THE DESIGN PROCESS
Nature and the Design Process
The principles of surfboard design are a vast array of theories of surfers interacting with waves.
It's a science, but it's not an exact science. There are few, if any, absolutes. There is no lab or
test tank. The lab is nature. Surfer, surfboard, waves, and surfing are the variables.
Design begins in the metaphysical world and transitions into the physical world. It flows from imagination and desire, intuition and reasoning to trial and error, and testing and observation.
Surfing and the surfboard design process began with the imagination and desire of ancient Pacific islanders. The islanders saw waves and visualized themselves riding them. Their intuition and reasoning led them to craft surfboards from trees to glide on swells and breaking waves. Through trial and error - test and observation - they modified and developed their boards to be efficient for their approach to riding waves. Over the centuries this process has repeated itself and will continue to repeat itself as long as man rides waves and interacts with nature.
The surfboard design process begins with identifying the desires, needs, or goals of the end user and his environment (the smorgasbord of surfers and the waves they ride); identifying the variables (dimensions, rockers, bottom contours, deck contours, foils, templates, rails, fins, and more) in a specific technology (surfboard shaping and construction); hypothesizing arrangements of these variables (6' 2" x 18 1/2" x 2 3/8", squash single to double concave, soft crown deck, moderate foil, soft thin round rail) through intuition and reasoning; testing the results of these arrangements (surfing and observation); and bringing new hypothesis into the process based on these tests and any new ideas that may develop (surfers / shapers / designers experiences with existing surfboards, imagination, and observations of events and circumstances outside of surfing.)
Correct use of the design process yields a functional and relevant surfboard. A surfboard is functional and relevant when it is designed for and performs for the surfer and the conditions in which it will be surfed.
Surfer / shaper / designers depend on their imagination and desires; intuition and reasoning; trial and error; and testing and observation to advance surfboard design. They design and shape by arranging dimensions, rockers, bottom contours, deck contours, foils, templates, rails, and fins to best suit individual surfers (their size, skill, and technique) and the specific conditions (size, power, and shape) of the waves they ride.
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