Fiberglass versus Epoxy performance

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duck-1's picture
Joined: 07/18/2015

I have two Ricky Carroll longboards in epoxy (a PLB model with quad fins and a chined rail and the JQ noserider) and am considering getting one of the JQ noseriders in fiberglass. I have never had a fiberglass board before and was wondering if anyone could tell me how much of a difference the performance between the two would be? 

My epoxy JQ noserider is 9'8" with a 19 1/2" nose

Thank you in advance for any information

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Huck's picture
Joined: 12/07/2009

You are probably asking the wrong question, are you saying or implying your epoxy surfboards are not made using fiberglass?  Because that would be extremely improbable.

A more likely scenario would involve comparing a surfboard made with EPS foam and epoxy resin / fiberglass, vs. a board made with polyurethane foam and polyester resin / fiberglass.

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duck-1's picture
Joined: 07/18/2015

Huck 

Thank you for the correction. 

How would the EPS foam / epoxy resin compare in performance to the polyurethane foam / polyester resin board. I am really not sure what type of foam Ricky Carroll uses for his blanks: the boards that I have are extremely lightweight (when you consider that they are 3 1/4" thick) and have epoxy resin.

I have heard that heavier boards are easier to noseride and wanted to check and see if there were any other pros / cons before get one

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Huck's picture
Joined: 12/07/2009

I don't ride EPS / epoxy boards generally, but I create and ride boards made with polyurethane foam and glassed with epoxy resin.  They are heavier than the EPS boards as a general rule, and I like them just fine.  PU/PE boards have been the industry standard for ages, I like them fine too, but I think they tend to be a bit more brittle than boards glassed with epoxy resin.  And some people say they are prettier, too  :-)

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stingray's picture
Joined: 12/24/2004

It really depends on how much money you spent at Costco last week....and honestly....how big is your belly?

My fiberglass boards go just fine. I'm told that you can buy a Costco board and a grill for less that 200.......and return them at the end of summer for a full refund.....at 3 1/4 thick it's a win/win deal....epoxy is awesome....Costco too!

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Zourite's picture
Joined: 09/07/2014

Hi,

What about borrowing one to a friend ? (a polyester board).

The usual statement is "epoxy stiffer / polyester more flex"... but it depends...

The easiest way would be to find some poly board to test it... they'r the standard so it shouldn't be that hard.

GL & HF,

Z.

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SammyA's picture
Joined: 01/14/2006

duck-1 wrote:

I have two Ricky Carroll longboards in epoxy 
I have never had a fiberglass board before


You already have two boards that were made with fiberglass. There is no such thing as a "fiberglass board". Most surfboards are made of some type of foam, then laminated with fiberglass using either polyester or epoxy resin.

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johnmellor's picture
Joined: 03/17/2004

"There is no such thing as a "fiberglass board"."

HAHA... 'fraid it's true:

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sirwanksalot's picture
Joined: 01/02/2005

As for longboards which the OP is riding I prefer PU/PE construction to a surftech sandwich style make. The surftech style is too light and too stiff for my liking for any kind of bump and wind. I've seen quite a few eps/hand lain epoxy boards that have snapped in half. I reckon most of those are glassed with far too little cloth and not enough density to the blank as most HP longboards for "rippers" are usually done regardless. 

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lcc's picture
lcc
Joined: 04/24/2008

have ridden HPLB's in both.

epoxy - lotta pop, easy to throw around, twitchy nose riders.

PU - predictable feel, better glide and more stability on the nose

I have a 5 fin HPLB in my quiver that is fun as a 2+1, absolutely flies in walled up surf as a quad.  If it broke, I would have it cloned using the superior vibration control of a PU blank, glassed with epoxy for superior strength.

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stoneburner's picture
Joined: 12/30/2007

duck-1 wrote:

the boards that I have are extremely lightweight (when you consider that they are 3 1/4" thick) and have epoxy resin.

Glassing schedule, same amount of epoxy "resin" + same amount of cloth ("fiberglass"), over same density and volume of foam (PU or EPS) = boards that "weigh" the same.

One cubic foot of 2.0 pcf EPS foam weighs the same as one cubic foot of 2.0 pcf PU foam.  pcf = pounds per cubic foot.

