Sunova Surfboards by Bert Burger: Shaper of the year 2007. Creator of the Parabolic Balsa Rails Construction. Contact us: [email protected]
Bert Burger's Parabolic Stringer
Since 1991 Sunova has wrapped the entire outline of each of our ‘woodies’ in a half inch of balsa wood, giving us the parabolic rail, or the parabolic stringer as some people prefer to call it. This creates a timber frame which allows our boards to bend and importantly, twist through turns and spring back with incredible liveliness. This projects the rider through maneuver after maneuver. Whether you are surfing your Sunova surfboard for your first day, or your thousandth day, this responsiveness represents the trademark feel of a Sunova.
The stiffest section of the board is removed from the centre stringer to the rails. That in itself would reduce the loss of energy in "twist-off". A stiffer rail means better drive and control.
Combine that with the use of Balsa for maximum "flex return" and the rail becomes spring-loaded.
With every turn, every pump down the line, the springy timber rail is contributing to forward drive. You'll learn to use it fully, work the twang, drive around sections from way behind, and carve through full roundhouse cutbacks where the loaded bow lets fly.
We can vary the amount of timber and the rail profile to flex differently for different wave types and surfers.
In addition to its use in the Parabolic Stringer, Balsa Wood is used on our decks and bottoms as a sandwich material. With the highest strength to weight ratio of any wood, and nearly the lightest wood on the planet, Balsa can create space between layers of fiberglass (by being sandwiched between them) without adding much weight to the board.
Our full Balsa skinned surfboards feel alive and sensitive with a very natural flex and instant flex return. Balsa has individual patterns and grain meaning no timber skinned boards will look the same.
Strength and long term durability are also at their greatest with timber.
Increased strength through engineering. By using two layers of fiberglass, and separating them with a thin layer of balsa, we are able to allow load on the outer layer of fiberglass to be distributed through the balsa so that a much larger area of internal fiberglass can contribute to bearing the stress. Thicken the sandwich material (balsa) and the increase in distance between the internal and external layers of fiberglass will spread the distribution of load, and exponentially improve the strength of the total sandwich. This is why Sunova surfboards can be BOTH lighter AND stronger.
Different types of composite components have vastly different properties.
When combined together they form an alloy giving the best properties of each which all adds to the structure. A consequence of this is that different combinations of materials give unique performance characteristics.
Through the model range you will notice that particular models will be built with a well defined combination of materials. These combinations have been constantly refined over the years.
Things like flex, rate of flex return, shock absorption, loading force, and fatigue resistance, which all contribute to feel, are carefully matched to the intended design of the model and its rider.
Different rates of flex return and loading force are necessary for different types of boards. How a small wave board flexes is very different to how a big wave board should flex.
The loading force required for a 100 kg surfer is different to that required for a 50kg surfer if both are to project out of a similar turn with similar speed.
With composite construction, the deck skin transfers load from your feet through to the rails.
The rails push down lower than the centre of the board. This forces the bottom to become concave as it pushes into the cushioned bottom.
The next step is then using the profile of the deck to morph the board into a different rail to rail cross section as the board is loaded under the weight of a turn.
So, you've got a board that is at its flattest when unweighted or pumping flat sections then the rocker increases and brings a concave into play for control when you're tight in the pocket of a powerful wall.
Our Morphlex models are designed to gain every advantage from a flexing board.
The shape of the deck influences the shape of the bottom when it bends and twangs. It brings you into closer touch with the wave and reduces the time between what you want to do and actually doing it!
All surfboards bend, and as boards have become thinner and lighter the degree to which they bend has increased. The thinner they go the weaker they get, both in terms of breakage and "spring-back".
It's about how quickly the bending material springs back to its original shape.
In conventional surfboard construction, the materials have limited spring-back characteristics and the result is that energy applied in turns is lost or "sponged-out".
So, high performance board design has evolved to compensate for this through the use of deep concaves.
A concave bottom will help maintain a desirable rail curve as a board bends and twists under pressure in a wave wall but the increased surface over which the water must run across the bottom in turns creates excess drag.
