Winter Weapons: which board is best for you?

DaveySKY Surfboards Pipe Dream
Andy Dillon surfing a DaveySKY Surfboards 6’3.5 Pipe Dream in Sea Bright, New Jersey

Happy New Year everyone! Hope everyone had an enjoyable holiday season!

Been quite a while since my last post, but finally found some time to sit down again write. My last post broke down the summer series board models, and now with winter upon us, I’d like to do a similar post for winter board options.

Let’s start with the obvious: winter surfing is a whole different ball game. The water is freezing, winds are typically heavy and bone-chilling, the waves can get HEAVY and you’re cocooned in restrictive rubber. Add all these factors to the everyday challenges of surfing, and having the right equipment under your feet becomes critical to having fun and being successful in winter waves.

My focus will be on the more performance based board models for the purposes of this post, geared towards the good storm swell we tend to get in winter here in NJ and on the U.S. east coast.

There are 5 of my board models I’ll be comparing: Turbo Ripper, Love, The Dream, Pipe Dream and Charger. All of these boards are designed to handle pitchy, hollow, fast, and/or barreling waves typical of winter.

I’ll start off the the performance hybrids – the Turbo Ripper and Love. They both have a similar ideal wave range, but have different characteristics and personalities.

I’ll start off with my #1 seller: the Turbo Ripper. The Turbo Ripper has a moderate nose rocker with a fairly low tail rocker. What that translates to is a pretty friendly nose when it comes to pitchy/late drops (even though the Turbo Ripper is designed to get you in a bit early – but it’s bound to happen here in the Atlantic) and a lightning fast and drivey tail section for tons of inherent speed to make the fast beach break sections. The Turbo Ripper can handle a multitude of waves very well – open faced, bowly, hollow, barreling. If barrels are a main focus, I’d recommend pulling in the width a notch or two (1/4″-1/2″) as it’s naturally a wider performance board. While it has draw away a bit from it’s ability to carry over flatter sections, this will increase its stability and hold in dredging, hollow sections. Very quick, agile and energetic from rail to rail, the Turbo Ripper is such an excellent all-around performance hybrid shortboard for the conditions we have here year round, which is why it’s become such a successful board model and has produced so many stoked customers. It’s a workhorse utility board for a great array of waves.

Next up in the performance hybrids: the Love. The rocker concept of the Love is essentially opposite of the Turbo Ripper, having a screaming low nose rocker for this type of board with a modern flippy but continuous tail rocker. That results in extra paddle power to get in as early as possible, but – along with the tight round/round pin tail – the ability to feel nice and stable deep in the pocket, where the Love is really designed to shine. The ideal conditions for the Love is a nice almondly barreling and bowly wave, though it’s designed to handle hollower, dredgier conditions as well. As with the Turbo Ripper, the width can be narrowed and tailored to you personally. While the Turbo Ripper is very quick from rail to rail, the Love is smoother and more connected from rail to rail – due to both the tail shape, tail rocker and bottom contours. Think big power carves and roundhouse cutbacks. Super reliable and consistent feeling underfoot.

On to the high performance shortboards: The Dream and the Pipe Dream. They can be thought of as fraternal twins – they have very similar chassis, but are quite different in their performance. They both have modern performance rockers, widths and rails designed for solid waves and critical surfing. They naturally take more effort to paddle and surf than the performance hybrids, but they really excel in their own ideal wave ranges.

The Dream is the more all-around/versatile of the two. You’ll ride it shorter than you would the Pipe Dream, which mean’s it’s naturally more agile. It’s quite a unique tail shape and outline curve in the tail. It’s kind of a hybrid shape between a thumb and squash tail. The concept of the tail shape is to (in powerful, sizable waves) maintain the rail-to-rail quickness and off-the-top snappiness of a squash tail, but to have the hold, consistency and barrel-ability of a rounder/pinier tail. It took a few iterations to nail, but it’s a really useful and versatile tail shape. The Dream can kind of be thought of as a step up Turbo Ripper as far its range of waves. It has a medium rail for good drive generation when needed.

