Plastics News correspondent Roger Renstrom gathered these news items during the Action Sports Retailer show, held Jan. 14-16 in San Diego.
Ocean X Inc. touts nontraditional board
Ocean X Inc. of Oceanside, Calif., has created a line of nontraditional surfboards with twin-sheet thermoformed polycarbonate skins and, for rigidity, an injected polyurethane core.
High-gloss tints in red, yellow and pearlescent blue distinguish the new boards.
``Over the past two years, we have invested $500,000 in research and development of this new process,'' said Mark Jolley, Ocean X president and the surfboard's inventor.
``We have a board that is more durable than regular fiberglass and foam,'' said Chris Ruddy, vice president of sales.
A Chicago-area thermoformer uses an Ocean X patented process taking tinted or clear PC sheet from GE Advanced Materials and marrying two formed parts to create the shell. Before forming, graphics are applied on a sheet's interior side. ``We developed a digital [graphics] setup beyond traditional screen printing,'' Jolley said.
``We ship [the shell] to Oceanside and finish it in a secondary station,'' Jolley said. BASF Corp. supplies the PU, which includes modified blowing agents and polyols. Similar technology is used in building panels and insulated shipping containers, said Steve Rickner, BASF's group leader in technical services.
Filling a shell constitutes a change. ``We are doing it backwards from the 1960s and 1950s, where they made the foam, shaped the foam and spent hours and hours,'' said Ruddy.
Foil Core Inc. shows latest surf products
For surfers, Foil Core Inc. of Huntington Beach, Calif., rolled out Vector full- and rear-suspension systems, a hydrofoil line, improved fins and carbon-fiber-reinforced boards.
``We have an enormous range of composites manufacturing,'' said Chairman Michael Caldwell. ``We build composite fins in a resin transfer molding process, and we build injection molded fins using exotic plastics.''
A carbon-spring design, for example, connects fin boxes inside a new surfboard that costs $1,800 to almost $3,000. ``As the fins get more powerful, they would come out of a normal board,'' Caldwell said. A nonadvanced rider might get longer life from such a high-tech board, but an advanced rider making radical moves would break the board as frequently as a surfer breaks a regular board.
Foil Core employs 30 at plants in Huntington Beach and Oceanside, Calif., and Sydney, Australia.
* 4wayfinsystem of Cape Town, South Africa, has upgraded its multifunction surfboard fins for vertical and angular movement and toe-in and toe-out adjustments. Dean Geraghty, managing director and product developer, designed a way for a front impact to break a fin rather than damage a board's fin box. Island Style in Laguna Niguel, Calif., handles domestic distribution. ... Global Surf Industries Inc. of Campbell, Calif., is distributing 2005 Three Phase Epoxy-brand long boards with carbon fiber and Kevlar aramid fiber deck reinforcement and and epoxy and fiberglass panel bottom. Cobra International Co. Ltd. of Chonburi, Thailand, makes the boards.