The bottom contour has evolved from the need to compensate for a centre stringer and a flexing rail line in lightweight, high performance boards.
Sunova's Composite Construction and Parabolic Rails are designed to give a board no such compromise.
The springback - or flex return - is generated at the rail. This gives a Sunova the feeling of being projected out of each turn.
Expanded Polystyrene (EPS)
Our Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) foam is made up of small Styrofoam like balls. This EPS foam is very light; even the foam in Pro weight PU boards weighs about 3 or 4 times more. This allows us to create some of the lightest surfboards on the planet. In addition, our EPS can be squashed and will bounce back to its original shape through many uses. This attribute is critical to the ‘ride cushioning’ bottoms of our surfboards. As one of our surfboards encounters chop, the bottom can morph subtly to absorb that chop rather than ping-pong balling off like some other epoxy surfboards tend to.
In the crevices between the EPS balls, there are tiny amounts of air. Throughout the whole board this adds up to quite a lot of air. When you take a board on an aeroplane, air pressures at high altitudes are considerably lower than those at sea level. If the air in the surfboard is unable to get out, it will create a lot of pressure to delaminate the surfboard. To prevent this delaminating pressure, we have created a vent using a Gore-Tex membrane that allows air to pass in and out of the surfboard freely, but does not let water in. The vent is always breathing. When the air pressure outside the surfboard decreases, the surfboard ‘breathes’ out. When it increases again, the surfboard ‘breathes back in. You do not have to adjust it, just make sure you do not clog the vent with wax.
We use epoxy resin as a ‘glue’ to laminate components such as EPS foam, fiberglass and balsa wood together. With longer chemical bonds than polyester resin that is used in traditional PU surfboards, epoxy laminated fiberglass can bend further before it starts to fracture. This means stronger surfboards. In addition, PU/PE surfboards will release more Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) than 45 to 50 Sunova surfboards.
The primary source of strength in Sunova surfboards, fiberglass has a tensile strength between 20,000 and 40,000 pounds per square inch. That is about ten-times stronger than even the epoxy resin that is used to hold it in place. This is the same material that is used in ‘traditional’ surfboards, but because our fiberglass is combined with balsa wood in a composite sandwich, it becomes capable of handling much larger loads. Same material, superior results, increased strength through engineering.
We have chosen 4 basic glass jobs...
Stupidly light! No conventional board would be found as light but there are no guarantees with this one. Powerful surfers could see damage like a heel through the deck or maybe a crease on a heavy air landing. All our personal boards are done this way but we have the luxury of unlimited replacements.
As a comparison, it will weigh less than a conventional board but still outlast its polyester equivalent by up to ten times.
Similar in layup to the Vapour Light, it has extra patches and reinforcing in common fatigue and wear areas. Light with a purpose.
With a similar weight to a lightweight conventional board. It is robust enough for the average user.
Like the traditional ‘glassed to last' but with the weight of a modern performance board.
Average weight...but bullet proof. If you just usually throw your board in the pick-up and your dog in with it, this could be a good choice for your glass job.
Sunova Surfboards are the manufacturers of high performance composite sandwich surfboards. Under the tutelage of legendary shaper Bert Burger, Sunova have been pioneering the use of balsa and veneer skinned surfboards for over 20 years.
Originating out of Mandurah, Western Australia, 2007 Shaper of the Year winner, Bert Burger has been leading the way in lightweight surfboards built with an emphasis on strength and flex to create surfboards which simply go better, and last much longer than the industry standard PU boards.
Sunova Surfboards - 20 years of advanced composite construction you can trust.
Our mission is to make:
The Right Board for The Right Girl/Guy at the Right Waves!
We are devoted to the progress and development of all ocean users and non-users throughout our business activities. Such objectives can only be realised by respecting all communities, the environment and by seeking to improve the quality of life of the society as a whole. By combining efforts and cooperation with our staff and other businesses in a united spirit we promise to perform our duties with dedication, diligence and integrity.
Bert Burger, Western Australia, 1986
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