Stringerless alternative surfboard construction is becoming all the rage with several competing technologies aimed at making your boards lighter, faster, more durable and with more appropriate flex patterns to optimise performance in the water.
Having sampled several of these cool, innovative technologies to alternative surfboard construction, we want to share a quick run down of a few different surfboard construction methods we have tried and tested as well as their purported benefits.
Do you think alternative surfboard construction is a fad or the future? Let’s talk about it in the comments…
1) Convex by Vulcan Surfboards
Convex is a patented stringerless surfboard construction method developed by mad scientist and all around good guy, Dane Hantz of Vulcan Surfboards.
Leveraging two parabolic, crescent shaped channels running the length of a surfboards plan shape, this stringerless surfboard design stores and releases energy through turns with incredible reflex and acceleration with a dramatically lower weight versus a board with a traditional wooden stringer.
By modifying the length and depth, pitch and taper of the channels, the channels are designed specifically to suit an individual surfers ability, weight and surfing style.
So how does it feel? Well, the weight is interesting. It’s almost too light although this can be adjusted. The low weight is great when it’s smaller and cleaner but with a bit of chop, especially in bigger waves, it feels like the board wants to bounce around too much.
That said, doing your first backhand turn on a convex engineered board, you will immediately notice how incredibly snappy the flex patterns are. There is no loss of energy through turns, it’s quite amazing.
2) X Core Reactor by Sculpt Surfboards
Developed by Nick Miles of Sculpt Surfboards, X Core Reactor technology uses military grade unidirectional carbon fibre strips weaved through an EPS blank at an angle to the flat plane of the board and curved out at the tip and tail to allow for flex where you want it. Sound complicated? Watch this short 00:25 second video:
The simple goal of the X Core Reactor configuration is to have:
“Strength where it’s needed. Flex where it’s wanted.”
X Core Reactor claims that this carbon stringer placement creates more lively and efficient flex patterns through turns at just the right points on the board while maintaining more drive and control than your traditional wooden stringered board in the pocket and through turns.
Of course, the materials used in should also make this board more durable over time, allowing the board to perform better for longer.
What surfboard brands use X Core Reactor technology? Chilli Surfboards, Webber Surfboards, Hammo Surfboards and, of course, Sculpt Surfboards.
3) FutureFlex by Haydenshapes
Formerly ‘FibreFlex’ technology, the now ubiquitous FutureFlex technology is the most well known of the stringerless technologies covered in this list. Developed by iconic founder and owner of Haydenshapes Surfboards, Hayden Cox, FutureFlex incorporates parabolic carbon fibre rails framed around a high density EPS core.
In isolation, the carbon rails will do little to improve the dynamics of a FutureFlex board. As stated on the FutureFlex site, however:
“The key to the flex pattern of the FutureFlex boards is the parabolic carbon fiber frame that is constructed within the laminate. The carbon fiber frame is designed to maximise speed and drive whilst maintaining a flex pattern that flows with the wave. The structural design of the frame minimises twisting of the board, which results in a very lively and responsive flex pattern. You will feel the board responding to your surfing much quicker, which results in more speed and drive when you need it.”
Having ridden several Haydenshapes boards in FutureFlex (and FibreFlex before that), it’s worth noting that Haydenshapes have made great strides in getting the weight balance right on their boards so they don’t feel corky or overly buoyant. Still light, they sit well in the water yet still enjoy the speed and liveliness benefits of the less dense EPS construction.
What surfboard brands use FutureFlex technology? Haydenshapes, of course! But you will also fine FutureFlex wrapped around a multitude of other brands including Channel Islands Surfboards, Lost Surfboards, SUPERBrand Surfboards, Rusty Surfboards, Chilli Surfboards and many more.
4) Carbon Wrap by DMS
Last on our list Carbon Wrap, a patented system developed by Gold Coast shaper Dan MacDonald of DMS Surfboards.
Starting again with a stringerless EPS core surfboard blank, carbon strips on the bottom of a Carbon Wrap surfboard run from tip to just before the fins where the carbon strips flare to the rail and wrap around the rail onto the deck, allowing for extra pop and snap back when the tail is flexed through turns.
The Carbon Wrap strips on the bottom serve to strengthen the board through the point load area while increasing liveliness as the boards flexes torsionally through turns.
Having ridden a Carbon Wrap …Lost Surfboards Short Round [See the review…], the feel of the board is quite amazing in the water. You will find yourself making crisp, clean turns with snappy exits into the next part of the wave.
What surfboard brands use Carbon Wrap technology? Carbon Wrap is now exclusive to DMS Surfboards and Lost Surfboards and is available globally.
While all trying to achieve a similar goal of creating a surfboard that is lighter, faster, more durable and with more responsive, lively flex patterns, these 4 alternative surfboard construction methods approach the challenge in slightly different ways.
Which method do you think is best? Do you think alternative surfboard construction is a fad or the future? Let’s talk about it in the comments…