Monday, December 3, 2012

New Idea for Tune-able board

Hi All. 

Well I’ve been offline for quite a while now. I’ve had some family sadness going on that took a great deal of joy out of most things. I have to say that I became very aware of the therapeutic power of being out in the ocean, cruising around and just taking in the majesty of it all. So as life moves on towards its different normal I’ve found myself thinking about a new board and stumbled on an idea that I’m really excited about.

I had a bit of an ah ha moment when I was thinking about how flexible my light wind board is and how that is limiting its pop-ability – build a external plate to screw to the the middle to stiffen it. Then I realised this idea could have some other very cool applications.

Here’s the idea. Continue to build the simple flexible cores that I have in the current light wind board but add, say, 4-6 additional inserts distributed around the middle and along the centre line. Plates with different amounts of concave, stiffness and rocker could be bolted on to the mid section to affect those same things in the board. For example, if the core has 0mm concave then lateral ribs with any amount of concave you wanted could be built and screwed to the mid section on the top of the board. You could even put them where the handle inserts go. Make them stiff enough to pull the concave into the board and there you have it. Instant concave!

The same would apply to plates that could stiffen the mid section, or add/ flatten the mid section rocker.
The tuning plates extended to near the edges of the mid section you could also use the plate as a place to secure hard wearing c-section material over the rails of the board so that you could ride over things like pvc-pipe rails and jumps. If these edge protectors were thick enough on the underside of the board, they could act like a channel and help when riding fin-less.

So the two key uses for this:

i)                    Prototyping: for DIY’ers tweaking the concave, rocker and stiffness means building a new board for each configuration. However, getting the right amount of each is as much art as it is artJ. Tunings plates could be built to quickly and very cheaply vary these parameters so that you could properly test out what they do and what you like.  For stiffness you could build up the plate by successively adding more and more thin plates of the same shape. It might also be possible to incorporate a some kind of tensioning device like a spring that you could tension up and down with a screwdriver so that you could continually vary it.

ii)                   Once you’ve got a ‘quiver’ of tuning plates you could then swap them around on any given day – wake style in the morning, flexible board for riding chop, dead flat board for light wind or free-styling......big concave board just to see what the hell it does!!

In theory it seems that it might be possible to tune the one core to be specific for different styles instead of having one board that trades off style-specific features to make it more general purpose.

Even better than all of this is you could serious bling up the tuning plates: the outline of them, what they’re made of ( aluminium I-Beams, hard-woods, plastic) you could even make it furry if that was your thing!

A construction issue that will take some thinking about is how to reinforce the inserts to protect them from the lateral forces they’ll be subjected to. At the moment the forces are largely all perpendicular to the board. The lateral forces may well loosen the inserts unless the forces are distributed over a larger area. Maybe with base plates or connecting stripes over the bottom of the inserts.

I’m very excited about this idea. I’ll post more as the idea evolves.


  1. They do have the travel boards that have the inserts to hold them together. Cant see why your idea wont work. One actually has the two bottom halves that screw together and then a top plate is screwed over that with the foot pads on it that goes the length of the board.

    1. HEre is a link to one i found when researching a trip to the US we are doing next year.

  2. Hi R2R. Cheers. The only issue I see that needs to be looked at hard is when the board flexes, there will be some relative movement of the plate against the deck and so there will be lateral forces on the insert which I don't think the epoxy/nut insert will deal with well. I have a feeling the nut will need to be connected to a larger base plate to distribute the load directly to the core rather than through the epoxy. What do yo think? Any thoughts on a way to construct the inserts?


  3. Perhaps this will be a case of screwing the board together much like some fins are bolted through the base and onto the top face of a board into the plastic inserts sitting proud.
    Maybe they need to be recessed into the base in the middle and both ends and the top of the board screwed in that way? That would be two screws per insert, and more work to recess them.

    The idea of having a tensioning device is very similar to that of a guitar neck tensioner. That would really need something solid to hold it together to be able to pull a tension on it.

    I looked at some 2.5mm aluminium plate i have at work thinking about the bling thing and shaping one would work fine to make the board move to it's curvature but even that would bend in the end id say. The core would have to be something very strong and flexible especially around the edges where the two different materials flex differently.
    Rather than a problem with inserts id say that there would be more of a worry around the top plate if it is a different material to the bottom. Where it ends on the base and with the base flexing you may find it ends up and snapping around it.

  4. That's a good thought. I could have no threaded insert fixed in the board but just have it bolt through the deck. The hole in the deck could be slightly oversized to that the and relative movement between the decks wouldn't cause the bolt to damage the deck around the hole.

    I've been thinking that there is no reason that the plates have to be flat plates.For pulling concave into it ( and simultaneously stiffening and flattening the middle) thick lateral strips could be used 30mm high, 20-30mm wide. Maybe 3 'cross beams'. The only practical limit on the height is that it should not be a danger in case of an accident and of course weight. Could use hardwood, or even some really rigid plastic. The thin core should be quite light in the first place so there is some slack for adding weight. The lateral strips would also give you something to grab when putting the board back on.

    If I did use plates the general geometry would probably be move X shapes with different radius 'webbing' at the intersections. This might mean that the discontinuity in the flex is spread out rather than concentrated on a single line.