The Pipe Dream is geared towards…you guessed it…barrels! But, it has a trick or two up its sleeve to make it more than just a one trick pony. When it comes to surfing barrels, having a dedicated barrel board really makes a difference. The Pipe Dream is that difference. It’s designed to deliver ultra consistency and control, phenomenal rail hold and an ample amount of speed for making dredgy beach break barrels. These advantages of course result in a draw-back, and that is in the category of turning – however, unlike a traditional barrel board, the Pipe Dream was designed to be put on rail and crank our some world-class turns, so don’t worry about that. That’s also part of the reason for the two sets of dimensions for the Pipe Dream: standard and wide. The standard dims are a bit more of a traditional barrel board, where the wide dims give it a bit more versatility, adding some extra curve to the rail line.

So those are the shortboards, but that still leaves the option of the Charger. While a new model released in 2015, I’ve made several boards that resulted in the model release for customers over the past few years. The Charger is categorized as a performance midlength – although I have some shorter sizes as well. The Charger is primarily a down-the-line board, especially the 6’6 and up sizes. It’s very popular with my middle age and up customers, although there’s been increasing interest from the younger crowd as well!…particularly in the smaller sizes. The Charger has tons a rail line, even in the shorter sizes, giving it incredible rail hold. The round tail with a thumb influence gives consistency with ability to move. The Charger is friendly to different tail shapes though – round, round/thumb, thumb, pin, or rounded pin naturally work very well depending on what your goals are with your new Charger.

Summer Shortboards: Which is the best surfboard model for you?

Hey everyone! Hope everyone is having a great summer so far and been getting some good waves in with the fun swells we’ve had.

Rather than an in depth Board Breakdown of one of my models, getting into the details of the rails, bottom contours, rockers, etc – I wanted to break down the entire Summer Shortboards model line to help explain how they compare to each other.

First I’d like to say that the description “Summer Shortboards” is a bit misleading; while they’re designed to handle the typical waves we tend to get during summer, they aren’t by any means only limited to summer waves. In fact, many of my customers have switched to surfing these boards almost entirely and year round. They are quite versatile and tons of fun.

So the 5 current boards in the Summer Shortboard model line are the Reviver, MicroJet, Mango Pit, Coconut and Chia Seed. While there is some overlap between the models, they each have their own personalities and characteristics.

To give a little perspective as quickly as possible: The MicroJet and Coconut have the most rocker, the Reviver and Chia Seed have the most overall width, and the Mango Pit has the most surface area.

The Reviver and MicroJet were both designed with performance surfing and performance shortboard characteristics in mind, where as the Mango Pit, Coconut and Chia Seed were not designed with a performance shortboard heavily in mind – they were designed less around performance surfing and more around fun, versatility and ease of use.

So first to compare the more performance oriented boards of the Summer Shortboards: the Reviver and MicroJet . The MicroJet more closely resembles and feels like a traditional high performance shortboard – you’d typically ride the MicroJet a couple/few inches longer than you would the Reviver. The MicroJet has more rail hold and therefore naturally hold better in bigger conditions. Even though it’s technically above its wave range it was designed for, I’ve had customers that have had the MicroJet out in 1′-2′ overhead waves and it held and surfed brilliantly. The Reviver, while it has less rail hold at high speed (I give it a comfortable max wave height of about shoulder high [this is due to it’s shortness, width and ultra low rocker]), it is more agile than the MicroJet and turns and maneuvers more readily. The Reviver paddles and catches waves a bit easier especially on the lower end of the wave spectrum due to its lower rocker than the MicroJet. So for the closest feel and characteristics to a traditional high performance shortboard, especially in a touch bigger surf, go with the MicroJet. For extreme agility, especially in shoulder high and smaller surf, go with the Reviver.

Now on to the more laid back boards of the Summer Shortboards: the Mango Pit, Coconut and Chia Seed. Even though they’re not designed with high performance surfing or shortboards directly in mind, don’t be confused – these things can still crank out phenomenal turns and surf extremely well. The right surfer can surf these more or less just as critically as the Reviver or MicroJet.

