Points well taken, forgive me if I am out of context, as my testing was exhaustive and continues to this day; I don't see empirical testing to be avoiding the issue. More important is what is to come. A good analogy would be the development of the airplane for its' first 30 or so years. Many, many great minds were striving to build the best aircraft; an epic braintrust. After WWI it was realized that streamlining and better propellors were the answer. Into the 1920's and 30's international air races came to the forefront as the motive for better technology. Many companies and individuals working out of their sheds contributed in huge ways. Shaping better propellors became an art. Go to a museum and have a look; you shapers can appreciate the functionality of their efforts and talent. The contributions plateaued conceptually and the increases slowed. Most of the highest performing aircraft started to converge design-wise. Their performances throughout the world were very similar even during the life-and-death push from WWII. Then, seemingly one day, this British guy comes up with the jet engine. Basically, all the artists are throwing their propellors in pile. Everyone starts pushing the jet technology, and though propellors still exist and continue to improve (get refined) the jet comes to the forefront. Which leads to my question, "Are we due for a change?" Worrying about how my concave can get me 7 percent more efficiency is just refining the propellor; whether I got this effect from a test tank, workbench, or local beachbreak is irrelevant. The time is really right for someone to come up with something that you and I will remember seeing or hearing about; making us go "holy s*#t!!!" We'll all be running back to our shops to build our version and that's the real rush in a shaper's/boardbuilder's life. Please don't take offense, refinements are all I did for almost 30 years; I'm guilty of building inside the box. I make my living making mostly tri-fins; but I also try some crazy stuff. I mean, imagine how it was for longboards (since modern surfing's inception) to suddenly (six months) mutate into the shortboard. I bet many visitors to this site can tell us very clearly where they were when they first saw/heard of a shortboard. Or the tri fin. Or... ...is this Paradigm Shift inevitable, or am I just spewing words???
no your not spewing words ...its construction technologie ..its the next big break ..ive been building longboards for the last ten years that are in the water and surfing ..finished product ...lighter than just the blank of a conventional board, ive been building 9' plus boards that weigh 8 pounds... and to prove its no hoax have produced 4 open australian national titles since 99 ..and on the the aussie west coast in 2003 had 7 west coast titles of 9 possible surfing divisions .now thats 1 manufacturer out about 140 in this state who took out over 70% of the possible titles we coulda taken more but didnt have guys riding our boards in those divisions... i would call that an advantage due to technologie ...if we look at a lot of the champions of the last 30 years ,,many came with new technology..weather it was M.R. with the twinny ,simon with the thruster,curran with reverse v , and so on ,but now where can you go shape wise??? construction is next ,,,,, get involved or go like the dinosaur....
I think I see what you mean, but..... the jet engine, lets say, had a long period of research and development before it really was more than a curiosity, before its actual performance caught up with what thermodynamic theory said it could do. Lots of failures, lots of really, really bad jet engines that failed before they got some that'd really be useful in an airplane. And even then, they were hung in airframes that were not all that different from what had been flying around with a propeller on the front. Now, is there a paradigm shift coming? Maybe. Will you see it? Yeah, but not as a paradigm shift. Huh? Yep, 'cos you are prolly gonna be one of the guys making it happen and you'll see it as one more incremental improvement in a long series, which it will be to you. To the general population it'll _seem_ like some instant work of brilliant invention, but they are gonna be wrong. They didn't see all the wee maddening refinements in the background that add up to the major increase in performance. But what Mike from Freshwater is looking for is something pretty useful. All those improvements in aircraft design, they didn't come about because somebody was building airplanes and taking 'em up and flying 'em with no instruments and then going on to something better. Nope, what they were working with was NACA airfoils and cowlings and propellors that were tested in wind tunnels with lots of instruments busily measuring everything. Those that didn't do a lot of testing may have gotten real lucky now and then, but it was both unlikely and it could get kinda hairy. My favorite example of 'kinda hairy' is the Gee Bee racers. Designed and built by the Granville Brothers ( hence the Gee Bee) it was not a helluva lot more than a couple little wings and a great big honkin' engine ( http://www.aerofiles.com/geebee-r2.jpg ). Damned dangerous airplane. The racers all crashed. And the guy who was most successful in one was Jimmy Doolittle, who wound up leading a bomber mission over Japan that took off from an aircraft carrier. He also had a Ph.D. in aeronautical engineering from MIT, which is probably a big part of why he managed to live through all of it. The Gee Bees went like hell, but lets say their envelope had some funny folds in it. Took a guy with systematic knowledge to figure those out and stay away from them. But that's getting off to one side. Back on track, testing things is important. And it's important to have it under controlled conditions, with something more than how good it feels like it's working, even with a highly experienced feel for how surfboards work. That's where model testing and some sort of test rig come in, not building a board and going out and surfing it. I'll happily grant that it's not as simple as towing a model surfboard along a tank, it's more complex than that by quite a bit, but it can be done. Then take what's been learned, build one full-sized and take it out and see.