_____

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Huck's picture
Joined: 12/07/2009

I'm not gonna argue with your calculations, but the simple fact is that I have purchased standard off the shelf US Blanks poly blanks in different densities, and I recently purchased a US Blanks 2# EPS blank, and the EPS was much lighter.  I think the lightest poly blanks (US Blanks differentiates density by "color" code, orange is lightest) are close to EPS in weight, but that density is available only in shortboard blanks, whereas the 2# EPS blank I bought was the 9-4 B, IIRC

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stoneburner's picture
Joined: 12/30/2007

Huck wrote:

I'm not gonna argue with your calculations, but the simple fact is that I have purchased standard off the shelf US Blanks poly blanks in different densities, and I recently purchased a US Blanks 2# EPS blank, and the EPS was much lighter. 

If anybody can show me how 2.0 lb of EPS weighs less than 2.0 lb of PU, please do.  I am not interested in "arguments" or hearsay, just unbiased proof.

If George Gall, Greg Tate or bb30 can substantiate that (weighed true density) 2.0 pcf EPS is lighter than 2.0 pcf PU, I am all ears.

Weigh "equal" volumes (same dimensions) of "foam (only)" from blanks that are "reported" to be the same density -- with an accurate (same) scale.  If the manufacturer is loose with their reported density, it will show in the measured unit volume weight.

Polyurethane blanks are more dense at the surface and less dense in the center.  EPS density is considered uniform and is reported with a 10% variance, according to Airframe (Ken).  That is, EPS foam sold as 2.0 pcf could weigh from 1.8 - 2.2 pcf.  I purchased some EPS that was sold as 3.0 pcf.  I weighed a rectangular sheet of that, with uniform thickness.  It weighed 2.25 pcf.  Obviously the retailer was not honest.  A "2.5" pcf EPS foam could range from 2.25 to 2.75 pcf.

Accept. Reject.  It does not affect me.

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Huck's picture
Joined: 12/07/2009

Based on weight comparisons, I'm guessing the orange density foam is closest in density to 2#, but as I say, not available in longboard blanks. The US blanks catalog doesn't give density of poly blanks, only a percentage in reference to blue density as the standard.

Are there blank manufacturers that make poly longboard blanks identical in density to their EPS blanks?  Just curious.

Which longboard blanks are you using for poly? For EPS?

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jrandy's picture
Joined: 09/04/2012

Huck wrote:

Based on weight comparisons, I'm guessing the orange density foam is closest in density to 2#, but as I say, not available in longboard blanks. The US blanks catalog doesn't give density of poly blanks, only a percentage in reference to blue density as the standard.

Are there blank manufacturers that make poly longboard blanks identical in density to their EPS blanks?  Just curious.

Huck, I ran across this the other day, trying to figure out how dense tow-weight foam is:

http://www.surfblanksaustralia.com/blanks-info/surfblanks-foam-density-chart#.VarefKxRHIU

-J

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http://pushheretosavealife.com/ Be safe, have fun. -J

Zourite's picture
Joined: 09/07/2014

The weight difference is because epoxy is stronger than poly as a resin. So for the same board, they usually use lighter cloth and so less resin to get a lighter board.

Or, they use same glassing method but with a lighter foam...

The same construction plan (same cloth and resin amount, same foam density) will indeed result in a very similar board weight (epoxy and poly density are both around 1.2kg/L).

But the theory of stiffness of a resin compared to another or it flex won't be enought to tell you if you want this new board or not... you have to experience it imho.

Z.

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stoneburner's picture
Joined: 12/30/2007

I am using XPS sheets for surfboards (1.8 pcf & 2.2 pcf) and EPS for experimental longboard (skate)/mountainboard cores (maybe presses/molds eventually). I cannot tell you about commercially available blanks.

My current project is a 1.25"-2.0" thick x 48" long EPS (2.25 pcf) center-deck inlay (with modification) in XPS.  My preferred surfboards are 7'6" single fins.

Not directed at you Huck.  But we will begin the countdown...