The Mango Pit is fast, fun, a bit loose and energetic. Although you don’t HAVE to surf it this way, it really likes a lot of user input, hence the description of “energetic”. The Mango Pit was designed for the energetic soul surfer. It catches waves incredibly easy – possibly easier than any of the other boards in the Summer Series Shortboards model line due to it’s extremely high surface area and ultra low rocker. The Mango Pit likes bowly, almondly wave faces best – in really pitchy, dredging conditions it can feel a bit squirrelly due to its relatively wide tail – though it’s pulled in behind the fins to help stabilize it out a bit and fit more naturally into the semi-pitchy waves we always seem to get here on the U.S. East Coast. It’s really fast and keeps its speed incredibly well through the flats. It’s an awesome longboard alternative, as well, as long as the waves have a bit of punch to them. The Coconut is designed to feel flowy and consistent underfoot. It’s super curvy and has enough rocker to fit into most any spot on the wave naturally. In some ways a one board quiver, especially if you order it as a Quad+1 or 5 fin convertible. It turns really well and consistently, drawing flowing, connected lines and turns, is quick and – best of all – is designed to give you no surprises. It’s super reliable and handles a very wide variety of wave conditions. It’s an excellent trip board, too. The Chia Seed is the most laid back of them all – with its pulled in but wide pin tail, it’s designed primarily for down the line surfing, flowing from the top to the bottom of the wave making primarily forward motion, and having long, drawn out turns and projection. In some ways, you can think of it as having log/cruiser longboard characteristics as far as the way it was designed to be surfed – and I do have quite a few longboarders order the Chia Seed for that reason – who want a shorter board but maintain the longboard-esque style of surfing.

So there you have it! The Summer Shortboards model line breakdown! While they do have some overlap, the Reviver, MicroJet, Mango Pit, Coconut and Chia Seed certainly all have their own unique personalities and characteristics. Hopefully this helps to categorize that for each model a bit better and lays out where they fall on the design and wave spectrum and will help make the best model(s) for you jump right off the page.

As always, if you’re still not quite sure which model would be best for you and would like some feedback, have any other questions or are ready to place an order for your own custom surfboard, drop me a line at info@daveyskysurfboards.com, call 732-701-7SKY (7759) or swing by any time during normal shop hours (though I highly recommend making an appointment so I can make myself personally available to meet and talk).

Thanks for reading everyone!

Go surf!

-Dave Kaminsky

Founder & Owner

Surfboard Glassing Schedules: Weight vs Strength

This is a very important topic that is quite well hidden in the mainstream surf industry: glassing schedules. The glassing schedule is the layup of fiberglass cloth that a surfboard has which forms the “skin” around the foam core, providing a combination of strength, durability, flex, and waterproofing. The glassing schedule consists of two things: (1) the number of layers of fiberglass cloth on both the deck and the bottom of the board, and (2) the weights of each layer of fiberglass cloth. The glassing schedule defines the overall weight, strength and flex of your surfboard, as well as the weight, strength and flex distribution. For the purposes of this blog post, I’ll be focusing primarily on the weight and strength aspects – I’ll tackle flex in a different post.

So if you were to poll a group of surfers to describe the perfect surfboard, they would probably all say “super lightweight and super strong!”. The truth is that there’s really not quite any such thing (at least without breaking the bank) – the lighter weight you want your board to be, the less inherent strength it’s going to have. The stronger you want your board to be, the heavier it’s going to be. There’s always a trade-off. However, the good news is that there are a lot of opinions and compromises that fit the bill for any surfer.

I’ll be talking about standard glassing schedules for shortboards, which consists of 2 layers of fiberglass cloth on the deck and 1 layer of fiberglass cloth on the bottom. The deck gets 2 layers because it has to deal with the normal pressures and impacts of your feet and body, whereas (ideally) the bottom is only dealing with water.

There are two main types of fiberglass cloths used in standard surfboard construction: 4 oz. and 6 oz. cloth, which refers to how much the fiberglass cloth weighs per square yard. Here are my standard glassing schedules:

Comp Glass 4+4/4: This is a typical “competition” lightweight performance glassing schedule. It refers to two layers of 4 oz. fiberglass cloth on the deck (4+4) and one layer of 4 oz. fiberglass cloth on the bottom (/4). It’s as light as we recommend going – there are lighter options, but they result in a significant reduction in strength. We want your board to last, so this is typically the lightest glassing schedule we recommend. If you know you like your boards nice and lightweight and/or aren’t heavy on your boards, this is the most popular shortboard glassing schedule world wide. When you walk into any surf shop, pretty much all the big brand names have this general glassing schedule (or lighter versions of it). Our quality is superior and this is certainly a strong enough glassing schedule to get the job done for most surfers in most conditions.

