Friday, August 30, 2013

New fish for Sam...

Here's the new custom 5-10 fish kneeboard I built for local kneeboarder Sam. If the outline looks "classic", well...that's because it has an impressive pedigree.

Sam had a 5-8 fish kneeboard that was built for him several years ago by hull maestro, Greg Liddle. That board was a copy of a Steve Lis fish kneeboard. Sam brought the 5-8 fish to me, and asked for a similar shape, but longer and thicker. Measurements were taken, templates drawn and fin placement scrutinized. Sam chose the Hobie Fish template from my friends at True Ames Fins. The glass-on fins are asymetrically foiled and were set with just a slight toe-in, adding a little modern touch to this otherwise traditional shape. But the fun part of this build was Sam's direct participation. He was there when I took the rocker measurements, and helped me template the original board. Once I had the blank, Sam watched the whole 4 hr shaping process, and gave me input on what he liked and what he wanted changed, as in "hey Sam, feel these rails and tell me if you want a little more taken off". Shaping a custom surfboard should be a collaboration between shaper and surfer, and I encourage all my customers to participate in the process.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

More T-Belly slidin'...this time in Peru

James, one of my customers from Nor Cal, was kind enough to send me this POV video of him enjoying a loooong left at Puerto Chicama, Peru.

Here's the T-Belly he's riding

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Late summer noserider, Part 2...

Finally picked up my new 10-0 Classic. Just the ticket for those small days at the Point. Dims are 18-3/4"x23-1/2"x15-3/4"   3-1/4" thick.

This board has the typical "Classic Model" features: half-length, blended nose-concave, moderate tail-"V", low entry rocker and slight flip in tail rocker.

I usually do the traditional "eggy" 50/50 rail on the Classic, but this time I went with a more modern 60/40 tucked rail. That tucked edge provides good water release for a slippier" ride.

That fin is the new Slick Regulator by True Ames. Every new board deserves a new fin!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

In progress...

I've got several orders at different stages of glassing. This is a 5-10 Fish kneeboard for Sam.
I really like the glassed-on bamboo fins. Sam was able to watch his board being shaped, so we were really able to custom fit this shape. I really enjoy having customers give me input as I shape their board.
Next is the 8-0 Kingfish for Kirt. 
It's getting one of Kirt's wild color designs so there's not much to see at this point.
Finally, a 9-8 Classic for some lucky customer, yet to be named.  
Deck will stay clear with a red pinline, which should really pop against the Ice Blue resin tint. Isn't this the board you've always wanted? It'll be ready to wax up in about a week, so call me today 805-856-8554

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

T-Belly slidin' in the Pacific Northwest...

This is what summertime looks like on the 49th Parallel, 100 miles east of the Pacific Ocean. I shaped this T-Belly last January for John who lives in Northern Washington. I always enjoy seeing photos of my customer buddies riding my shapes. Thanks for sharing John!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Kingfish Deja Vu...

Kirt loves his 8-0 Kingfish so much that he ordered a second just like it...well, almost.

Same eps/epoxy with S-glass lamination. We tweaked the tail rocker a bit and changed the colors (but not the pattern). Board replication is where computer-based shaping really shines. Kirt's original Kingfish was hand-shaped, so I had to spend a couple of hours "blueprinting" it. Duplicating the rails is the most difficult, and then comes rocker. It only takes a few minutes to tweak a board file, and once done, it can be used to cut one or a hundred duplicates.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Late summer nose rider...

Shaped a 10-0 Classic model "for the shop" last week, and today it's getting glassed. Here Ray is masking-off the deck before he does the bottom.

Doing it in the hip-and-groovy, shabby-chic, two-tone resin tint. Ray has this style down to a science.

 Here Ray is adding the clear resin coat that covers 2/3 of the board. Deck will be done the same way. 

Monday, August 5, 2013

A few words about "epoxy" boards...

First off, these surfboards are constructed with EPS foam, fiberglass cloth and epoxy resin. Epoxy resin can be used on either standard polyurethane (PU) foam or EPS foam. Polyester (PE) resin cannot be used on EPS foam. The PE resin will dissolve the EPS foam. Not good.  Knowledgeable surfers call these boards "EPS/Epoxy", not "epoxy".

EPS foam is composed of tiny beads of foam that are compressed together. Despite the compression, there remains tiny air spaces between the beads. Its these air spaces that give EPS foam its extra buoyancy and its the same air spaces that quickly fill with water when the outer fiberglass skin has been breeched. Additionally, the air in these tiny pockets will expand when heated and, seeking the path of least resistance, will vent between the foam core and the fiberglass skin. This causes delamination (more so with the less dense 1lb/1.5lb EPS used in SUPs. I use 1.7lb or 2.0lb). Polyurethane foam has a very different cell structure. The cells share cellular walls so that there is no empty space between cells. As a result, PU is more dense then EPS and less buoyant. Additionally, PU foam shapes much easier and can be finish-sanded to a uniform and almost velvet smoothness, ideal for resin-tint coloring. EPS, on the other hand, will have areas of pock marks where tiny beads have been pulled out. Spray-paint or colored resin tint will collect in these tiny holes, creating a slightly darker color, giving the finish a "freckled" look. And again, only epoxy resin can be used to laminate EPS. Standard polyester resin will dissolve EPS foam.

Delamination, due to "gas-off" or the release of air due to expansion caused by heat, was an early problem with EPS/epoxy surfboards. This was especially the case in hotter, tropical climates, or when storing the board in a non-air-conditioned space, such as a shed, garage or in a locked car. A one-way, goretex vent which allows hot air to be released, but doesn't allow water to enter, is used when the surf-craft is destined to be used in hotter climates. The vent, which is about as big as a nickel in diameter,  is set into the board, flush with the deck. If you live in  Inland So-Cal, or other places where +80*F temps are common, you may want to consider having a vent installed in your eps/epoxy board.

The main advantage of EPS is its buoyancy and light weight. Take two identical shapes, one in EPS and the other in PU, same glassing schedule, and the EPS board will feel 15%-20%% lighter. This allows the construction of thinner/smaller shapes to achieve the same "float" that would be achieved using PU foam. Note: rule of thumb is subtract 1/8" thickness to a shape done in EPS over one done in PU. I think this holds true for shortboards, but I think it should be more like -1/4" or maybe -3/16" for longer shapes. I shaped and rode a 7-11 egg that was 2-7/8" and it felt more lake 3-1/8" or maybe a little more.