_____

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newschoolblue's picture
Joined: 06/30/2004

To Duck-1 (the original poster who started the thread):  you've hopefully surmised by now that you're going to get a range of answers.  You could narrow the range and maybe get more useful responses if you provided more specific details on the construction of your current epoxy board.  Unfortunately, the phrasing of your question suggests that you aren't very familiar with the nuances of the very subject you're asking about.  Poke around and you'll find  plenty of info and plenty more opinions.  Have fun.

@Stoneburner: for what it's worth, the last couple blocks of "2 lb" EPS I've bought both came in at a true density of 1.85 lbs/cu. ft. 

Now, somewhere in the dusty recesses of my brain I remember reading that the commonly used blanks at the time (this would have been Clark Foam Green or Blue densities, I can't remember which) averaged around 3 lbs/ cu. ft.  Now, true 3-lb. EPS is kinda hard to come by and fairly pricey.  (You may want to look up my thread in the Industry section about it 5 or 6 years ago, as it generated some interesting feedback.)  Even then, if one had a board cored with 3-lb. EPS and glassed the same as an identical poly board, many say it wouldn't feel the same.   Different vibration damping characteristics and such.  

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stingray's picture
Joined: 12/24/2004

For Stoney and Huck.......

Ten years ago when Clark foam closed Swaylock's.com went crazy......we were told the construction grade block foam was 2 pound (2#). It was not.....what everybody was buying and hot wiring was 1.5 pound foam... that was 2005....

....2015....today's surfboard foam is much better and the specs are tighter. Foam is better, beads are tighter. EPS foam is being blown just for surfboards. Some molded, some block. The hot wired US Blanks EPS foam today are are 1.85 or better. I know that from experience.....I can see it and feel it. And I know this stuff for a fact.....The Murphy's Law board that I sent up to Huck is the old foam....The fish I just finished is the new foam..... I haven't tried the Marco foam or the US Blanks Superfused yet.....My resin supplier and my pro shaping friends say that's where I need to go......It's hard to have a day job and explore everything surfing and shaping....go for it!

Ray man going on vacation man.....................

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lemat's picture
Joined: 04/17/2010
When you try to make some foam you quickly understand why final density can be far from what you expected. Pu blanks are in général heavier than nominal density can let hope and EPS lighter. Post EPS blank used are lighter than pu, so for near same board weight more glass is used ended in a stiffer board with less damping feeling but it can be adjust with stringer configuration. With same glass schedule board is lighter, flexible ans breakable.
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kayu's picture
Joined: 07/24/2009
Regarding the opening posters question , modern epoxies out-perform poly resin hands down . They don't fit into the standard industry requirements for quick production , but the finished product is much stronger , and also has more performance enhancing elasticity than poly resin ( which is brittle by comparison , and less durable).....epoxy is not as user friendly as poly , but it's certainly getting closer.
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stoneburner's picture
Joined: 12/30/2007

And...

Polyester resin cannot be used with EPS or XPS foam cores. 

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bb30's picture
Joined: 05/08/2011

You can turn any density foam into 0.75lb or less with very little effort. Don't have a formula, just a router with bit, two turn tables and a microphone.

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stoneburner's picture
Joined: 12/30/2007

Looks like you glassed one side before routing.

How did you glass the other side without getting sagging over the air pockets?

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bb30's picture
Joined: 05/08/2011

Rout from bottom and try not to go through deck. Leave 5-8mm. perfect job for a cnc machine versus me.

First pic is a blank I made in 1998 or 99. Open cell eps 1.8 lb density. Almost threw it away dozens of times over the years. Totally was belly laughing at what the open cell beads do to you and your shop when you cut it. Blast from the past. Should have taken a pic of the havoc. Still better than PU of the day though.

Second pic to answer your second question. Hardwood planks. Tried this with balsa 1/8 stiff planks about 12 years ago and it was cool but dimpled in all the recessed areas. Gave it up as a bad idea until I finally got my paulownia import permit to try it again.  Started board 5 yesterday. Getting it down. Paulownia is 2-3 times denser than the balsa I stock. 

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stoneburner's picture
Joined: 12/30/2007

...

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chrisp's picture
Joined: 05/30/2006
Hahaha nice BB30!
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GregTate's picture
Joined: 03/18/2004

loving this. 

all the best

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Personally I'm always ready to learn, although I do not always like being taught. - Winston Churchill

grasshopper's picture
Joined: 03/18/2004

I am familiar with the JQ and I think the heavier version would ride better - go for it!