Comp+ Glass 4+4/6: This is a step up from the typical competition performance glassing schedule. It refers to two layers of 4 oz. fiberglass cloth on the deck (4+4) and one layer of 6 oz. fiberglass cloth on the bottom (/6). By replacing the bottom layer of 4 oz. with a layer of 6 oz., you get an increase in strength on the bottom (read: bottom impact and buckle strength increase) of the board as well as the rails. While glassing schedules aren’t typically though about this way, it’s the most well balanced glassing schedule as far as the top-to-bottom weight ratio: for every square yard, it’s 8 oz on the deck to 6 oz on the bottom; a 4:3 weight ratio. Though it’s not necessarily something easily noticed by the average surfer, it’s the most well balanced weight ratio. Physics says that’s a good thing for performance, consistency and predictability. If you want some added strength, still want a relatively lightweight board and tend not to be too hard on the decks of your boards, this could be a great choice for you.

Dura Glass 6+4/6: This is a durable (get it??) glassing schedule while saving a little weight. It refers to one layer of of 6 oz. fiberglass cloth and one layer of 4 oz. fiberglass cloth on the deck (6+4) and one layer of 6 oz. fiberglass cloth on the bottom (/6). By replacing the bottom layer of 4 oz. with a layer of 6 oz. AND one of the deck layers of 4 oz. with 6 oz., you get an increase in strength on the bottom, the deck and the rails. By keeping one of the layers of the deck 4 oz., you save a bit of weight there. If you want a very durable board and/or tend to be hard on your boards, don’t mind some extra weight but want to save a little bit of weight, this is a great option. This is also a great option for midlengths and even ultralight weight performance longboards.

Power Glass 6+6/6: This is the strongest standard glassing schedule available. It refers to two layers of of 6 oz. fiberglass cloth deck (6+6) and one layer of 6 oz. fiberglass cloth on the bottom (/6). It is inherently the heaviest, but also the strongest and most durable.

Team Glass 4S+4E/4S: All of the above glassing schedules use what’s called E-weave glass. This glassing schedule uses a combination os E-weave glass and an impact glass called S-glass. S-glass is about 20% stronger than it’s E-weave counterpart, but the same exact weight. So our Team Glass schedule is the same exact weight as our Comp Glass schedule, but stronger. Not as strong as the Dura or Power Glass schedules, but a good notch stronger than the regular Comp Glass. It’s an alternative way to get more strength and durability while keeping weight down. It’s a bit more expensive due to the higher cost of S-glass. Doing all 3 layers of 4S glass is also possible.

So how big of a weight difference are we talking about here? Well it depends on the size, shape, dimensions and construction of the board, but for shortboards from Comp Glass to Power Glass, it can be the difference of ~1 to 2+ pounds. So, for easiness, roughly a 20% weight increase.

So those are the general characteristics of standard surfboard glassing schedules. There are other types of glass as well, such as volan, but they’re usually used more for longboards or unique glassing schedules. The glassing schedule is the major determiner of the strength vs weight along with whether your board is poly or epoxy construction, which you can read about in our previous blog post here.

Still not sure which would be best for you? No problem at all, I’m happy to talk it through with you so we can arrive at the best decision together. Just email me at info@daveyskysurfboards.com

Thanks again for reading! Next up will be a new Board Breakdown of one of my summer series boards….stay tuned!

Go Surf!

-Dave

P.S. If you’ve ever seen a board with color that looks like is has darker and lighter sections – usually darkest on the rails and lighter on the deck and bottom, it may be a resin tinted board that shows the glassing schedule. The resin that soaks into the fiberglass cloth has been transparently tinted/dyed a color, and where the most amount of layers overlap (the rails) the color will be the darkest. In some sometimes you can also see an extra tail patch or deck patch that way, too, like in these 5’11 & 5’7 Mango Pits:

DaveySKY 5'11 Mango Pit
Surfboard Glassing Schedule example via resin tint

 

DaveySKY 5'7 Mango Pit
Surfboard Glassing Schedule example via resin tint

 

Poly vs Epoxy Construction: which is better?

