December 10, 2013 at 1:59 am #671
I am getting a lot of people enquiring about volume lately.
ie: litres. Typical question would be, “How many litres in a 6’1” Psillakis Miss Curvaceous? I understand that volume has an important roll in surfboard design, BUT it isnt the holly grail when it comes to finding the perfect board.
People often associate the “RIGHT” volume will help them with paddling into waves, stability, drive etc etc… While this is true in some extent, it is no where near as important than other areas that contribute to the above mentioned.
Lets take a look at a few things….
1. Volume versus Foil (distribution)
For argument sake, lets say 35 litres is “your magic number”. If that number in the way of volume isnt distributed (foiled) the right way. (nose thin, tail thick) the board will be hard to paddle into waves, it wont preserve the momentum through flat sections, feel unstable and a whole list of problems. And that goes the same if the tails too thin and the nose is too thick. It will feel heavy to manoeuvre and bogging through turns.
2. Volume versus Plan shape
Again, if the plan shape isnt balanced well, just like the foil of a board, you will experience a variety of problems, even though your “litres” are right for you.
The list is long (how many litres in just the rails etc etc. I could go on….
These (the dynamics of design) are by far more important to me, as a shaper, than just a number of how many litres. You dont need to be so critical with litres, its just another marketing tool for online sales to give you, the buyer, to relate to something tangible. Im afraid that surfboards arent so mono dimensional. Ive ridden many boards, some very buoyant others not so buoyant. The most critical thing is how that object in the water we call surfboards displacers water. As they say… Whatever floats your boat!!
December 12, 2013 at 6:52 am #691
Awesome post Mike, thank you very much for taking the time to write this down. You know this material better than most!
I am a bit of a volume convert and I spruik volume a lot on the site because, in a world of surfboard choice, it’s easy for the consumer to compare models of many different manufacturers, shapes and sizes if you have an idea of what will float you. That said, I recognise and agree that there is an art form beyond simply a volume number or range.
And those surfers lucky enough to have a direct relationship with a shaper will always have much more refined and fine tuned equipment vs. standard ‘off of the rack’ boards.
May 15, 2014 at 12:27 am #1617
I have a thought…all these measurements of volume on boards are related to weight. What about the height of a person.
I am roughly 6’1 and around 75kg – tall and skinny. I see all these measurements saying oh you should ride this little 5’8 board because it’ll float you. Well it may float me but it doesn’t take into account i am tall – i spread my stance out and i have size 11 feet. Soo..longer boards with the foam distributed
July 8, 2014 at 11:22 am #2064
Mike great to hear your opinion as a shaper. Its punters with far less knowledge trying to get more tangible info on whether a particular board is more likely to work for them, and a novice is only going to have a crude understanding of surfboard design and will grab at dimensions because numbers are easier to understand and compare than more subtle concepts like foil/plan shape/rail shape/bottom curvature etc. I am aware that volume distribution is crucial – I’ve got a shortboard with more volume than my step up but no way I’m taking that summer board near any waves of consequence, it just doesn’t work. Having said that, the relatively recent trend of providing volumes for boards I have to say I’ve found very useful. Definitely not the be all & end all but it helps. “A little bit of knowledge can be dangerous” and that applies here too.
January 1, 2015 at 2:57 am #3208
Totally agree with you Mundies. I’m 6 feet 5 and I weigh 240 pounds and have tried every big guy board option there is. When you are tall your legs drag in the water for one thing and your stance is wider, and your shoulders may well be wider too, so the right length, width combo is vital. Also, having been sidelined from an injury one summer, I spent days on a trip to Ragaln watching people surf all day (shear hell). From that trip I learn’t a great deal: a large population of surfers have all the boards brilliantly reviewed here. Short, stubby, and super hip. And most of them go straight, or move in a way that they could have ridden a mini mal and done the same job, but caught more waves. Short stubby boards under the wrong feet also fail in pointbreaks. the shorter rail line makes them slow unless you can pump and position correctly. Stick those guys on say, a six ten Lost RV and most will be surfing better, with more flow and more chance of matching moves to teh speed of the wave.
Bottom line: extra volume is great, and all the other right design elements too of course. But extra length is a must for a great many lulled into rejecting it because its not hip and happening right now.
