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A guide to common windsurf board design terminology.

These explanations and descriptions should help you better understand these terms, get a good idea of what’s going on beneath your feet, and most importantly talk “tech” on the beach with the best of them.

Centreline : The centre of the board from nose to tail.

Width : width is measured across the board at the maximum wide point of the board.

Nose width : refers to the width of the board 100mm back from the nose.

Tail width : the width measurement taken 100mm forward of the tail.

Outline curve : The outer shape of the board when viewed from above. Defines the boards general performance characteristics both in turning ability and in straight line sailing.

Entry point: The general area of water flow where water first contacts the bottom or rail of the board.

Exit point : The general area of water flow where water leaves the bottom or rail of the board. (Also see ‘Release’)

Release : The effect that allows water flow to be accelerated as it passes along the board’s surfaces. Usually in the tail half of the board, through tail rocker, outline curves and trailing fin edges, and through bottom features. Controlled release (along with its opposite, drag) is essential to successful board design.

Bottom Shape : The underside of the board and generally the largest area in contact with the water. The shape of the bottom defines how the board feels underfoot at speed, straight line and turning. When viewed as cross section the main bottom shapes are:

– Vee The centreline of the board is lower than the rails creating a ‘V’ shape. This in turn creates 2 distinct panels either side of the centreline which should be perfectly flat allowing for great control at high speed. Spiral Vee is a specific type of vee, which in general terms increases at a steady rate until it reaches the tail.
– Single Concave Concave shape provides both lift (a skatey freeing up feeling) and drive from pressure on the water along the exit rail. Increases the rail line rocker for dynamic turning and acceleration out of turns.
– Double Concave Often used as a transition between SC to VEE or vice versa. The double concave can be suitable for a wide range of boards.

Deck shape : The shape of the deck of the board is used to control overall board volume and volume distribution (nose to tail), important for how the board feels balanced when not planing and how it handles getting onto the plane. Also important for the general ergonomics of the board beneath your feet and the deck flow into the rail shape.

tuck of a board rail

Rail Tuck : Refers to the bottom section of the rail where it meets the bottom of the board. Most visible difference of ‘tuck’ would be between waveboards and Slalom, with waveboards having a lot of ‘tuck’ softening the rail edge and Slalom with very little tuck creating a hard edge transfer between the rail and bottom shape.

Rail Shape: The rails of a board clearly affect its turning ability but also its straight line speed. For example Slalom rails are shaped to release water easily (may be referred to as “hard” rails), while waveboard rails have more curve (may be referred to as “soft” rails) to stick to the water more. See also ‘tuck’ & ‘apex’ below.

rail apex board design explained

Rail Apex : The point at which the outside of the rail curves back towards the boards deck. Slalom boards for example generally have a high apex rail whereas waveboards have a more middle to lower apex rail shape.

Tail Shapes : A critical area at top speed and during any manoeuvres.

– Rounded tails Give good control at speed whilst allowing for a smooth release flow during high speed gybe manoeuvres.

– Pin tails featured on waveboards lets the water flow along the entire rail outline during carving turns. Gives you smooth flowing carves and transitions.

– Squash/rounded squash tails as seen on the Thruster wave tail shape, means you transition directly from one rail to another without a standard pin tail being involved. Fast directional changes is the aim here.

board tail design shapes

rocker design of a windsurf board

planing straight of a slalom race board

Rocker : The rocker profile (curve) of the board from nose to tail when viewed from the side. Controls the general flow of water from its entry point to its release.

– Nose Rocker Measured from the level ground straight up to the tip of the boards nose.

– Tail Rocker Measured from the level ground straight up to the tip of the boards Tail.

– 1.2 / 1.8 Rocker Measured from level ground straight up to points 1.2/1.8mtrs from the boards Tail. Standard points of measurement so you can judge the ‘intensity’ or ‘acceleration’ of the rocker line/curve.

Planing straight : A measurement of flat (zero) rocker from the tail forwards. Often used on Slalom, Freeride and Race oriented boards.

using cad to design a windsurf board

CAD Designed : An important tool in the Carbon Art arsenal of designing and creating the best windsurf boards, is the utilisation of Computer Aided Design. The technique that we use ensures pin point precision in the design of board models and sizes – to be able to view the boards in 3D enables us to ‘see’ what might be. To alter and tweak any part of the board and virtually realise the effects this produces upon other interdependent parts, such as the development of fully integrated rocker, rail and outline shapes.

Every change during the design process is recorded giving us complete documentation of each and every board.

CNC Shaped : A computer controlled tooling device, termed the ‘Computer Numeric Controlled (CNC) machine’ is used to create the initial board ‘core shape’ prior to the sandwich and laminating stages. In combination with CAD, the process allows for unheard of precision shaping and absolute consistency.

For you, this means that every time we build your board, the core shape is exactly the same as the original design.

cnc board shaping

Construction + Materials

as used to create a windsurf board
sandwich construction diagram

Sandwich : The high density layer used to separate the internal and external composite laminates. The ‘sandwich’ layer fully wraps the board and creates an extremely strong construction method for the least amount of weight. Deck and bottom sandwich thickness may vary depending on the particular board.

See ‘crafting a board‘ page to watch a sandwich applied to a board.

Laminate : The layer of fibre that lies beneath and above the sandwich layer. This may be Carbon, Fibreglass (S-glass) Innegra or Kevlar or a combination depending on the board. Each laminate (both inner and outer) is impregnated with Epoxy resin and specifically tailored to the particular board model. Laminates are further reinforced in any high load areas, such as heels, mast track etc.

Carbon / Innegra / Kevlar / Fibreglass : The fibre composite materials used in our laminates. There is a multitude of types and levels of quality. We only use the best, and match the particular materials to the specific board model and in the specific areas they are best suited.

Nomex honeycomb : An open cell honeycomb material used in the sandwich laminate. Specific to CA Formula boards, it delivers a superior high Strength to weight ratio, perfect for the large surface areas.

Different materials have very different properties that are best suited to specific areas of board construction.

Epoxy resin : The resin used throughout the Carbon Art build process. All resins are not created equally or the same. After many years testing and proving performance characteristics we use a tailored blend of differing epoxy resins that are matched to specific area usage.

Teflon: All Pro Model boards are finished with a special Teflon™ polished bottom, for a super fast base surface paint. The unique properties help repel dirt and keep your board both looking and performing at maximum.

Did we miss something?

Have a question about windsurf board terminology? Ask James on the
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