New Board Designs
AeroFlex Creating the Next Surfboard Evolution
AeroFlex surfboards look very unique, but the goals they hope to acheive are very similar to other surfboard manufacturers. Companies such as Firewire are designing new surfboards with parabolic stringers and interior carbon rods for controlled flex and flex memory. A company called Aviso created hollow carbon fiber surfboard as an alternative to epoxy surfboards with the benefit of being more flexible and lighter. A company called Surf Syndicate recently created a flex tail that actually has springs built into the tail of the board for the purpose of eliminating drag and tail stall. The AeroFlex however, went in a completley different direction.
Hydro Epic, the company that patented a new technology is also competing for a piece of the pie in the next generation surfboard market. It's an internal frame system called AeroFlex which was designed for the purpose of better control over the surfboard's flex properties. The idea of controlled flex is nothing new as this is touted by companies such as Firewire and Aviso in their new surfboard designs.
Why is Flex A Big Issue?
First, let's take a step back and understand why there's such a craze about the topic of surfboard flex. The idea is memory flex, or how quickly a shape can bend and bounce back to its original form. The benefit of proper flex is that it stores energy during a turn and propels the surfer out of the turn when that energy is released. In traditional foam and center stringer surfboards, the perimeters flex and twist which causes the board to slow and fatigue. This is called torsion flex. Of course, without the element of strength, flex is useless so there has to be a balance between flex and strength.
When Surftech came out with their Tuflite Surfboards, made from EPS foam and an epoxy fiberglass shell, people loved the added buoyancy and strength, but there was almost no flexibility which adversely affected their performance capabilities. The next wave of evolution lead (not started) by Firewire called for the use of parabolic stringers. The idea was to strengthen the perimeter where the surfer can apply a more controlled weight to the board’s rail, thus gaining more controlled buoyancy. The balance of stiffness and flexibility on the perimeter of the board allows you to lean into the stringer in turns. This bends the stringer and shoots you into the direction you’re turning as it flexes back. This enhances drive, offers better wave face penetration, and improves acceleration and torque through each turn.
How Does The AeroFlex Surfboard Work?
The HydroEpic claims the Aeroflex Surfboard will interact with the wave face by generating more rocker exactly when it is needed. The patented AeroFlex internal frame system is suppose to have better flexural properties because the degree of flex and the areas on the board that flex will be adjusted to the waves, thus making it more precise. It’s also designed to eliminate torsion flex which can slow your board down. This is supposed to dramatically improve your performance in critical maneuvers. Similar to the Aviso carbon fiber surfboards, the Hydro Epic board is hollow. The board is created with a super strong aerospace composite that is ultra-light. It includes materials such as kevlar by DuPont (polyphenylene terephthalamide), carbon fiber, epoxy resin, aluminum honeycomb.
The combination of DuPont Kevlar bonded with epoxy and a thin aluminum honeycomb laminated with carbon fiber creates an ultra strong shell. The hollow air core keeps the board light and buoyant. Hydro Epic also is introducing what they call a DynamicHull. This has something to do with their interactive bottom contour that adjusts to prevent water lamina from breaking into turbulent flow for less drag and more control. However, Hydro Epic is unclear on exactly how that works. Overall the AeroFlex technology touts added buoyancy, durability, and interactive flex for speed and performance.
Where Can You Get An AeroFlex Board?
You can purchase AeroFlex surfboards at few select retailers. If you do find one, you might be hit with sticker shock as these boards are retailing at $999. I'm not surprised as this seems to be the most complex surfboard design yet made with advanced composites such as DuPont Kevlar, aluminum honeycomb and carbon fiber. However, it is yet to be seen if the price tag is still worth it and whether the performance of this board is superior to Firewire's and Aviso's quiver. Not to mention the company is making some very big claims to the board’s technological advances in flex technology.
SurfScience is doing more investigation and research on this surfboard and requesting for a sample AeroFlex board from Hydro Epic. We will conduct a more thorough review at that time.