Flex behaviour of surfboards

Marc in het Panhuis with the UOW Flex Machine. Picture credit: Paul Jones.

Despite the importance of mechanical flex to a surfboard’s performance, this important mechanical property is not well understood, and is often overlooked in the design of current-generation shortboard surfboards. It is an industry-wide issue with surfboard shapers trialling different techniques (e.g. carbon bands on the surfboard) to try and address this problem, but without experimental evidence to justify their designs. For example, the perceived advantage of using carbon bands on a surfboard has been described in subjective terms: “By wrapping these carbon strips around certain areas of the board, you get a feeling of surfing a board with a lot of “pop.”.

In this project, we will establish protocols to systematically investigate and quantify the mechanical flex behaviour of surfboards.

Results from this systematic testing will provide evidence upon which to develop an understanding of factors that affect the mechanical flex of a surfboard, thereby addressing this significant industry-wide issue.