Broken Surfboard – What’s really happening!

Broken Surfboards – Every surfboard can break under different circumstances. Read about how a surfboard can break and learn more about the different forces which are putting it under stress.

 

FOOTPRINTS ARE GOOD – AVOID WRONG LANDINGS WHILE DOING AN AERIAL

2: Shows the compression forces the surfboard is experiencing while a goofy footed pro surfer is surfing on it. Green and blue are compression forces, dark blue = maximum pressure. The yellow area is not affected. A surfboard is not able to break while surfing on it. In the area which is under stress in footprints will occurr. Pro surfers ride very light boards, they often surf at great surfing spots with big steep waves that break over shallow reefs. So, they break more surfboards than average surfers ever would.

3: A surfboard with forces being applied to it experiences stress. These forces may be caused by getting hit by waves, the surfer riding on it, or hitting the ocean floor. One of the most stressful tricks for a surfboard to go through is an aerial. The picture above shows what forces the board experiences when the aerial is not landed correctly. The surfer could break the surfboard where they landed on it.

 

AVOID A BROKEN SURFBOARD – AVOID WAVE IMPACTS ON THE DECK

4: The picture shows the forces on a surfboard when it is hit with a wave. The lip of the wave presses down on the deck of the surfboard with a lot of force. The water under the surfboard prevents it from moving down under the force of the wave. The force on the top of the surfboard causes the top of the deck to compress (compression), and the bottom of the board to stretch (tension).

5: When a wave crashes onto the top of a surfboard, the highest part of the deck (usually right on top of the stringer) is the area that gets hit from the strongest force. Most surfboards only have one highest point on their decks, so they are easy to break from the top. Overhead waves with very steep faces that are breaking in two or three feet of water are more likely to cause a surfboard to break if the surfer pearls or has a bad wipe out.

6: When a pro surfer turns their board upside-down, it’s no accident. They are trying to prevent a broken surfboard. They know that the strongest side of the board is the bottom. A surfboard will usually have two highest points on the bottom, and they are along the rails (dotted lines). These are the strongest areas of the bottom of the board. The deck of a surfboard usually has one strongest area, and the bottom has two.

 

AVOID A BROKEN SURFBOARD – PREFER WAVE IMPACTS AT THE BOTTOM OF YOUR SURFBAORD

7: When a wave crashes onto the bottom of a surfboard, the board is able to move out of the way better than if it was right-side-up. The rocker of the bottom of the board is able to deflect the strong force of the wave hitting the bottom.

8: Of course there is also the issue of hitting the bottom of the ocean. When a surfboard gets stuck or wedged under a rock or something at the bottom of the ocean, it is held in place while waves crash onto it. Better get it un-stuck!

 

WHAT HAPPENS INSIDE OF YOUR SURFBOARD WHILE YOUR SURFBOARD IS BENDING?

9: This picture is a closer look at a surfboard while its being stressed. The black lines are the fiberglass coating, and the gray area is the foam in the inside of the board. When a surfboard is being bent by the forces around it, the side on the inside of the bend (the top side of the picture) is being compressed. The outside of the bend is being stretched, or pulled, and that is called tension. The foam inside the surfboard is also affected. The foam in the upper half of the surfboard is being squeezed, and so it is under compression. The foam in the bottom of the board is being pulled apart, and so it is under tension.

10: Surfboard makers use resin to laminate, or bond, the fiberglass skins onto the foam surboard cores. The strength of the bond between the fiberglass skins and the foam core is important. The compression force on the inside of the bend from the last picture (number nine) tries to lift the fiberglass skin off of the foam core. When the force of the compression from the bending is stronger than the strength of the bond between the fiberglass skin and the foam core, the board starts to delaminate, making it much weaker and more likely to break. The skins can also begin to crack, and then your board can suck in water.

11: Hydroflex has the solution. Surf gently? No. Build better and stronger boards using science! The Hydroflex 3D-Glassing™ process produces a much stronger bond between the fiberglass skins and the foam core, in fact, INTO the foam core. This 3D-Glassing process allows the forces on the surfboard to be spread through the whole board. The result – a surfboard that is MUCH harder to break than a traditionally glassed board. Check out our current surfboard models.