Monday, July 28, 2014
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Big boat wakesurf

Authors: Flyboy Wakesurf

UPDATE: James broke his board last night while out wakesurfing with friends. It seems he took the board to his head and the rail is cracked. James says he’s ok, but he ran off to the store for some pain meds, so hopefully he’s well enough to ride today. We are wondering if the damage possibly started while transporting the board in travel. We noticed that some pictures of James riding looked like they were diminished or something. Possibly started by the airlines and finished with a shuv to revert to smack upside the head! James will be trying to borrow a production flyboy for the actual contest. He’s practiced on his contest board for the better part of two weeks, so lets give him TONS of good wishes as he now SWITCHES over to a production board for the actual contest. It’ll be a challenge, to say the least.

James is up in Washington for the NWWSA event being held on Lake Tye. It’s being pulled by Supra this year, which is a change from years past when it was pulled exclusively by Centurion. One of the hallmarks of the World Series of Wake Surfing is that there are a few different boats that are being used in the series. We’re not familiar with any other wakesurf event being pulled by the Supra. James hasn’t ridden one since he was like 12, so this will be interesting! In the past, the pros that were giving lessons, as part of the NWWSA, didn’t really get to ride much behind a similar boat as the contest boats, we’re not sure if that is still in effect. It’s such a decided advantage to get practice time behind the contest boat. Speaking of which, the NWWSA holds a full day of practice, first come, first served where EVERYONE gets one chance to ride.

It’s really the only fair thing to do, at least in a contest setting. By the time you read this, practice and prelims for the pros will have been completed. The pro divisions only advance 3 riders into the finals so we’ll keep our fingers crossed for James that he makes it to the finals on Sunday!

Anyway, James isn’t behind a contest boat, before the event, and he never would try. Instead, he was behind a 60 foot yacht! Here is a quick cell phone picture of the bow of the boat, check the fat sacks! This wakesurf session was organized by Jeff Page of Inland and all of the Inland Team riders that attended this event seem to have made it out on the boat.

photo 2

James was telling us that there is something like 4,000 pounds of fat sacks on the swim deck! PLUS it’s a 60 foot yacht! It looks like there were two folks out when this picture was taken, that we stole from James’ Instagram page.

photo 1

James was telling us that from the flats to the top of the lip is head high and they run at 17 mph! It’s a little fast for James’ signature board, but he went out and had a blast.

photo 3

We couldn’t get this video by Jon Shields that shows James doing a backside wake transfer behind the yacht at 17 mph. We’ve included a link, HERE so you can see the video. We just couldn’t figure out how to embed Instagram videos!

Everyone seemed to have a blast behind the huge boat and the tall wake. If you watch the first part of that video, that is if it works for you, it brings up a great topic we want to talk about in terms of planing surfaces and how water flow affects that. As you see in that video, James is able to surf the little Flyboy board at 17 mph. When a board is planing on the surface of the water, like that, how do you suspect lateral and parallel water flow impacts the board? We’ll take a look at that and dispel some myths in a future post!

Anyway, James was enjoying the big boat surfing and having the opportunity to visit with the Inland Surfer team. The contest runs Friday thru Sunday. The scoring is NOT cumulative, so you qualify for the finals being in the top 3 and then your final run determines your podium placement.

This contest is also in conflict with the Canadian Wakesurf Nationals. It’s been a tough year for date conflicts between tours, but now also between stops in the same tour! The Canadian championship is being pulled by a Centurion, so most of the Centurion riders migrated up there, the non-Centurion riders seemed to congregate here at this Washington contest. We are still undecided on this situation. Does it spread the talent a little too thin? Or does it break up a rather boring pre-determined outcome? It seems like there won’t have been too many people that have ridden behind the Supra, other than the one practice run, so that will help level the playing field some and no doubt diminish the BORING factor a bunch. Back to that date conflict, last year the Calabogie event was on a different date and changed it to conflict with the NWWSA event. The season up in Canada is crazy short, but you also can’t expect an established event to change it’s dates. Last weeks TWC conflicted with the WTD event which has been held on the same date for ages and ages. Is that the deciding factor? Whomever stakes their claim first gets that weekend? We don’t know, obviously location is going to be a consideration also, North East vs South West might be responsive to the needs of participants. Obviously not everyone can travel all over for these events, so having one locally, as opposed to across the country would benefit those that aren’t able to travel everywhere.

Anyway, we don’t have the answer there, so we’ll wish James a ton of Luck, he’s been living out of a suitcase for a week and hasn’t seen this wake before, so hopefully he’s able to bring it altogether to make it to finals and a podium spot! He’ll be up against some of the best pros in the sport: Chris Wolter, the new kid Parker Payne and a host of others!

Thanks so much for following along, we really appreciate it.

Technorati Tags: Big Boat wakesurf, Canadian Nationals, nwwsa

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Thermoformed rocker

Authors: Flyboy Wakesurf

Well we had planned to go back and bring everyone up to speed on how we got to yesterday’s post on the outline, rail shaping and skin glue up, but we did something different. We thermoformed the rocker on this skim build.

Thermoforming is pretty much just like it sounds, we heat the foam up and then bend it to shape, or form it and then allow it to cool into this new and different shape.

It’s a tad of an over-simplification, but all foams used in wakesurf board construction are a form of plastic. There are very esoteric foam made from aluminum and carbon, but we have never seen them used in a wakesurf board. So, if we look at the most predominant; EPS, XPS, DCell and Corecell, all of those foams are a form of plastic. If you’ve dealt with any plastic, you know that they melt with a certain amount of heat. There are different temperatures that might be best understood as one where the material gets soft, as oppossed to melting and turning to liquid. So in the thermoforming of Divinycell, we want the material to remain a solid! Just get to a point where it becomes pliable. Divinycell is excellent for this purpose, in that there is a fairly wide temperature span between those points. Foams like EPS, don’t have such a large span and it’s really easy to get from pliable, to liquid with EPS.

