Saturday, February 2, 2008

NINE LIGHTS "OPEN FACE SANDWICH" PROTOTYPE W/ FLEX TAIL

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Two sessions on this 5'4" and so far I'd say this is the most exciting feeling board I've ever rode.
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A prototype board by Jeff Beck of Nine Lights Surfboards. It utilizes a composite sandwich method of construction of balsa wood over foam, however only the deck and the rails of the stringerless e.p.s. foam has the outer composite of balsa wood. The bottom inner edge of the wood rails stop at the chine edge and from there the entire bottom underneath the tinted cut lap and opaque sea-foam-green pigmented glass job is only foam, no balsa wood— Thus the "Open Face Sandwich" variation of a composite sandwich board. Also the length of the wood rails end at the leading edge of the front fins area. By removing the wood rails i-bar like rigidity from the tail area, combined with the Open Face bottom, adds flex to the tail. The balsa wood layer of the deck covers the entire width from rail to rail and length of the board from the nose to the pins of swallow tail. That layer of deck wood running over the tail area seems to create a really responsive, reactive spring in the flex tail.
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On top of all that, the board was glassed with the flexible Resin-X (urethane-based). Jeff experienced some technical and aesthetic difficulties to glassing with the Resin-X (for example, as seen in the irregular color and edges of the cut laps) that present a learning curve to working with it, but one thing's for sure... it is flexy.
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The Open Face Sandwich & flex tail construction combined with the Resin-X and you can really feel the tail load up with flex under your back foot during the first half of a turn and "snap" back to it's original tail rocker during the second half that creates an acceleration out of turns I've never felt before. The word that best describes the feeling to me is INSANE!!! I've really never felt anything like it out of a board before.
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The "Open Faced" foam bottom.
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A section of the tinted balsa wood deck and rail.
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Twin with small trailer fin set up.
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Sometime soon Jeff will be shaping another Open Face Sandwich flex tail board, but will glass it entirely with epoxy resin in order to learn just how much of the functional flex is coming from the Open Face flex tail construction versus the
Resin-X.

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13 comments:

Danimal said...

that's wild.

twinfin said...

love the shade of green. Hope o see this one out on the next bro-quest..

warm jet said...

Jeff = rad dude!!!

R.T. said...

i'll bring it, twin.

ya got that right, jet. copper dove is a damn good man... with skills to match.

sp said...

That board is sick, I bet having the balsa on the surface will help with pressure dings and delamination too.

R.T. said...

yep, when combined with epoxy glassing, i haven't seen the deck of a Nine Lights board pressure ding at all— even in the high use sweetspot areas under the balls of feet and heals. time will tell with the Resin-X.

thanks for the http://www.sandwichpanels.org/ link in the "sp".

kaser_one said...

yoda approves

R.T. said...

right on yoda.

R.T. said...

while not the same construction process as the Nine Lights flex tail on the board of this post, there's a cool video interview w/ Steve Pendarvis about his flex tail boards at 70percent for those who are interested and haven't seen it yet :

http://www.70percent.org/blog/steve-pendarvis-pendoflex-surfboards/

Erik Hakon Olson said...

Love the shape and design concept of this board. Killer!

R.T. said...

e.h.o., rad to hear coming from an admired shaper such as yourself!

brownfish said...

Wow, sorry for missing the final result. Kids, sisters, neices, all in town with plenty of trips to D-land and W Animal Park. Board looks great. Glad to hear it's riding as well as I thought it would. I've always wondered why the compsand contigency has always been so adamant about the bottom sandwich. Never made sense to me. Let us know how this plays out. G

R.T. said...

right on, brownfish— nothin' more important than fam! yep, eliminating the bottom skin has yielded some exciting flex results without sacrificing deck strength against pressure dents, etc. I really want to see how the same open face construction feels w/ an epoxy glass job. hopefully that can happen soon. will keep you posted.