Wave Single 95lt
My first outing into composite sandwich construction where I set myself a fair few challenges. After much research into the latest composite fabrics available I concluded that carbon/dyneema hybrid reinforcement offered the best combination of strength and durability. Carbon/Dyneema is costly and an absolute sod to work with but it is super tough stuff and in my opinion worth the additional challenge.
I also love working with wood and the natural beauty of it so to add to the challenge let’s see if I can incorporate a paulownia wood sandwich deck. Paulonia wood is light, very strong, water resistant and highly sustainable except for the fact that it has to be imported from overseas.
Design wise I wanted a board that would float my 90kg yet ride waves very smoothly and predictably; the focus is directed more towards “slog and ride” than the typical early planing freewave boards so common in this size bracket. No twins or quads yet, I didn’t care for the twins I’d tried so far and being a bit old school anyway I just love the look and feel of single fin flow. I’ll be building quads again for sure, I had a lot of fun building them back in the 80s after all.
The 59.5 cm wide point is pulled forward giving a fairly straight rail that is very grippy into the relatively narrow 35cm tail. The width forward also makes for easier tacking, slogging out and getting into a wave. The diamond tail is there more because its a bit unusual and I liked the retro look, than for any particular performance target. The volume is distributed evenly under a domed deck with soft low rails designed to bite but not trip. Bottom shape is the tried and true rolled vee in the nose through to double concave vee through the midsections and into straight vee in the tail. This shape not only gives a very smooth free planing ride but also creates a different rocker line along the rails so that as the board is banked it turns tighter along the rail. The design rocker line is an amalgamation of things learnt from my favourite boards of recent years. Unfortunately my learning curve with vacuum sandwich construction meant the end result was not the rocker curve I’d designed…doh! But hey, it was my first vacuum sandwich board….
Welcome to the world of vacuum bagging!
There’s mountains of information about vacuum bagging online and all manner of companies selling all manner of products and consumables that you may or may not truly need. On the face of it it looks to be an extremely wasteful process with metres of assorted tapes, plastics and disposable fabrics apparently intended to be used just once. I can’t accept that from a cost or an environmental perspective so I studied some more, spoke with boat builder friends (I’ve been in the yacht construction industry for 20+ years) etc. until I figured I’d found a reasonable compromise. Anyway, after much angst, gnashing of teeth, cursing of pin holes and more dramas than you’d ever imagine I got the board all sandwiched and laminated up and really looking pretty good BUT weighing in at a whopping 9.25kg finned and strapped. Let me tell you, you really feel 9.25 kg when compared against a similar sized board at 7.5kg. The added mass and momentum can be quite enjoyable on a wave at times but come airtime its not welcome at all. Combine this weight with the unintended extra tail rocker and performance is just a little too sluggish. So this little baby has become a wall hanger…..I sure learnt a lot from building it though.