Ok, so changing the core material from a flat sheet into a melted and bent curved piece, or pieces is different than the current state of the art for making skimmers. Current, the flat sheets are bent during the lamination process. But they are still wanting to sort of bend back to their original flat state inside the lamination. We really have no idea if those forces are “material” meaning that they make a difference, but we thought we’d try it to see. The process was interesting, we applied the epoxy to the inside of the thicker piece of the core, the aligned the thinner piece of the core to the bottom and sort of “attached” it. Next we placed the two pieces on top of our modified rocker table and pulled a vacuum. Once the two pieces were in bent into the appropriate shape we started heating the the core up to it’s softening point of 212 degrees. So at this stage, we achieved a couple of note-worthy things. First is that we bent the core by thermoforming.

Second, we also cured that epoxy like a scalded cat! Epoxy normally cures in terms of hours. Most epoxies are room temperture cures, meaning they don’t require elevated tempartures and a normal cure cycle is around 2 to 5 hours. We had final cure around 30 minutes. From a production standpoint, that is comparable to using polyester resin. We’re not sure if the bond strength was negatively affected with that high heat, but it will be a fun test! Potentially, that is a way to affect a few changes in working with epoxy and these divinycell core skimmers, creating a female mold, or half of a female mold and heating the sheet foam, plus say an external lamination could create a co-cured bent rocker, sandwich structure and possibly the bottom lamination, lapping the rails somewhat.

Definitely interesting! If the epoxy isn’t overly brittle from the high heat, we are liking this concept for reducing working times, without having to step down to a lower quality resin, in the form of polyester, simply to reduce processing time.

So here is the one picture we have of the thermoformed board after the cure cycle. It’s a little hard to see and we were busy during the heat and bend cycle so didn’t get any pictures. But you can see below the nose rocker and the two layers of foam bent and attached. Oh huh and a nice grey pinstripe suit!

bent

Thanks so much for following along, we really appreciate it!

Technorati Tags: co-cure, thermoform, wakesurf board

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Skim skin

Authors: Flyboy Wakesurf

We want to skip ahead on our R&D skimmer build, to talk about a concept we wanted to try. We had this idea of creating a multi-density foam skim board, not like on a surf style board with a low density core material, but with a normal higher density core and then an even HIGHER density skin on the deck side, thermoformed over the rails and bonded over the entire surface.

Our thought was that we could improve the durability of the deck side where most heel dents and the like occur, plus by wrapping the skin over the rails where it would curve, we could increase the stiffness our along the rails. We’ve talked about how “grab rails” are actually a means of stiffening the rail out along the perimeter similar in function to the folds and indentations on your cars door skins.

So…we didn’t do that! We’re sorry! We had PLANNED to, but never got around to buying the material and supplies we would have needed to make that deck skin. Part of the planning for that build, was that the remainder of the core is about 1/8″ thinner than the final overall thickness that we wanted to achieve. So we had to add something to structure to get it back up to the thickness we want. We opted out of the more difficult wrapping the rails, since we are going to be using the same density material for this skin, as the rest of the core. So wrapping would have just increased the complexity without really giving us a true test of the increase in stiffness out along the rails due to the wrapping. So, instead we will just glue the skin to the bottom and call it good.

We want to go off on a tangent for a moment. There are, in our minds, six sort of pillars of ethical behavior: Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring and Citizenship. We are pretty sure that most folks would agree that ethical behaviors are preferred, what’s the opposite? It’s better to be unethical?! No one would publicly say that, although their behaviors may indicate otherwise. So we all sort of publicly or openly confirm: Be honest, don’t deceive, cheat or steal. Treat others with respect. Play by the rules, don’t take advantage of others. So when we show you stuff like this, where we wind up changing something because we forgot to order materials or just got impatient or lazy, we’re being straightforward. It’s not some test of how this arrangement would work compared to the deck skin arrangement, we just got lazy. There you go! So, we do that, because…well it’s easier and also, it’s honest and ethical. AND that gives you reason to trust what we are saying elsewhere. We’ve seen unethical behaviors and you simply can’t ignore them and think those folks are ethical elsewhere. If you lie, cheat, steal, mislead elsewhere, you’re pretty likely to do it everywhere. We really value your ability to trust us, so when we say we’re lazy it’s honest!!! :) And you can trust the rest of what we are saying, too.

Ok, so back on track.

Since we needed to increase the thickness and we didn’t want to mess with wrapping the rails on the deck side, that really only left gluing the skin to the bottom. We’re kinda hoping that adding the skin to the bottom with help the flat sheets retain some of the rocker that we’ll glue in, but as we’ve mentioned before, it really takes 3 layers of “whatever” to achieve that.

So the first thing we do is trace the outline of the core onto the skin, flush around the outline.

skin 1

This skin is 3 mm divinycell H80. It’s a 5 pound density, as opposed to the 8 or 10 pound we wanted to use. It’s relatively stiff, but at this thickness cuts with a pair of scissors, somewhat like heavy construction paper.

skin 2

Then we sort of match it to the outline of the core, which we haven’t shared with you as yet, but we’ve shaped the outline and also the rails.

skin 3

Had we gone ahead with out original plan, we would have cut the outline 1/4″ narrower than planned, so that when we added the deck skin, the structure would have filled out to the final measurment.

Ok, so that was what we wanted to share, best laid plans, huh? We’ll most likely back up and start where we left off before this post to bring everyone up to speed. Thanks for following along and being patient with this convoluted presentation!

Technorati Tags: being honest, skimboard skin

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