i got more data than you can poke a stick at from actually quite cheap and inexpensive methods from towing boards behind a boat with a couple of bricks on them and using a set of fish weighing scales on the tow rope to find out how viscous drag affects different size boards and also relate that back to different rockers and bottom contours, crude i know . actually sacrificing boards to science ..and keeping data from customers over a 3 year period to find out average snap ratios and other information...making a small flow tank (which actually got quite big due to turbulance problems )for the purpose of testing fins there foils and how much lift and drag ,and at what angle of attack they could handle before they failed or started to experience induced drag ..made from a bore pump some guttering a plastic container and two sets of kitchen electronic scales and of coarse the usual pain that goes with r&d...cheap yes , also efective ,but dont forget all that information now has a commercial value ...you think im gonna post my results here????for the time being i can use it to strengthen my position in the surfboard market place and as long as were still producing champion surfers ..the rest of the industry will be driven in our direction...you go to a car race ...the car that wins on sunday sells on monday... regards BERT
I'll be damned...Good for you, Bert. While some might raise a great wailing about why Bert ought to release his data, I won't. His time, money, effort and ingenuity went into it, so to my mind it's his and not some sort of public resource. I may have mentioned NACA airfoils and such in a previous post - the thing about those is that they were developed by a publicly funded agency whose specific purpose was to do research and disseminate information. NACA became NASA and they are still doing and publishing basic research in aerodynamics for everybody to use. Not applicable to somebody doing their own research, though. They don't have to publish and quite often they don't. Probably mentioning something you know already, but.... Bert, I'd be real picky about dating and documenting stuff. If you want to patent something, the better documented it is, the better. keep up the good work doc..............
I truly believe in the science of all this, but the human element and the infinitely variable ocean wave element will always be there. I was lucky enough to live in an environment where the waves were very similar most of the time. It was my ocean tank testing station, if you will. Part of the reason my boards and fins developed the way they did was because of this constant. I must stress though that my goal was to make the best stuff for me, and me only. I achieved something close to that, and by chance some other people liked them too. I'm still scouring my brain to try and make my life better. Reading everyones ideas and opinions here is helping me do that. Thanks to all.
Hey Bret, The kind of R & D your doing makes a hell of a lot more sense to me than any other approach I've heard of. Surf-craft development has always be a pull you own bootstraps up kind of thing. Industry starts at home and by jove it's clear to me that you're in your own kitchen cookin' up some grand recipes for surf-craft performance. Too bad you're on the other side of the world. I sure would like to see your boards and fin set-ups. I know I could learn a lot just looking at them first hand. I'm thinking the best way to enter your hydrodynamic picture is to send you a set of glass-ons for whatever board we might decide on. I hope you'll email me at eval(unescape('%64%6f%63%75%6d%65%6e%74%2e%77%72%69%74%65%28%27%3c%61%20%68%72%65%66%3d%22%6d%61%69%6c%74%6f%3a%77%69%6e%64%77%61%74%65%72%6f%6e%73%74%6f%6e%65%40%68%6f%74%6d%61%69%6c%2e%63%6f%6d%22%3e%77%69%6e%64%77%61%74%65%72%6f%6e%73%74%6f%6e%65%40%68%6f%74%6d%61%69%6c%2e%63%6f%6d%3c%2f%61%3e%27%29%3b')) so we can go from here. I think I'm on to something that's really good but I need more feed back, so far it's excellent, but no one that I get it from has a background like you. There aren't many who are willing to invest the time to gain the knowledge and experience to make both their own fins and boards around any more. It would seem that when it comes to both hydrodynamics and surfboards that less is more. It's called efficiency. Sometimes how you arrive at it comes from the time you've invested in your own back yard and then taken your concepts to sea. At least that's how it is for me. Gone Surfin', Rich