January 17, 2015 at 1:21 pm #3298
Kiwi – recently lent a short summer board but +++ volume maybe 36L heaps up the front but nice pulled in tail. Grommet maybe 2/3 my weight had a go (60kg) for about 2 months and it became clear that at that lesser body weight that water was getting pushed in front of the board when paddling slowing it down. Smaller board and she was getting into waves better. Only just starting down that path so hopefully honing in on the best dimensions for her surfing progression.
September 26, 2014 at 7:18 am #2839
Its interesting what you say about the foil. I just bought an Original Sixty Niner from Pukas. This has a wider nose and a thinner tail and lots of volume. The 6.4 has 42~ Litres. This board is an absolute monster though when it comes to paddling and catching waves, due to the widest point being right under my chest/shoulders. This creates real stability and drive. However there is usually an association with higher volume boards and smaller wave range/grovelling. This is just not the case with this board, the thin tail means it goes better in shoulder high and above and the thin round tail also allows for precision in the pocket as the waves get hollow.
November 13, 2014 at 4:38 am #2999
Totally agree with you Mike. So many factors as opposed to just the volume. If it were just volume, then you could just buy a foam block from the hardware store and try to catch a wave!
But I still think it’s one of the most important values in finding what board is right for a particular person based on weight and skills etc.
It’s really up to the shaper to get all the elements just right, and know what lengths certain people will need, and fit the volume for each model of board accordingly.
In the shapers we trust!
December 31, 2014 at 12:55 am #3207
For me volume is a great way to think about my boards and how they compare to new ones i’m thinking about buying. It’s a lot more useful than length. It’s not the be all and end all of course, but a good starting point. Different designs might lend themselves to less or more volume so yes there is no magic number.
January 17, 2015 at 12:50 pm #3295
This was copied from Swaylocks and edited to fit 80 words. Author:Bert Burger.
You only need adequate float ..
More float than you need doesn’t equate to better wave catching only equates to worse performance , and as counter intuitive as it sounds , worse wave catching.
Simple law of physics ..
The more area , the less speed needed to plane ..
The less area , the more speed needed to plane ..
A surfboard only functions when it is on the plane on the surface of the wave.
The surface area is relavent to the operating speed,
Low speed small waves , and you need more area.
All these new super chunky boat designs are a total a myth.
I validated this one 15 years ago , with 2 identical outlines , both being the same length and width.
One at 3.5 “ thick the other at 1 ¾ thick …
The thinner one caught waves easier , was faster and more responsive.
Both boards were super wide at 6-4 x 23.
January 17, 2015 at 12:52 pm #3296
Even tho the thin one actually had not enough volume and I sank past my chest while stationary , as soon as took a few strokes, all the surface area allowed me to be up on the plane and right back at the surface ..
Why did the thin one catch waves easier and perform better ???
3 factors …
1… A thicker board naturally comes with a thicker rail , so its harder to create a defined apex where the water releases , so as you take off the thicker one has more water wrapping the rail , slowing it down , along with more rail engaged in the face holding it back …
2.. the thick one , took way more effort to bury the rail especially on the first pump while attempting to get speed , so it was naturally slower to get going because it was less responsive…
3 … you completely fuck up the flex in a thick board , the thick one relied on buoyancy off the first pump , I would have to bury the rail , then wait for it to float or cork out , as it did this I could then sink the opposite rail and start to pump ..
The thin one could bury the rail immediately , as well as flex into the turn , then spring out with projection and I was away at lightning speed ..
Just think about what that means in terms of a quick get away ,, flexing an object and springing out of a turn or sinking an object and waiting for it to float to the surface..
Yes the volume of your board is important …
But the surface area is more important …
January 17, 2015 at 12:59 pm #3297
Yes the volume of your board is important …
But the surface area is more important …
You can have not enough volume and adequate or more surface area and the board will still function …
You have adequate or more volume and not enough surface area and the board will not function …
End of quote.
I always thought thicker was better, but going to change and try going thinner.
January 17, 2015 at 1:26 pm #3299
Too much volume up front in a short board / hybrid board then you end up pushing water in front of you when paddling thus slowing you down. Shit. Equals less waves caught.
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