good durability.
We primarily use this technique for shortboards or standup paddle boards.
We utilize this hollow balsa construction technique primarily for big guns, although we have done a number of longboards using the technique.
Unlike chambered balsa boards this technique starts out with a rough balsa blank that is constructed out of ribs, deck and bottom plates, and parabolic rail bands. The interior of the blank consists of many small air chambers. The blank is typically created close to the rocker and overall outline of the board being built.
Once the blank is completed it is shaped much like a regular foam board. The primary goal being to reduce the thickness of the deck and bottom plates in order to reduce weight. Typically, at the thinnest point these plates can end up being as little as 1/8" thick. Great care has to be taken not to shape through the plates, especially at the transitions from the deck to the rails.
After shaping the board, it is finished in epoxy resin and fairly thin layers of glass in order to keep the weight down. Before laminating the balsa is given a thin coat of epoxy to seal the wood before the laminating stage.
The finishing process is much the same as with the more standard construction techniques.
Most of these boards have gloss finishes and those are all done with a polyester glossing resin over the epoxy. This provides a better finish but is a little harder to pull off.