Sunday, May 4, 2008

LIL' BIT SCHIZOID (Camel Toe Behavioral Feedback)

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This particular board with the 1st version of the Parallel-O-Tail/Camel Toe got nicknamed "The Wishbone" the moment it was first seen in glassed, finished form.
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After two long sessions on Friday and Saturday, I have this to report...


Cons:

1. There are extremes at both ends of this board. The split tail, plus an extreme amount of belly the foils into bladey, very high rails in the nose (I'll try to add a pic of nose rail foil soon). Unfortunately the rails in the nose area ended up being the most dominate feature when riding this board. It is really hard to keep the front of the board from digging rail when bottom turning and initiating a cutback.

2. To compensate for the tendency of the nose to dig rail, one must concentrate on riding the board off the tail. Your back foot ends up so far back on the tail that amount of flex the tail has to offer is not being engaged most of the time. In the end the nose belly has worked against the effectiveness of the tail flex.

3. When I have managed to do a square bottom turn straight up to hit the lip there is a moment right before hitting the lip when you can feel one half of the tail flex independently of the other half under your foot. It's a strange sensation that does catch you off guard.


Pros:

1. On the few cutbacks I was able to initiate with my back foot forward enough to more fully engage the flex of the tail, the functionality of the flex did show potential.

2. As far as overall trim speed goes, the tail slot does not seem to hinder speed, as the board gets up to speed quickly and maintains drive down the line.

3. Though the the belly/rail foil combo in the nose has posed a problem during bottom turns and cutbacks, there have been a few high line glides in the pocket that felt like there were ball-bearings between the water and board that allowed for riding the high line right in the hook for an extended period of time. But, while that's good, it's not worth the difficulty that it poses during bottom turns, etc.


Moving Forward:

Based on the Pros and Cons above, the next board with Parallel-O-Tail will have the nose belly removed. It will be shaped into a blank where the stringer ends above the tail portion of the board, and it will have a shorter slot in the tail.
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13 comments:

Dr. Robert said...

just curious as to the first blush reality of what you rode..
as to what you expected, or hoped for?

R.T. said...

dr. robert,

sorry to get back to you so late on this. in the last week i've had enough time to get some quick posts done during a work trip to new york, but not enough to gather my thoughts for a worthy answer to your question. i'm home now, so here goes:

what i hoped for was... that by the removal of the stringer via an actual slot through the tail section of the board, there would be pronounced flex in the tail (even more than a standard stringerless unified foam tail) that would load up in the beginning of turns and unload to create increased acceleration coming out of turns.

when surfing it seems most of my weight in the back foot is focussed through the ball of the foot when turning backside, and through the heel when frontside. thinking about that it seemed that a way to get a more sensitive flex load under the ball when backside and heel when frontside was to create two sides of the tail. for instance, the heel side's flex when under heel weight would not be retarded by being longitudinally attached to the opposite side of the tail that is not under the same concentration of weight. same goes for the ball side of the tail. my desire for both of these independent sides being divided by a slot narrow enough to be spanned by the arch of the foot is what led to the parallel-o-tail/c.toe design.

unfortunately, the way i foiled the rails up in the front 1/3 of the board causes it to dig rail upon turn initiation. to compensate for that, most of the time, i'm forced to stand so far back on the tail that there's not enough tail length behind my rear foot for my weight to load the tail with the amount of flex that the tail has the potential to offer.

there have been a few lucky cutbacks where i've managed not to dig rail with my rear foot in the optimal load position and i can feel the flex working.

but there have also been a few times when initiating a backside bottom turn, where the flex coming from the heel side alone has felt too damp— felt like too much flex concentrated in one area.

also, the few times that i was able to keep the nose from digging rail when squaring off at the bottom to go straight up into the lip, the tail half under the most load during the bottom turn seems to snap back so much when it unloads that the bottom of my foot would loose contact with it— as if it would pull away from my foot. on such a bottom turn the ball side of my foot was on one side of the split and the heel on the other, and by the time i was hitting the lip it would feel like one half of the bottom of my foot was in contact with the deck and the other half had lost contact.

when hitting the lip of an on coming section from more of a 45-60 degree angle, rather than straight up, i did not experience any side of the tail pulling away from my foot.

the damp backside bottom turn, plus the few times that a tail side did pull away from my foot when doing a 90 degree lip hit, goes to show there is much to be said for a unified tail structure. a unified structure that is able to flex under a focussed load point, and diffuse that load throughout the tail in a manner that results in accelerating unload spring in a manner that doesn't disrupt one's foot connection to the board.

the next parallel-o-tail will have a shorter split length to try and strike a balance between the advantages of unified structure and the characteristics i did have a chance to appreciate in the first split version. and the rails and bottom surface of the nose area of the board will be foiled as a standard planing hull, rather than displacement, so that i can concentrate unhindered on what is or isn't working with the tail flex.

Dr. Robert said...

nice answer..I'm thinking you're an M.I.T. grad' right?

ok..as concerns the 'flexible unified tail structure"..I'm reminded of a couple of previous attempts from the late 60's-mid 70's.
They both incorperated a fiberglass only,flexible, tail extension that carried the tail template some 6-maybe 9"past the end of the board.

