What Is A Surfbard Stringer?
A surfboard stringer is usually a piece of wood that runs down the centre of a surfboard blank. Stringers usually affect the flex of a surfboard and usually come attached to the surfboard blank before it goes through the shaping process.
When surfboards moved to a more modern material known as polyurethane, shapers needed a way to strengthen the boards in order to stop them from bending too far. This was when the stringer was first introduced. Stringers are usually made from balsa wood as it is the strongest yet lightest wood around for shapers. Alternatively shapers can use carbon fiber surfboard stringers to get a similar effect.
How Thick Should A Surfboard Stringer Be?
A general guideline when deciding how thick a surfboard stringer should be is, the thicker the surfboard the thicker the stringer. Stringers usually range anywhere from 4mm to 6mm depending on the type of board and what kind of surfing it will be used for.
Surfboard Stringer Materials
There are many different kinds of materials that surfboard stringers can be made of. The most popular kind of stringer you will find in a surfboard is a wooden stringer. The kind of wood used for wooden stringers depends on a few things; price, preference of surfboard manufacturer and what kind of waves the board is designed to surf. The most common type of wooden surfboard stringer is made of balsa wood because of its strength and flexibility.
Other surfboard stringer materials include; PVC, high density foam, and carbon fiber surfboard stringers. Carbon stringers can be used in a variety of ways to tweak the surfboard design. The most common way that carbon stringers are used is a traditional strip down the middle but some shapers prefer to wrap the carbon fully along the rails of the surfboard.
Some surfboards do not even have stringers. Epoxy surfboards are slightly more durable by nature and the foam can handle more. This being said epoxy shapes are generally glassed slightly thicker to make sure they still have the right mix of strength and flexibility.
Why Do You Need A Stringer On A Surfboard?
The main reason stringers are needed in surfboards is to supply the board with the right amount of flex to strength ratio, however there is more to surfboard stringers than one might think.
A stringer is one of the most important aspects to surfboard shaping. Without a stringer there will not be enough drive coming out of the board when a surfer is trying to generate speed. The little bit of flex that occurs is snapped back by the stringer which causes the board to generate projection in the surf. Another reason you need a stringer on a surfboard is to help control the twisting motion which helps a surfer turn and change direction in a smooth style.
Single Stringer Vs Triple Stringer Surfboards
The single stringer is the most traditional kind of stringer you find. Usually it runs down the centre of the board and helps with flex and strength. Balsa is the most common type of material used when making single stringer boards.
Parabolic / Wedge Stringer
This type of dual stringer is when shapers wrap two stringers along both sides of the board. Most of the time shapers tend to use either balsa or carbon stringers for these types of surfboards. The biggest benefit this type of stringer system creates is the memory flex of the board. It allows surfboards to bend and pop back into place slightly quicker than traditional surfboards creating more drive. Many high performance surfers are leaning toward parabolic stringers as this design makes it easier to create drive and offers more performance when doing tight turns.
Longboards are usually the only type of surfboard that uses multiple stringers. The reason for this is because surfboard stringers add extra weight to a board which is not necessarily a bad thing. With longboards having multiple stringers helps create more strength which is important when having such a big surface. Longboards take more damage than smaller lighter boards so usually manufacturers will go with multiple stringers.
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