Using computer technology to shape surfboards is an evolutionary
concept. The goal of emerging surfboard design software (such as
Shaper, DSD, Shape3D, and others) and CNC machines
(Computer Numerically Controlled machines) is to develop tools
for shapers that will allow them to perform a variety of
important tasks. Among them: (1) create new custom designs, (2)
accurately and consistently reproduce "magic" designs, (3) make
adjustments to existing designs based on intuitive thoughts
about design or deductive thoughts based on the performance of a
design, and (4) make adjustments to existing designs to
accommodate variations in any surfer / clients physical size and
The valuable surfer / shaper relationship is one of the
fundamentals of the evolution of surfboard design. The ability
to reproduce the same design or to hold important variables
constant and adjust other variables in an effort to improve
designs tested by surfers, shapers, and designers offers an
unparallel deductive progression in design.
With computers and software we can digitize and inventory all
our shapes on a database on a computer. We can produce our
"magic" shapes repeatedly without deviation in design from the
original master shape. We can adjust any of variables in a
design while holding other variables constant. We can adjust
designs to accommodate any surfer and the conditions they surf.
We can produce the same "magic" shape every time we design a
specific surfboard and add it to our database. The computer and
machine accurately and consistently produces a specific design
We can design surfboards from any location and send the digital
design directly to the machine or cutting center over the
Internet. Which in turn cuts our pre shaped blank and delivers
it to us or anyone else to finish the shape.
Our software and machine of choice is the
Shaper system. The Original Aku Shaper software offers
great features well suited to design custom boards. It
facilitates the development of a database of individual designs,
as well as a collection of rockers, profiles, outlines, and
slices (rails sections.) We can create new designs using the
"pentool" or "Bezier tool" to draw profiles, outlines, and
rails. We can modify existing custom designs creating new
designs by editing the curves in any of the designs "modes."
Additionally we can "export" profiles, outlines, and rail
sections from existing designs into a "library" in our database
and "import" them into new designs. The Aku Shaper software has
a mode in it's interface for each design variable.
The Aku Shaper software provides valuable data regarding volume,
center of mass, fin placement, and an information panel where we
can include observations about surfer, performance, and the
continuing evolution of the design. The software preferences can
be set to a variety of units of measure - feet, centimeters,
millimeters, or a combination of those units of measurement. It
has a function to view, while designing and editing, the
"original board," a "ghost board" which is another board
"layered" in the interface, or an "image board" which is a photo
image of a surfboard imported into the database.
The Aku Shaper software is streamlined, versatile, and easy to
master. As a "Java Webstart Application" it will run on any
operating system: Mac, Windows, Unix, Open Source, or your own
operating system if you have the skill to author one.
We've been using the Aku Shaper system since December 2005. We
have produced thousands of functional, relevant, and "magic"
surfboards in the brief time we've been using the system. The
system allows us to provide greater service than ever for our
surfer / clients. We regard it is a great tool in the evolution
of surfboard design and production.