This is like a breath of fresh air. Good to know there are people out there testing in once sense or another. In engineering school there are design courses where the emphasis is rapid prototyping. Imagine building a 747, rolling it out, attempting take off, crashing. Build another 747, and so forth until you have one that works; like Doc says, a lot of development goes behind legitimate ideas that 'suddenly' appear in the mainstream. But, in the case of surfboards, there is very little penalty, to have a vision, make it, "fly" it, and succeed or crash it. They don't cost that much, are rarely lethal, and are fun to test. I know that G Lopez tests by towing behind a boat in a lake. I am fully aware of theoretical bases used for fin design, NACA/NASA, and simple beam theory for composite construction (very intriguing Bert) techniques (I've relied on this stuff for years). Even with all the test data, devices, etc WE STILL HAVE TO COME UP WITH THE PROTOTYPE THAT IS GOING INTO THE TANK. The Wright Bros imitated birds then went off on their own using wind tunnels and tons of foils. But where did the foils come from?? They saw how they performed (too difficult to build a Wright Flyer for each idea) and used their intuitive genius crossed with what resources were available. They did this systematically for every critical aspect of their complex craft. It saved lots of time. With surfboards, we can do this as well but remember we are super-simplified; with the advent of UV resin, we can make (relying on our previous schema (and others' ideas as well)) a prototype surfboard in the morning and try it by that same afternoon. I've tested in Indo at places where there are extremely repeatable waves; and it works, you learn. But like Feral Dave says, "the more you learn, the less you realize you know..." Maybe tank testing will anchor this knowledge. The common method of evolving the modern surfboard is like a room full of typewriters with monkeys (please, no offense) seated at each one; eventually one will type out Shakespeare. That's brutal, we're better than that, but it's done us right. Most of you out there are building what, single, twins, tris, etc. You imitate what you see because you know it works; you saved yourself a lot of headache. As boardbuilders, a collective idea generation (ie. Design Forum) is HUGE; and fairly recent. With that said, almost everything works; how would we know that we were reading Shakespeare if one of us hammered it out? (win a world championship on one; it that where we're headed?) The direction R&D goes is multiple, just remember the most substantial developement will come from a drastic design mutation, rather than refinement of present stuff.
No pain no gain....... http://www.geocities.com/wunderboyi/ninetysixpercent.html
Very good summary and very good points brought up. Let me toss a little into the mix, if I may. Prototype model-sized hulls for testing could, I suspect, be as quick and dirty as sanded foam and quick drying paint or plain shaped wax, given cool enough water. The wax hull could have quite a few advantages; castable, easily shaped, reshaped and adapted, what scaled weight you want for a surfboard-rider unit might be all in the wax hull. I'm harping on tank testing, or analogs of it, just so that we can indeed get some numbers out. In the last week, there have been at least a couple of 'what's fastest' threads, for instance, and there's actually no answers to that yet. The room full of monkeys analogy is pretty much to what I'm seeing at work in the biz now and as long as I have been watching it, with a few pretty bright monkeys doing some interesting things and most just cranking out the same old bananas and a few who seem to be plainly messing with coconuts. Though it may be that the coconut is what's gonna work best, eventually. And as you say, you have to know what Shakespeare is to recognise it when one of the monkeys comes up with something. I'll make a really awful analogy - if we equip the monkeys with word processors and spell check ( some efficient, relatively easy standardised testing methods and a few results to gauge them against ) then maybe the chances of Bonzo coming up with Macbeth or As You Like It are suddenly a whole lot better. Given quick, easy, easily changed and adapted models that can be tested, varied a little and tested again, well, the seemingly screwball idea can be checked out and fiddled with quick and easy and maybe that major jump forward can be accomplished much sooner, or maybe not given up on before that last little detail that makes it work right is found or tried. Dunno, that's what I'm thinkin', anyhow doc..............