It's the "Velo" theory modified and slapped on a stand up craft.

A builder surfer named Jeff Ho from Santa Monica (?)used to advertise these things on his swallow tail boards in the early 70's...I never actually saw one in action..but it seemed to make theoretical sense.

The ones I did see and ride about 74' or so were built by a guy named Dennis Benadum..he started doing them in the late 60's as a result..no doubt..of the fact that he was a S.B. surfer.. a good one..and a shaper for..who else?..Greenoughs Wilderness boards.
So this guy had the flex thing coming and going..and was a
true believer.
His shapes at that point were not Greenough or Liddle type hulls..but more moreso typical gunnish templates and rail configurations..usually squash and swallowtails..about 6'6".

They seemed to me to have at least some of the characteristics you are looking for.

Dennis bailed from surfing completely about 78...but he left one acolyte up here on the Central Coast..a fairly feral, hard core and very good surfer..who rides that design to this day. I see him about once every 3 yrs..always a worthwhile event.

One other thought is..Allan Gibbons..who I met through M.C. and shaped for Channel Islands for years.
He's a thoughtful and innovative shaper making his own boards..experimenting with new materials, and has some really interesting flex boards going..you probably know that already.


In any case..just some thoughts about your quest..it's a stoker to see all this going on!

R.T. said...

thanks for the m.i.t. compliment. actually... a marine biology undergrad that decided to dropout when i found my need to make things overpowering my will to study for calculus and organic chemistry exams. studied film, graphic design, and other arts after that.

i've seen some of the fiberglass-only-tail-extentions of earlier eras, though definitely not all. and i've seen some of Allan Gibbons bitchin' looking work/ideas.

but, i don't know Dennis Benadum's work in particular. i'll definitely try and look into his work based on your recommendation.

thanks for sharing your knowledge and stoke! it helps to keep the ball rollin'!

warm jet said...

This is thee best post and comment back and forth I've ever come across
in this certain sect of bloggytown!
Good one boys.
I and I know RT has as well, been to KP's house of Liddles from all eras.
Alot of the fiberglass only flex tails.
Yes, Gibbons stuff is a hard on for the flexoholic!
pardon me.

R.T. said...

daaannngggg! thanks jet!!!

it's great that dr. robert asked just the right question to get me to sit down and spend the time to more fully analyze and put into words the board/tail's actual performance vs. original expectations. as seen in the may 12th "flex dementia" post, it made me feel it was worth devoting a full post to the analysis text that he motivated me to write.

i'd also like to try and source enough images/pics to make an illustrated post of dr. robert's reply to my analysis. hopefully i'll find the time to put that together soon. thanks for sharing and motivating, dr. robert!

and, jet, no pardon needed— gibbons' work is a definite turn on!

also, speaking of liddle flex tails, there's a vid clip of m. peach riding one on the liddle website. for those that haven't already seen it: http://www.liddlesurfboards.com/clips.html

Anonymous said...

I know Dennis. I grew up outside of Durango Colorado where he ended up after S.B... and he is a good freind of mine although I am now almost 31 and he is like my Dad's age. He still lives in Durango but I now am in Tahoe. What a character! I think that someone needs to make a movie about him or at least a Surfer's Journal article. He just recommended a good song for me to learn on my guitar as I explore the Big Sur backcountry. Its called South Coast and he sang it to me the other day on the phone - its by the Kingston Trio. We were talking mythologially and all Anyway Dennis is alive.. just to let you know...I would like to just record his new poetry...anyway he is carving cool patterns in wood and also we all miss his bro Mike who was a vet and hillarious! Dennis is so funny he said that he just took a trip up the coast while I was actually there but up higher camping out with his son Blue hauling ass driving a truck from Malibu up to S.F. and they stopped and saw some old friends...Anyway sort of random but thought I would chime in...
Trevor

R.T. said...

THANKS, trevor!

I've made a couple attempts to drum something up on dennis on the internet, but have failed each time. Any chance you could get him to send some photo files from his archives to you, to share with those of us interested?

Dr. Robert said...

yo anonymous..

just saw this today..
if you see Dennis again , please say hi and aloha from Robert in Cambria..I'm still here..and sorry to hear about Mike...character..? you got that right!

Anonymous said...

Hey guys! back now in Durango after a stint in Tahoe...anyway Dennis would be stoked to hear from you guys I think- he is doing some wood carving for my brothers wedding... yeah man I bet he would be interested in getting some of these photos to share with interested folks. Hell I even have one of Mike on the Santa Cruz island way back when...my email is trevorehlers@gmail.com so I can facilitate the exchange. Lets be in touch guys...Trevor

Anonymous said...

Hey Robert- will definitely tell Dennis you said whats up. I can get you his phone number too since you are from Cambria- it would be awesome for him to hear from you I'm sure. Alright man contact me at the above email address.
Cheers kids,
Trevor

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Anonymous said...

Hey guys - I am sorry to report that Dennis passed away this year. His son Blue lives in Malibu and started a facebook page with all of his photos etc. Here is the link: https://www.facebook.com/DennisBenadum I am not currently a member of facebook but thought I would let you guys know that Blue has posted some amazing photos there that I think you would appreciate. Much love, Trevor