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newschoolblue's picture
Joined: 06/30/2004

Charlie, you're a freak.

Just clap your hands.

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kayu's picture
Joined: 07/24/2009
........no air valve bb30 ?
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bb30's picture
Joined: 05/08/2011

gortex vents from PeteC on certain boards for certain people. 

This one gets a vent. 1 lb eps 9'5" x 29"x 4 1/14"

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stoneburner's picture
Joined: 12/30/2007

bb30 wrote:
Second pic to answer your second question. Hardwood planks. Tried this with balsa 1/8 stiff planks about 12 years ago and it was cool but dimpled in all the recessed areas. Gave it up as a bad idea until I finally got my paulownia import permit to try it again.  Started board 5 yesterday. Getting it down. Paulownia is 2-3 times denser than the balsa I stock. 

Interesting technology.  Considered something similar for longboard skate/mountainboard decks to get weight down from standard 4-5 lb decks, 3 or 4 years ago.  For the most part, abandoned the idea for various reasons.  I think about it from time to time.  I thought about balsa model frame covering tissue (paper) but was sure sagging would be a problem.  Still pondering ways to stiffen tissue before glassing.  I figured I would need a press to laminate a wood skin.

Vacuum seems to be your specialty.  Are you using vacuum to laminate the wood skin to the foam matrix?  If so, how does vacuum affect a semi-hollow core board?  Seems like that could cause some unique issues.

Seeing your tech triggered a memory of a member (name?) here who makes templates from sheet fiberglass layed up on a wet-out table.  Seems like fiberlgass sheet might have possibilities with your technique.   Could possibly allow the addition of color (etc.) to the sheet before laminating to the foam.  Have you ever tried basswood skins?

_____

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bb30's picture
Joined: 05/08/2011

No problem with vacuum bagging regarding the foam or wood. The adhesion of the fiberglass cloth to the inside wood in the hallow areas are more perfect than I ever imagined. The challange is to always have an joining end plank seam on foam. I have solved my problem with math. One solution is to make a whole skin inside fiberglass on the un violated blank with releash film protecting blank. remove skin and then hack out the blank. Then vacuum bag the skin to the hacked out blank. I think you could really maximize foam removal since you no longer have seams to worrk about. THis would take an extra step however. I am currently enjoying the challange the way I am doing it now. I just make my stencil cut out guides for the width of planks I am using. Ultimate goal is to be able to program in a cnc the optimal foam removal based on your plank width and length for a particular board. Totally doable, but want to get it wired by hand to see if it is necessary or worth it.

Paulownia is the lightest of hardwoods. Basswood is 4-6 times denser and Birch is 6-8times denser than my balsa I stock. I don't think I would consider using denser than Paulownia.

Though all this is a new discovery for me, it all has to have been done before. I now have a purpose for blanks laying around that other wise would have been thrown away. Have a new simple system for bending balsa planks for rails now too. 

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stoneburner's picture
Joined: 12/30/2007

...

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newschoolblue's picture
Joined: 06/30/2004

In all seriousness, Charlie, what is the motivation for this?  Is it that you have blanks laying around that are too dense to be otherwise useful to you?

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bb30's picture
Joined: 05/08/2011

Ultimate motivation is to stir the pot of ideas. Secondly I want to use paulownia planks and have super strong, super light, super cool looking boards. My first three paulownia's are beautiful but way too heavy.  My paulownia planks are at least twice as heavy as my balsa planks. Where can you save weight when your eps is 1-1.5lb? Shave foam, lighter cloth, less resin. Same as it always is. Having access to 0.75 lb foam would help solve it, but too expensive for me to get it here.  My current 1lb blank I cut out last week is so light I don't have an accurate enough scale to measure it. With the gouged out foam I can hold it with one finger. Finding limits for me I start safe and work down from there.

20 year old PU blanks are not useful. Even the ones with clark foam stenciled on them. Been on the EPS bandwagon way before it was cool.   The" fiberglass versus epoxy performance" question has been answered in my mind decades ago. As the question begs, 99% don't know the difference, understand or care about it. Still swimming against the norm and still having fun doing it. Enjoying the cool ideas and appreciating the craftmanship on this site.

