Using Computers to design Surfboards….
I started shaping surfboards in a Glassing Factory i worked at. I went on with hand shaped custom boards for about 12 years; An invaluable and exciting learning process of hard work and Dusty lungs. Over time the ‘hands on’ approach of handshaping thousands of boards teaches your mind to imagine different waves and to mesh the vast array of surfboard designs to a wide variety of different surfers’ styles. Your hands learn to create a specific shape that is going to become the synergy between wave and surfer. Hand shaping allowed me to develop the style and character of my boards.
Over time you begin to find certain designs that work like a dream; the ‘magic boards’ I like to call them. We have all had them; those ones that just go insane…fast when it’s small, yet loose and holding in when it’s big; the boards that do exactly what you want them to do and when you want them to do it. Well, the busier you become hand shaping boards, the more of a toll it begins to take on you. Duplicating the proven ‘magic boards’ becomes time consuming, backbreaking work. Try holding a planer in your hands just above waist height and being on your feet all day buzzing away foam. Your back, wrists, elbows, knees and eyes start to hurt. You start to have no time to do the very thing that lead you into that path..Surfing. You start spending one afternoon a week at chiropractors etc.. And at the end of the day you can’t be assured every board is going to stay at that magic level you want.
Along came Shaping machines.. the first ones i used helped me get a basic profile down and eased the reproduction process, but i lost the ability to do it my self as the earlier software was adapted from high end boat building cad/cam programs etc. Then i was introduced to the APS3000! So since 2004 I have been using the APS3000, along with BoardCad & the industry standard Shape3D. Each board is virtually shaped on these three-dimensional design programs. I start by choosing from one of a series of proven ‘magic boards’ I have on file. Design it, Cut it, and tweak it myself to create what i had imagined in my head.
These are my best handshapes (and more recent computerized modifications) developed over time through feedback from team riders, individual customers, friends and from just going surfing.Then I adjust the length, width, thickness, rocker, rail shape/ volume, and bottom contours to complement and enhance each particular surfer’s style. Recording all the changes and refinements. Sure beats the complex measuring system i used to use to record the boards in the big box of of notebooks i have put away in my shaping toolbox. Every surfer has a different way they approach a wave; the Computer design software allows me to customize the board to the surfer, the type of waves they ride and the direction they want to take their surfing.
The true beauty of this system is two-fold: The shaper/ designer can spend time designing and refining boards, interacting and catering to customers. And the surfers (that simply want a great board which is dialed in specifically for them) can get consistency, quality, and quick turnaround for their custom board.All files are kept on a database so your ‘magic board’ can be identically replicated at any time. Let’s say your magic board is/was magic, but now you’re 10 Kilos heavier and it is feeling a little small…we get your file, pull your board into the design program, add 1/8″ or 1/4″ thickness to it keeping the rest of the shape the same…Or let’s say your magic board is perfect at your local point break, but you want another board just like it but slightly looser at the beachbreaks….so….we grab your file, add a little more bend to the rocker between your feet, or a little kick out the last bit of the tail off the back fin – and there it is; perfect, fast, loose and holding in through the tight spots! ….Or let’s say you want to put this outline on that bottom curve….this same board with a flatter deck and fuller rails, or vice versa…
The capabilities of the Computer design process are limitless really and help board design to move ever forward providing us all with better boards. I even use machine stuff-ups to create more crazy designs to test and try keeping evolution alive…
The shaping machine has opened my time up to working more with material components. testing and tweaking different products on the same shape, getting to understand the dynamics and properties. So Dynocore™ was born. the result of testing and designing all those shapes with an amazing array of new tech materials! Oh and I know what to change on your favourite shape to when you change to Dynocore™ too!