Monday, April 14, 2008

THE CAMEL TOE, A.K.A. THE...

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Though I've only shaped a few boards here and there, I've been doing a lot thinking over the last year or so about how to design flex into boards... usually to then collaborate on the ideas with Copper Dove when he shapes me a Nine Lights board.
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One of the most exciting things I've seen on my quest for flex was the photo of Michael Mackie's Demetri Milovich/Winterstick inspired flex tail fish in Andrew Kidman's book, ETHER, that I got a copy of last January. Below is a pic of one such Mackie fish (ripped from Young Man Grand).
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Going off of Mackie inspiration, I recently had the thought: Rather than elongating the swallow tail pins for flex, why not totally cut out the stringer from the normal tail portion of the board? Thus creating two separate, independently flexing halves that can be stood on by the rear foot simultaneously. When I drew it out in front of a few friends, the term "Camel Toe" couldn't help but to be mentioned— was a good laugh.

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One can come up with plenty of reasons why this might not work. The first I thought of is, if too much water channels up through and gets "caught" in the tail cleft it might cause drag. But I'm hoping that at speed the water will be sheeting off and past the cleft's bottom edge more than it will be collecting in the cleft. Obviously, structural strength, or lack there off might prove to be an issue too. The worst that can happen is it ends up riding like crap! Or I snap it at the tail.
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Over the last week I've had a chance to borrow the Dove's shaping bay and decided to take a crack at shaping the "Camel Toe" board myself out of an EPS blank that's been sitting in my garage for a year. I decided to incorporate the C.T. into a shape influenced by the fishes and displacement hulls I've been riding, plus a magic session I had on a 4'11" Casper related board called the "White Pony" that Richard Kenvin brought down to the last Cardiff AB3. Pic of the White Pony below, cropped and enlarged from a photo by Maggie Marsek.
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Note: With much respect to R.K., though this board was not an attempt to "copy" the White Pony, I'm sure I would have shaped certain elements of it differently if I hadn't been lucky enough to experience the W.P.— If anyone reading this likes the idea of doing cutbacks on a board that makes you feel like you're riding on a fast moving cloud that turns on a dime, then I highly suggest you contact the Swift Movement. 619/696-0677.
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The blend of influences resulted in a bit of a mutant: 5'0" tall, pulled in nose with extreme belly, wide mid section and tail (though not as wide as the W.P.), bladed rails in the nose section that blend into full, tucked rails in the mid section, and the C.T. tail that will get glass on single foil twin fins.
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To keep my toes from getting injured in the cleft, I'll probably cover the length of the deck side of the cleft with a thin, cut out strip of traction pad. If the C.T. tail proves to work, then I'll figure out something more aesthetically pleasing, 'til then... little strip of trac-pad it is.
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Amongst other minor irregularities, I pulled a few chunks of foam out of the rail foil of the nose... blading out EPS takes a certain finesse I was lacking today. Oh well... Fuck It, Glass it, Ride It!
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The C.T. tail is Also Known As the... Cleft Tail, Tweezer Tail, Deer Hoof, Banana Split, Parallel-O-Tail, Pincher Bug, Plumber's Crack (via Lawless), Tulip Tail (via Twinfin), Swedish Coin Slot (via Parallel Universe), Mud Flaps (if it ends up it's too flexy and bogs), and Double Trouble (If it doesn't work at all)... I'll post feedback after I ride it.
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Note: I'm sure other people have probably made tails like this too. If anyone has any feedback on something like this tail, and you are willing to share, please do.
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11 comments:

lawless said...

Very Cool!

I like the approach of imagine it, build it, ride it - versus the alternative of pontificating it to death and having naysayers shoot it down.

Can't wait to hear how it works, and can you post some pics of glassing the "plumber's crack". Curious to see how you pull that one off. Sander's nightmare for sure.

Daniel said...

Very cool idea. Can't wait to hear/see how she rides.

R.T. said...

thanks, lawless. "plumbers crack" is a great name for the cleft! i'll try and get pics of it being glassed... gonna be challenging for sure!

thanks, daniel. i can hardly wait myself. hopefully it will be able to be glassed this week.

