Plastics News correspondent Roger Renstrom gathered these items at the Action Sports Retailer show, held Sept. 10-12 in San Diego.
Halun Surf designs high-tech surfboard
Halun Surf LLC of Huntington Beach, Calif., has created a 6-foot-long aerospace-technology surfboard with a retail price of $875.
The Colton, Calif., manufacturing facility seams together two halves containing aluminum honeycomb and carbon-fiber- and Kevlar-reinforced materials. The hollow air-core board also contains other materials and an advanced Variable Flex Suspension System, said Michael Halun, a partner. The firm was formed in early 2003 and introduced the board in January.
Technicians manually cut and lay the materials in a mold for combination with aerospace-grade epoxy resins for processing in a vacuum bag. A segment of 0.44-inch-thick honeycomb with one-eighth-inch cells runs through each half of the deck and widens at the bottom of the board.
An external, clear, high-gloss polyester coating eases repairs for any damage to a Kolstof-model board. Application of the coating is done ``in reverse from the normal way of building a board,'' Halun said. ``We do it in a mold.''
Each fin box has backside reinforcement and is installed later.
Halun has made about 50 boards for tests and initial sales and is developing other models measuring 6 feet 1 inch and 6 feet 5 inches.
Elsewhere in the surfboard business, Surf Life LLC of Manhattan Beach, Calif., projects 2004 sales of at least 4,000 units vs. entry-year sales of about 2,000 of the compression molded boards last year.
``We have actually lowered the price since introduction, because we have gotten better at manufacturing,'' said Matthew Murasko, Surf Life founder. The domestic producer uses a closed-cell foam copolymer.
Meanwhile, Linden Surfboards of Oceanside, Calif., is changing with the times.
``With all the offshore manufacturing being done, a person like myself will probably move more toward the custom side of it,'' said owner Gary Linden, who began shaping boards in 1967. The firm primarily hand-shapes with some computer cutting. He may lower volume and market higher-quality boards.
Linden sees potential for surfing ``until crowd limitations put a ceiling on it,'' and he envisions demand from users in wave pools remote from ocean beaches.
Hasbro to introduce yo-yo in San Diego
Toy and game maker Hasbro Inc. of Pawtucket, R.I., is rolling out a polycarbonate Fully-Active-Starburst-Technology yo-yo in a limited San Diego product launch.
Product creator Hans Van Dan Elzen, president of YoYo Factory in Scottsdale, Ariz., began working on the idea in mid-2002 and aligned with Hasbro in April.
The designer settled on PC for its spring memory and durability after unsuccessful trials with glycol-modified PET, PVC and rubber. ``Kids beat these things into the ground all the time,'' he said.
Each side of the yo-yo consists of a lens, a body and an internal spring mechanism. The components are snapped together without fasteners or glue. It was ``quite a challenge to get the shape right and to get the yo-yo to work,'' he said.
A clutching mechanism on each side has eight individual teeth.
``As the yo-yo is spinning, the string is constantly pushing against the little fingers, and those little fingers are pushing back,'' Van Dan Elzen said. ``As long as the yo-yo is spinning, the string wins the battle. But as soon as you pull up, or relax the string, those spring-loaded fingers win the battle. [They] clutch onto the string and wind up the yo-yo.''
Demonstrations are planned at specialty retail stores throughout San Diego through October, said Kevin Fortey, vice president of marketing with Hasbro's Big Kids group. Hasbro plans a national roll-out beginning in January. The suggested retail price of the yo-yo is $9.99. Production is in Shenzhen, China.
* Freestyle Audio LLC of Del Mar, Calif., plans by November to begin shipping a plastic-clad waterproof MP3 player for listening to tunes in any wet environment. The 128-megabyte version is listed at $199 and the 256-mb unit for $239. ... The manufacturer of BZ and Morey bodyboards of Oceanside, Calif., is heat-laminating polyethylene decks and bottom skis to a core of expanded polystyrene, in a departure from normal gluing of the difficult-to-bond materials. The process avoids water absorption and creates a stronger product.