SURFBOARD DESIGN GLOSSARY
Useful definitions for surfboard design
Surfboard A device (structural sandwich) used by man to ride waves.
Surfboard Design Arranging or modifying the performance and durability of a surfboard to be functional and relevant to surfers and the waves they ride.
Structural Sandwich An arrangement of materials with a thick, lightweight, low density "core" and a thin, high strength "skin" or facing.
Foam Sandwich Surfboard A functionally relevant shaped blank of polyurethane foam, EPS, or extruded styrofoam "core" with an equally relevant fiberglass reinforced plastic wrapped "skin."
Variables The elements of design describing the components of a surfboard.
Template The outline of the surfboard.
Rocker Dimensional lines along the bottom, top, and rail of the surfboard usually referenced from nose to tail.
Bottom Rocker Dimensional curve following a line along the bottom of a surfboard.
Deck Rocker Dimensional curve following a line along the top of a surfboard. (The area defined by plotting bottom and deck rocker defines the foil or thickness flow of a surfboard from nose to tail.)
Rail Rocker Dimensional curve along the rail of a surfboard. This line follows the outline and the bottom of a surfboard's rail(s). The relationship between a surfboard's bottom rocker and rail rocker helps define the bottom contours of a surboard.
Bottom Contours The nose to tail and rail to rail configuration of the bottom of a surfboard. Bottom contours may be flat, convex, concave, or a combination of these.
Deck Contours The nose to tail and rail to rail configuration of the deck of a surfboard. Deck contours vary from flat to crowned.
Rails Transition area between the bottom and deck of a surfboard.
Rail Profiles Section shape of the rail. Rail profiles vary in configuration and dimension. Configurations includes round, boxy or square, and crowned profiles. Dimensions vary from relatively thin, to medium, to thick and apply to all configurations.
Foil Distribution of volume throughout a surfboard.
Foil (primary) Thickness flow or distribution of volume along the center of a surfboard from nose to tail.
Deck Foil Thickness flow or distribution of volume from side to side or rail to rail of a surfboard. The deck foil also varies from nose to tail.
Rail Foil Thickness flow or distribution of volume along the rail of a surfboard from nose to tail.
Blank Core of the sufboard. From ancient to contemporary surfboards cores have been solid wood, hollow (chambered), hollow (transverse braced), EPS foam, extruded styrofoam, and polyurethane foam.
Stringer Wood, foam, plastic, or reinforced plastic element glued into the center of a blank on a vertical axis. Stringers provide a crucial "I-beam" element to the "core" of a "foam sandwich." They reinforce the ultimate strength of a surfboard by holding the top and bottom "skins" of the "foam sandwich" apart.
Fiberglass Fabrics of various weave, finish, and weight used as the reinforcement in a plastic matrix. When combined with a resin system the resulting composite forms the "skin" of a "foam sandwich" surfboard.
Resin A material, generally a polymer, that has an indefinite and often high molecular weight. Resins are used as the matrix that binds together the reinforcement materials in composites.
Glassing Schedule The arrangement of fabrics and resins included in the "skin" of a "foam sandwich" surfboard.
Curing - Pot Life Time length of time a catalyzed thermosetting resin system retains a viscosity low enough for it to be suitable for processing.
Curing - Post Cure Exposure of cured resin to higher temperatures to improve the mechanical properties of the resin system in the "skin" of a "foam sandwich."
Mechanical Properties The properties of the "core" and "skin" materials that contribute to the ultimate strength and durability of a surfboard. These include bond, compression, flexural, impact, shear, tensile, and thermal strengths. These properties increase and decrease exponentially as a product of the surfboard's design.
Ultimate Strength Measure of the ability of a surfboard to absorb energy. The maximum toughness and durability achieved by a surfboard's "design."
Fatigue The failure of a composite's or a materials's mechanical properties as the result of repeated "stress."
Strength to Weight Ratio The relative relationship between the weight of a surfboard and the ultimate strength of a surfboard. "Custom" surfboard construction allows for the functional and relevant application of foam density, stringer, and glassing schedule. Surfboards may vary from a 4 1/2 pound high performance shortboard to a 20 pound tow in gun, from a light weight performance longboard to a classic heavy weight reproduction of a 50's - 60's era longboard, or may be the moderate and sensible strength and weight of a recreational oriented shortboard, hybrid, or funboard.
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