Sunday, November 26, 2006

Big Blue gets glassed!

Here I am finally with some feedbacks on the blue board, which I called Big Blue.
When I used to be an engineer working in the IT industry, Big Blue was the nickname of the IBM corporation. It still is, I guess. Not for me anymore... now it's a board! Much cooler.

I'm just going to list a few facts:

1) the floatation is amazing. I can confortably uphaul (maybe with the water covering the top of my feet) and that's remarkable for a 9.6 surfboard.

2) it turns a lot. I can cutback on the wave from downwind to upwind and to downwind again in very little time and space.

3) it's really strong. I had a few nasty wipeouts and thanks to the two wooden stringers the only damages were bumps in the foam. Now, if the bumps are on the top, who cares. But it was starting to get too many bumps on the rails and on the bottom. Hopefully the fiberglass will solve this problem.

4) it's a bit too light. That one day I went out at Hookipa with big waves it was bouncing too much on the chops on the face of the wave. Hopefully the increased weight of the glassed bottom will fix this too.

5) it's painfully slow. On the wave it's fine. It's when you're just sailing that it gives you the feeling that it's dragging water instead of gliding on it (like the 12.6 does). You can even hear it!
That is the main reason for which I decided to glass the bottom. I also shaped it so that the rails are quite harder in the tail section. I hope that the new water lines will help better release the water when sailing and allow the glide (the added weight should help too).
Let's not forget that this is a board designed to be a beginner/intermediate surfboard. And for that purpose it does an excellent job.
I hope that the harder rails will also add a little more grip in the turns without penalizing too much the smoothness.
I also increased the rocker in the tail.

6) one day I sailed it in conditions in which most of the people were planing on their big boards and big sails (15 knots maybe?). Well, maybe it was because it was the fifth consecutive day of test and I was feeling the need of a little variety... but, even though I love the feeling of not having the feet stuck in the footstraps, I wished I had a windsurf board instead. Again, just because it would have been a different feel. Even though Big Blue turns a lot, the turns will never be as radical as the ones you can achieve when you have footstraps and you can go for the lip and hopefully catch a little air.
In other words, in addition to Big Blue it will still be nice to have the option to choose a good 85 liter wave board for that kind of wind. I will keep looking for an affordable one of those.
Under 15 knots... it's not even a question: longboards rule!

So.
Today I glassed the bottom. First time ever. It was a lot of fun and here's three little videos that show the whole process.
I know I should wait more for the resin to harden, but I already know that if tomorrow there will be the right conditions I won't resist the temptation to try it. I just can't wait! This is one of the most exciting things I have ever done. Especially reshaping the tail was exhilarating. I felt like Michelangelo giving life to one of his masterpieces. So extremely creative.

In the meantime, enjoy the videos and... thanks to the camerawoman! I was so focused on the job that I missed the more on/moron joke...


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12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Niced glass job GP! I will be your Australian distributor when you start mass producing!

Lano,

Robin said...

Well thanks for letting us in on the big blue secret! Good name for the board (also a nice movie). Somehow you glassing the board and Sharon filming (and commentating)just cranked me up, funny! Hopefully you can take the big blue out, pretty soon, enjoy!

meesh said...

technical question (for your engineering pleasure): did or do you think the foam was eaten away by the heat of the glass drying in the sun? The temperature gets so hot, I thought it may melt the foam away?

Ely from NYC said...

Nothing like a moron on "bended knee"--loved the commentary, Sharon! And a great glass job Giampaolo, can't wait to hear how it rides!

All the best,

Ely

cammar said...

Thanks everybody for the appreciation.

Today I tried the board at Hookipa, but it was a bit too windy and I switched to my small wave board (5.5 sail) and had a lot of fun.
Big Blue didn't seem any faster at all, but I want to wait for the right conditions to express an opinion. Fore sure it's stronger, so it was worth it anyway. Without even mentioning the fun I had doing it.

I still have the slipper stuck to my foot. It's kind of convenient on the groud, but getting in the footstrap is quite difficult... :-)

Anonymous said...

cool. how about some info. on the other sailing longboards a few posts ago. are these retrofits also or customs with mast tracks original? -mike

cammar said...

Most of them are custom made with the mast track in the original project. I just got a 12 footer for a dirty cheap price, though, and sure enough I'll put a mast track in it and sure enough it will make a few posts...
Ulli's router is going to be busy again. Hey Ulli, I bought a new bit that is perfect for mast and fin boxes!

Meesh, I forgot to answser to your question. The foam was not eaten by the heat. Jeffrey did a similar thing to a blue board that he had shaped like a windsurf board... so it was proven already that the foam would survive. Plus you don't have to leave the board in the sun for the resin to dry. Good point though, because the resin itself does generate heat when it reacts.
Hey, sailing was fun today. I enjoyed my footstraps! I love that I can have fun in all kind of conditions...

meesh said...

Interesting stuff - how is the dirty board for the dirty price? I like that. Here is a thought for your next glass job you should glass some slippahs onto the board as light foot straps!! that would be hysterical (they would have to be dirty cheap slippahs though!)

cammar said...

Ask Sharon, she's been using it more than me, cruising around in Kanaha standing up with the paddle.
I only surfed it one hour, too little to tell. Thinner, lighter and more manouvrable than my 12.6, for sure. I don't think I like the single fin, though. I'm too used to the 2+1 which is key for keeping the grip of tail in the white water when longboard sailing. Maybe I'll add a couple of side fins too...

Your idea to glass slippahs on the deck of a board is brilliant... I may well do that!

Ely from NYC said...

Hey Giampaolo,

Why won't the glass matt or roving or whatever it is separate from the foam top at the edges? And wouldn't it buckle a bit since the glass isn't as flexible as the foam. I don't see how the two very disimilar materials can stay together for very long.

Ely

cammar said...

Ely,
they probably won't!
But I needed to know the difference... which I will talk about in tonight's post.
Ciao!

Sharon said...

Hey ya bastards keep your crazy hands & ideas off my board. I have weekend plans with that baby! Wait a minute-glass slippers on my board...why not so long as they have nice 3"heal!