May 22 2008
With all the space-age technology going into surfboards these days (including the collapsible carbon fiber board), you wouldn’t expect the next step in shaping innovation to be cardboard. Mike Sheldrake, a surfer and computer programmer is San Diego, took a novel approach to building a better surfboard: he researched aerospace design and used 3-D computer modeling software to to design a snap-together deck built out of 400 pieces of computer cut corrugated cardboard. He then covered it with fiberglass and epoxy resin. Thanks to a mathematically sound triangular pattern, force is evenly dispersed throughout the board—making it incredibly strong. The design and construction avoid the use of expensive tools, making it cheap and easy to assemble. The result is a cheap, strong design made primarily from sustainable materials and one that’s remarkably beautiful. [Youtube videos below show assembly of the board after jump]
Sheldrake has already sold one of his creations to a pro longboarder, Alex Knost. Before he sells many more, he plans to experiment with different slat materials, such as plastic or carbon fiber, to change a board’s weight and flexibility. Eventually he hopes to offer a Web site that lets surfers customize the size and shape of boards online and then assemble them at home.
[Article in Surfer Magazine]