State of the Art


May 15, 2006
Outside Magazine

For nearly half a century, boards were made in basically the same way: with polyurethane-foam blanks covered in polyester resin. Due in part to the closure of a major foam factory and the subsequent scarcity of traditional foam, the tide is turning. Surfboards made from expanded-polystyrene (EPS) foam and glassed with epoxy resin are becoming more widely available, and accepted by surfers, because they're stronger and lighter—and better for the environment, since the resin contains significantly fewer volatile organic compounds.

Space Age hollow carbon-fiber boards and epoxy-and-carbon boards offer lightweight high performance. The best of these are virtually bulletproof—expensive, but sexy and long-lasting.

In the wake of the twin-fin-fish trend, four-fin boards, like Hobie's M-80, are appearing in surprising places. Even big-wave surfers at spots like Maverick's are hot on quads, making these sticks the emerging choice for huge waves, too.

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