New Board Designs
Hydroflex Lets You Adjust Your Flex Pressure
The new surfboard construction by Hydroflex known as the Supercharger offers unique features that affect the durability, sustainability and performance of the surfboard. Off all of the new features, the ones that seems to be turning the most heads is the ability to pump air into the surfboard to change the internal pressure.
The technology was invented by a team led by German shaper Rouven "Bufo" Brauers. Recently relocated from his homeland, Bufo has been shaping since he first tried surfing on a vacation as a child. His shop is filled with experimental surfboard technology. Bufo is stoked on his new creations and always willing to talk about the future and how new ideas can progress the sport. While surfing with him, he explained the construction process of the Supercharger as we took turns catching waves on a few different models.
Bufo explained that the construction process takes a stringerless EPS blank and injects tens of thousands of hair folicle sized strands of resin into the core. These strands are anchored into the EPS blank like tree roots to create a firm hold. This creates a 3D glass job which Bufo notes is the source of many of the unique features of the board. The blank is then given a final vacuum sealed glass coat with a valve inserted in the deck. Each board is hand tested for air tightness before being given the final polish.
The specifics of the process are under wraps but if you take a close look at the board, you can see the 3D glass job. The anchored strands are visible as tiny dots underneath the top glass coat. The bond created through this process is extremely durable and allows the board to be pressurized without running the risk of delamination. This is where the pump comes into play.
As seen here, you literally pump up the board. A very unique feature. For durability this provides the board with a two clear benefits.
The first is resistance against pressure dings. Because you can maintain a pressured environment it is much harder for a ding to occur, if one does, in many cases it can be removed by pumping the board to the max and letting it sit overnight.
The second benefit is the ability to spot cracks and keep water out. By simply pumping air into the board and holding it under water in a pool or tub, you can see where cracks are and get them fixed. Even if you spot a ding mid session, the air bubbling out will help avoid water entering the core.
When it comes to performance Bufo describes the variance in flex patters based on the pressure of the board. A surfer can adjust the pressure from 1-9psi. He advises higher pressure for things glassy days and lower pressure for choppy days. (He also clued us in that the team riders from Lost like to keep the pressure low for landing airs)
When demo-ing the board, we started around 9psi and decreased as the session went on. By the time we got out of the water the board was around 2psi. The difference is noticeable. At 9psi the board feel much stiffer, its harder to dig into a turn and the board slaps on the water a bit. Once it was below the 5psi range it really came to life.
A surfer with a very fine tuned touch might be able to recognize small changes in pressure, but for our team, mostly average surfers, the differences were noticeable on a larger scale. We felt a pressure of around 2-5psi was ideal because in that range the board just seemed to come to life. Turns linked up better, the board engaged fully and it was easier to generate speed. On another test session we took the board all the way down to nearly 0psi and there is definitely a point where it goes flat. Much like the feeling an old board has when it looses its spring. So from our testing, its best to keep at least 1psi in the board.
Any surfboard shape can be made with Hydroflex Supercharger technology. All that is required is that a sringerless EPS blank be shaped. When comparing two identical shapes, the Supercharger weighed about 75% that of an PU/Polyester board. Despite that, it remained extremely durable. Bufo showed us some of the original prototypes which years later are still in great shape.
Finally, all of the materials used in the Hydroflex Supercharger technology are recyclable. Whenever the board's time comes to an end, the core can be reprocessed to make a new blank.
The Hydroflex Supercharger technology offers surfer unique benefits in durability, performance and sustainability. The 3D glassing job creates a bond that prevents delamination and the gauge on the board allows a surfer to pump air into the board to control the internal pressure. This unique aspect results in decreased chances of pressure dings, unnoticed cracks and water damage. The Hydroflex Supercharger technology is light weight and can be applied to any surfboard shape of your choice. This new technology is a positive step for the surfing community and worth your time to take a look at. Find out more on the Hydroflex Surfboards Website