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SammyA's picture
Joined: 01/14/2006

bb30 wrote:
  The" fiberglass versus epoxy performance" question has been answered in my mind decades ago.


My stock answer is that it's a stupid question. Clueless, uninformed people don't even realize that their "epoxy" boards are made with goddam fiberglass. It irks me even more when I hear it from the mouths of surfshop employees. If you don't realize how dumb that question is, take up golf or shuffleboard. Surfing is just not your "thing".
There is no such thing as a "fiberglass surfboard". They are made with foam, and sometimes wood. </rant>

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bb30's picture
Joined: 05/08/2011

The comment was called high brow humor. Sorry you confused it for anything else but that.

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SammyA's picture
Joined: 01/14/2006

bb30 wrote:

The comment was called high brow humor. Sorry you confused it for anything else but that.


My reply wasn't aimed at you. I was just using your comment as a jumping off point. As previously stated, I am often appalled when I hear salespeople refer to "epoxy vs fiberglass". It's a case of the blind leading the blind.

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spuddups's picture
Joined: 04/14/2011
Amen.
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Huck's picture
Joined: 12/07/2009

You gotta start somewhere.  The corporate surf industry thrives on the ignorance of the masses, and does everything in its power to promulgate myths, falsehoods, misinformation and disinformation.  I like browsing surfboard makers' websites, and am continually apalled at the dearth of any real solid information on surfboard design and construction, as if any and every design detail, no matter how basic, is some kind of proprietary secret sauce that they alone possess the recipe for.  So when someone asks a question that betrays ignorance of the subject, it can be an opportunity to begin the education process.

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bb30's picture
Joined: 05/08/2011

Sorry huck, it is not if someone asks, it is most everyone asks. Very few buy surfboards off the rack as informed buyers. Just think back to your first board you bought. I wouldn't expect anything else either and don't think badly of it. A simple explanation fixes it and a cellular level discussion is not necessary or needed.

Meanwhile, back in the barnyard, I mean backyard.

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Huck's picture
Joined: 12/07/2009

bb30 wrote:
Sorry huck, it is not if someone asks, it is most everyone asks. Very few buy surfboards off the rack as informed buyers. Just think back to your first board you bought. I wouldn't expect anything else either and don't think badly of it. A simple explanation fixes it and a cellular level discussion is not necessary or needed.

I got your intent charlie, like you said, the phrasing of the question made your point.  Love the pics you've been putting up on this thread!  Thinking back to my ignorance before swaylocks I get motivated to share / teach anyone interested the bare rudiments of surfboard design and construction that I have learned here.  I've seen it over and over, the perpetrators of ignorance must build a wall of social unacceptability around swaylocks to keep the curious out.  Even some who were once regulars here, but have now "made it" in the mainstream corporate food chain, have been known to cast aspersions this direction.  

To quote urbandictionarydotcom, mushroom management...

1. Keep them in the dark. 
2. Feed them full of shit. 

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stoneburner's picture
Joined: 12/30/2007

bb30 wrote:

Though all this is a new discovery for me, it all has to have been done before

Thirty-two years ago somebody said to me, "Certainly this has already been done/researched," about my first mansucript and written theory.  A respected science journal told me they would publish it if I included the word "hypothesis" in the title.  And I did.

As a result, I came up with the stoneburner corollary and have lived by it ever since, "Somebody has to be first."

bb30 wrote:
I have solved my problem with math. 

That sounds interesting.  You have me curious now...

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bb30's picture
Joined: 05/08/2011

SB,

 Curiosity killed the, I mean, cured polio.

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tridrles's picture
Joined: 04/07/2004

Charlie!  You have me excited again!  Thanks!  But, it'' be awhile...I have TOO many projects!  Ha!

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kayu's picture
Joined: 07/24/2009
How light do yo want to go ?
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stoneburner's picture
Joined: 12/30/2007

...

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bb30's picture
Joined: 05/08/2011

Nice Kayu. I am trying to aim high in craftsmanship but that seems out of reach from where I am standing.

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johnmellor's picture
Joined: 03/17/2004

Looks kind of like Bill Foote paddleboard tech....

Or maybe early Gary Young...

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