Friday, February 28, 2014

New 7-3 Widget...

EPS/Epoxy Widget, 7'3" 15-1/2" x 22-3/4" x 16-1/8"  2-7/8" Blank is 1.7lb EPS from Marko Foam and glassing is by Lucke Glassing in Camarillo, CA.

I'm very excited about this shape. I've been refining this shape for more than five years. My initial design was essentially a 6-8 Fish with a diamond tail instead of a swallow tail. Later I added a double-bump tail to get the board to turn better. Then I moved the wide point back to center. This made them a little more "egg-ish". I made them as short as 6-8 but no longer than about 7-10. Last year I built a 7-2 Widget for Sean that I called the "Zinger", a name I later discovered was used by SD shaper Mike Eaton for one of his shapes. So, back to the Widget name. My design of Sean's board was heavily influenced by some of Rusty's thoughts on "big boy" shortboards. Namely, that width is the big guy's friend. I also incorporated a sloped rail as a way of keeping the rails thin in an otherwise 3"+ thick board. In the year that's past since I built Sean's board I've been on the computer designing, and redesigning a Widget for someone, my size and age. That would be 5-10, 190lbs and 66yr. (I may be short and stocky, but at least I'm old!!)

First, I moved the wide-point back about 2" behind center. This widened the tail and narrowed the nose.
This gives me more planing area and volume in the back half of the board where most of my body weight is located while paddling. It also creates a nice "hip" in the outline which serves as a focal point for turns. While I kept the thickness to 2-7/8", I still utilized a sloped rail to keep those rails nice and thin. 
I kept the low-rocker design I've always used, giving the board both paddling speed and wave speed. 

The bottom contours were modified to include slight belly in the nose to shallow single concave through the middle, and then progressively wider and deeper double concaves through the fin array and out the tail. There is also V in the last third of the tail. Unlike the more common double concaves that end just behind the front fins, these double concaves are not designed to provide lift. There's already plenty of lift generated by the 16-1/8" wide tail. These concaves are stricly for water flow management somewhat akin to the Campbell Bros Bonzer design. 

I like to build the Widgets with a 5-fin configurations as it allows for maximum experimentation with fin sets. You may have noticed the unusual quad fin set I have installed. These are the cutaway keel quads from Shaper's Fins that I mentioned in an earlier post. These low aspect ratio fins will compliment the action of the water-funneling bottom contours in the tail.

I ordered this blank with a 4mm ply Applecore stringer, Knowing that I would be using the color red in the rail scallops, the red-natural-red basswood t-band gives the board an added "customized" look. The glassing schedule was also a deviation from my usual 2-layer deck/one-layer bottom. On this board I chose to use 2, full-length layers of 4oz cloth on the bottom and a staggered, 3-layer deck using all 4oz. One full length layer, one 2/3 length and one 18" length on the tail. The idea was to minimize weight by only putting glass where it was needed. I'm a heavy rear-footed surfer, so there's 3 layers of 4oz where my back foot goes, 2 layers where my front foot goes and one layer where I should never be standing.

I hoping that this board will give me a little more "performance" than my 7-6 Nomad egg. I'll bet a Widget would be just the ticket for more than a few of you out there.


  1. That's a great looking board Thomas. I'm lovin that wide tail!

  2. Great looking board Thomas! The Zinger was the perfect step down from my long board, thanks again for all your help.