Hey everyone! I felt this was important topic to tackle for my first real blog post, because it seems to be a subject that carries a lot of misconceptions. So I’d like to take a moment to clarify some information about the two different construction types, the physical properties of the materials and my personal preferences/opinions regarding them.

First up: “poly” construction. Poly gets its name from both the resin AND the foam: polyester resin and polyurethane foam. Poly is the traditional surfboard building materials used since foam core surfboards were invented, and is still the most widely used construction method today. Poly is often incorrectly referred to as “fiberglass” construction – the reason this is incorrect is because the same exact fiberglass cloth is used in both poly and epoxy construction types, it’s the foam core and resin that soaks into the fiberglass cloth (and foam) that differ. While poly construction in general is a bit heavier and isn’t quite as strong as epoxy construction, it tends to have a more consistent and predictable feeling underfoot. This is due primarily to a slower flex pattern and denser foam than epoxy construction, which basically causes less “surprises” and more predictability while surfing, especially when making hard or sharp turns. Poly construction tends to be more naturally conducive to color work, especially translucent resin tints – though I tend to have almost equal success with both construction types with forethought. Poly is also a bit less sensitive to water infiltration and heat than epoxy construction.

The name “epoxy” construction is a little less specific. Epoxy refers to the resin only – epoxy resin. The foam used for epoxy construction boards is called expanded polystyrene, or EPS foam for short. Again, the same exact fiberglass cloth that is used for poly construction is used in epoxy construction. Epoxy in general is lighter and stronger than poly construction, though the resin is technically more brittle. Epoxy construction boards tend to be springier and livelier than poly boards due to an inherently faster flex pattern and less dense foam. This springiness and liveliness can be considered less predictable and consistent underfoot, as it can create more “surprises” and less predictability while surfing. EPS foam has a bit more of a natural ability to resist heel dents, etc, than poly foam, though any construction type will heel dent over time, more so with heavier surfers and/or lighter glassing schedules and is natural in surfboard construction. Epoxy construction needs a bit more attention, especially if it has any medium or dark color work. Epoxy resin has what’s called a glass transition temperature, which is the temperature at which the resin will soften and become pliable and malleable. This temperature for epoxy resin is approximately 120 degrees Fahrenheit (for poly, it’s a good notch higher) – a temperature that can be reached very easily within a matter of minutes during the summer in, oh, let’s say…the inside of a car (hint hint! [side note: heat is the enemy of all surfboard construction types. They handle cold very well, but not heat. For the best care and longevity of your surfboard, don’t leave it in the car especially during the summer and cover it with a towel when you’re not using it on the beach. And NEVER clean wax off with a hair dryer or heat gun!]). Once it drops back down below that temperature, the epoxy will fully re-harden, but to whatever shape it’s “melted” to. Also, the foam can melt from this, too. Sounds pretty harsh – and it is – but it’s also super easy to prevent with the aforementioned super basic care.

That’s the basics.

So which is better? NEITHER! They each have their own inherent pros and cons, and beyond that, even more important is your own personal preference. That’s VERY important to remember. If you haven’t surfed both construction types and have any preconceived notions about either construction type, push them out of your head. Many people have the idea that poly is better because almost no pro surfers on tour ride epoxy boards. This is simply absurd! Believe it or not, a lot of pro surfers really don’t know or deeply understand what they’re surfing. They just get boards that their sponsors give them, they work for them and they’re used to them and they stick to it. Also important to remember: they’re pro surfers. The other 99.999% of us are not, and we don’t surf the best, more consistent waves on the planet for 3 sessions everyday. We typically need different equipment. On the other side, other people have the idea that epoxy is the only way to go because poly is so much weaker. Again, not really true. While epoxy resin is in general stronger, as I said before it’s also, technically speaking, more brittle (however, when properly glassed [which I do!], it nets a nice, strong board). Poly resin has a bit more give to it without being brittle, which can be a good thing for surfboards, as well. The great thing about getting a custom board from me is that (1) you can choose your glassing schedule (strength vs weight), which I’ll get into further in a later post, and (2) it’s important to me to get to know you as a surfer so that I can make my best recommendation for which construction type will most benefit you with your new board. So neither one is better than the other, they just have different properties; pros and cons. They both certainly have their own place.