23 Breaths said...

RT as we have discussed on previous occasions "it all about the flex" so I applaud your endeavors on this one. The challenges with glassing (and sanding) are not slight and may hold the key to this working. Think about where this shape is going to “hinge” or load up the flex. Maybe use some of that carbon fibre that KS used on his boards a while back? Most importantly, I am interested in hearing what kinda fins you plan on using... Great stuff

twinfin said...

Looks like yesterday was well spent time. Very cool.

I can picture copper dove scratching his head as he approaches this one for the task of glassing.

I must say that I had a less refined shape in mind when you described it yesterday.

Lets get it wet!

warm jet said...

speaking of the toe.....
Ck. "Beyond the Toe" pic in the april 15th post, last pic.(as if...)

Kirk said...

RT, that thing is epic. I admit to an unhealthy obsession with the back 3rd of a surfboard- any flextail or channel setup intrigues me, so I can't wait to see this and hear how it rides. If you weren't such a skinny bastard I'd probably try to borrow it.

R.T. said...

i'm really stoked to hear all the enthusiasm from everyone's comments! thanks! i'll definitely post feedback from the first few sessions. looks like glassing is gonna start on it in the next few days, so a session could be sooner than later.

23 breaths,
the dove has got a few ideas that ought to help lap the "plumber's crack" when lamming. we'll see how it goes. i think for this first version of the C.T.tail i'm gonna refrain from using carbon fiber. just glass it "pure", then while riding it i can get a feel for the tail's unadulterated characteristics... where it loads best, and where it might be too damp. then on the second version (if this first one proves to have enough potential) i'll have a more informed idea of where and how much carbon i might want to add. funny you should be interested in the fins. i cut some out with dove today and i'll post them in the next few minutes.

twin,
i'm glad it looks more refined than my description of it. if not head scratching while lamming, then at least some pure frustration while sanding the crack of the tulip (as you called it)!

jet,
that picture is tripping me out. i think i know what it is, but then again, i'm not sure what it is!

kirk,
thanks for the vote of "epic". it's EPS foam so there might be just enough float for the camel toe to satisfy at least a little bit of your unhealthy obsession! it would be good to have a surf with you sometime anyways.

Parallel Universe said...

Kia ora RT.
Nice one. Lots of interesting ideas wrapped into one board. I've been thinking along a lot of the same lines - after riding long swallowtail snowboards, a six year love affair/obsession with fishes, and a few interesting talks with Mr Mackie.
I don't think you'll have any hydrodynamic issues with the deep plumbers crack (growing up in Denmark we called it the "Swedish Coin Slot"), but you could always glass the tail with carbon fiber and leave a flap on the bottom covering the deep notch. With epoxy it should flex enough not to crack.
Really looking forward to hearing more from you on this.
Good luck

R.T. said...

//universe,
thanks for the vote of confidence! "swedish coin slot" is a good one!

if water in the "coin slot" does become a problem, i'll take you up on your thin layer of carbon fiber idea. that same idea will also help if this version of the coin slot proves to have too much independent flex between the two halves. tying them together with a thin layer of carbon fiber across the slot might just do the trick of allowing the perfect amount of tail twist perpendicular to the length of the board. all depending on how all this experimentation goes, a thin layer across the top (impact resistance of thin layer?), or even on both sides of the slot might be good. time will tell. thanks.

by the way, is "kia ora" danish? and while it's meaning seems obvious, what is the exact english translation of it?

Parallel Universe said...

RT!
Kia ora is a Maori greeting (literally means have health, but covers hi, hello, formal greetings, thank you, etc.) In my adopted homeland New Zealand, Maori has a strong presence, both in culture and language, and being fond of languages, I have taken the time to learn a bit.
Re your lovely creation, another idea would be to fill the slot with eva foam. I'm sure you can get it in white. If it flexes just right, you might not want to mess with too much carbon fibre.
Ka kite apopo (kah keeteh ahpopoh) = see you later