So what place do they have? Well, again I’ll preface this with the personal preference clause – every surfer is an individual, and their/your own personal preferences are what’s most important for you – there is no right or wrong. However, here’s my current personal preferences (disclaimer! which do change and vary over time):

I tend to prefer poly for high performance shortboards (The Dream and Pipe Dream), midlengths (Coconut) and longboards (Banana Leaf, Beach Cruiser and Magic Carpet). High performance shortboards tend to be out in bigger, powerful wave conditions and the consistent feeling, flex and slightly higher density are all factors that I find creates a better, more consistent surfing board for those types of conditions, for me at least. Sometimes I find the springiness/liveliness of epoxy to be a bit too much in bigger, more powerful conditions, personally at least. For midlengths and longboards, again it’s a nice consistency which you definitely want in a 7′ to 10’+ foot board, and the bit of extra weight compared to its epoxy counterpart is a good thing – it equals momentum on the wave face.

I really like epoxy for performance-oriented summer series boards (Reviver and MicroJet), because I find the extra springiness/liveliness of epoxy construction really adds some positivity here. It adds a bit of energy to your surfing, which is a good thing in mushy, gutless surf; making it feel like you’re surfing a slightly better, stronger wave than you actually are. Plus, you get a bit of extra buoyancy from epoxy (compared to the same exact dimensions of volume of the same exact board in poly), which is another good thing is mushy, weaker waves. For other other summer series boards that are a bit more laid back in design and geared more towards pure fun (Mango Pit and Chia Seed), both poly and epoxy are great options, though I tend to prefer poly.

For the hybrid shortboards (Jet and Hips) and performance hybrid shortboards (Turbo Dream, Turbo Ripper and Love), you can really go either way and I’m personally split 50/50 between the two construction types, and I find the same trend with my customers. Some like the added float of epoxy and the extra springiness and liveliness; others prefer the consistent feeling of poly. It’s really a pretty even toss up in this category. The last couple years I geared a bit more towards epoxy, but as of recent I’ve really been enjoying poly.

Hope you guys enjoyed the read and learned a thing or two! Certainly a bit lengthy, but an important topic to know about. There’s a lot more to it, so if you have any questions, please feel free to email or comment below.

Go Surf!

-Dave

P.S. – You can also order your board as poly foam and epoxy resin! This is somewhat untraditional and is more costly, but on occasion I do have customers order their boards this way, usually for high performance shortboards/step ups for VERY heavy conditions. So it is an option! However, most of the time, poly or epoxy construction will do the trick.

P.S.S. – You canNOT order your board as EPS foam and poly resin – the styrene in the resin will melt the EPS foam on contact…and I’d prefer not to hand you a puddle of melted foam goo when you come to pick up your brand new custom board!

New Blog!

Hey everyone! Welcome to my brand new blog, where I plan on writing personally to you guys and girls. I became inspired to create a blog from the conversations I have with my customers. As my current customers already know, it’s extremely important to me to help educate not only my customers – but all surfers – on surfboard shapes, construction materials, methods and options, physical properties, etc. One of my primary goals is to help surfers learn what they’re purchasing when buying a surfboard. For those who are used to walking into a surf shop and plucking a board off the shelves (99.9% of surfers!) that’s labeled as being able to be surf in “ankle high to double overhead” and having little to no options, it can certainly be overwhelming to learn about all the options and choosing what might be best for you personally. While I always take as much time as needed with my customers, I decided that creating a blog would enable to tackle one specific topic at a time, collect my thoughts neatly in one place about it, and would result in a great resource for you guys to read through to learn.

So stay tuned, as I’ll be writing as often as possible, including informative posts to how you learn and choose the best options for your custom board, new shapes and evolution of my current shapes, some of my personal favorite boards I’m current building, as well as some guest CUSTOMER TAKE-OVER blog posts where I’ll let a customer write a blog post about their custom DaveySKY surfboard and their experience with it – freely, openly and unedited by me.

And a really quick, huge thank you to all of my current customers. You’re all such awesome people, super supportive and you make all the hard work with it with the incredible feedback.

Go surf!

Dave KaminskyIMG_5621 copy