Foam core vs. Wood core

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Foam core vs. Wood core

Postby Dutchkiteboarder » Tue May 31, 2011 9:03 am

So I was always wondering what are the advantages of having a wood core / foam core kiteboard and what are the disadvantages of having one of these boards.

Foam cheaper??
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Re: Foam core vs. Wood core

Postby West » Tue May 31, 2011 10:55 am

Ease of building, and lower costs would be my basic answer to that one....it is far more difficult to build a strong, light board from foam than wood. At BROKITE, we have the philosophy that wood cores make a "dead" board, while foam cores can make a "lively" one....the trick is to be able to make it strong and light.....that is where our boards differ from any other board on the market. Our strength comes from our G5 technology: our carbon stringers!!!!! By applying this technique, we are able to make a strong, light, thin board that still retains flexibility, ......our method is far too labor intensive to apply on a mass production level.

That being said everyone has an opinion....here are the opinions of four other board manufacturers on that subject.....bear in mind that Jimmy Lewis and Rogue Wave have backgrounds in surfboards while North's background is as a sail maker, and Liquid Force's background is in wakeboards.......you decipher the lingo.......good luck!!!! :roll:

Jimmy Lewis on his new board line:

Humbly stated, the 2011 Jimmy Lewis Model 3 Kiteboard is the greatest board of all time. The 2011 Jimmy Lewis Model 3 Kiteboard has hand shaped rails and deep concave create speed with comfort, and deep carve and pop. Unlike sharp edged wooden press molded boards, Jimmy's foam core Model 3 doesn't deflect and block water. It wraps and releases the water.


North on their new board line:

The strong, fibrous structure of the wood core allow for a thinner core profile and a higher amount of bending compared with a traditional foam core, without the risk of breakage. The result is a board with a greater amount of flex, working as an active suspension while riding, providing a smooth and controlled feeling even through rough water. Thanks to the natural flex characteristics and spring back of the wood core, our new boards have a responsive and lively feel on the water, without sacrificing the comfort.


Rogue Waves perspective:

Our twin-tip boards have no wood or plastic in them – high performance materials only! Many production boards use wood core snowboard construction methods which take only 10 minutes to build, but there is a huge difference that even beginning riders can notice. One ride is all it takes – some riders say that they are hooked on Rogue Wave boards after riding only a few meters!

The foam in our boards does not get soft or break down even after many years of riding — wood core boards tend to break down and get spongy feeling very quickly.

Foam boards are much more expensive and time consuming to build, but the extra cost and time involved is well worth it to most riders. Foam boards have a nicer feel on the water because they dampen out chop and provide a progressive re-flex action instead of the chatter and unpredictable ride you feel with a wooden-cored board. One ride will convince you!


Liquid Force's view :

Another new technology advancement for 2011 is the addition of our combination ??? Wood/PVC foam core. The wood gives our boards the most lively flex of any boards on the market while the foam keeps the weight to a minimum, providing the best ride money can buy....


Personally, I have always looked at Jimmy Lewis boards as the standard.....why, you may ask.....simply because of his extensive background in boardbuilding, his close contact with his riders, and the indisputable fact that he was there when it all started and he is still plugging away...and although he has a production line, he is still in the shaping room letting the foam fly, and building custom boards!!!!! Interestingly enough the hand shaped rails, and the deep concave he professes as setting his boards apart have ALWAYS been the way we do it at Brokite, and no surprise here....he is down on the wood-core technology.....we never embraced that idea, either :idea: !!!!

.......enough said, You gotta ride and compare, don't get caught up in the marketing teminology and hoopla...that's all I got!!!!!!!! (for now)
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Re: Foam core vs. Wood core

Postby Dutchkiteboarder » Tue May 31, 2011 12:48 pm

Thanks for the info West. I know you have to try and feel differences. I used to have a wood core board. Really loved it, designed by Brunotti boards. The board I have now supposed to be wood core as well but feels soo much heavier.
The main reason I started to wonder was because of snowboards, I heard this story that foam boards tempt to loose shape really fast. So I was wondering if this was the same with kiteboards.
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Re: Foam core vs. Wood core

Postby V » Fri Jun 03, 2011 9:02 am

I've got a ZG from years ago that I rode harder than a ---- in ----- and she's still got it goin' on...
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Re: Foam core vs. Wood core

Postby BRO » Tue Jun 07, 2011 12:17 pm

No way, foam is more expensive because of the cost of the material and labor involved to do it right. Our 5G carbon/foam cores are the only ones out there that have the carbon integrated into the foam core. Our average core is around 17.5 inches wide at the mid point. It is made up of 5 sections that are individually wrapped with carbon. So each of the 5 sections are 3.5" wide and form 5 carbon leaf springs inside the board. This is what makes our board special. We use foam because it is a neutral material that lets the carbon fiber respond independent of any other material. What makes carbon fiber so special is not only its weight to strength ratio but also its unmatched dynamic reflex qualities to shock and pressure. When carbon fiber is loaded with pressure or is shocked it will react with controlled flex, and immediately wants to return to its original shape with minimal vibration or over correction. To use carbon fiber in a kiteboard correctly and get the most out of its unique characteristics, you must form a tube or box beam with it. This allows the carbon to work against itself and establish structural integrity. Using a flat sheet of carbon on the top and or bottom which is not connected together with vertical webs is a waste of the material. It will give you a lighter board but no improvement in flex characteristics. It will also give you an expensive brittle board which is prone to failure.

Wood is used for cores because it is inexpensive, strong, and easy to work with. When you build a board with a wood core you use less fabric, epoxy, and labor. The weight is in the wood. It is a lot like making a baloney sandwich. The baloney is your core, the lettuce is your cloth, the mayo is epoxy, and the skin is your bread. You slap it together, press on it, and call it a board. I guess it’s a Panini baloney sandwich since you press it with heat. Even if you use carbon fiber over a wood core you get the flex characteristic of the wood, not the carbon. Because the wood is not neutral, it dampens the flex characteristics in a negative way. Also most wood core boards thin towards the tail. Board builders do this by using thin ABS plastic in the tails in place of the wood. This is easy to do and helps reduce the weight of the wood core by eliminating some of it. It also makes the board look cool, but this is a performance compromise because the ABS has little or no dynamic reflex qualities and it limits the pop that the tail is capable of delivering. The ABS is much like the plastic used in Tupperware, great for rails and inserts but it sucks for dynamic structural applications.

At Brokite we build our boards one at a time when the wind isn’t blowing. We build each board as if it was our own. Function rules, and fashion is for fools. We really don’t want the masses riding our boards, just the riders that get it.
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Re: Foam core vs. Wood core

Postby adseguy » Tue Jun 07, 2011 2:29 pm

Nice mini-writeup Jerry. I learned a lot in those two paragraphs.

And in my experience, I agree, function over form, but form usually follows function anyway.
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Re: Foam core vs. Wood core

Postby Dutchkiteboarder » Tue Jun 07, 2011 4:31 pm

Thanks for the clarification Jerry! It was really interesting to read about it and funny to think that you paying so much money for a board that might only have a little wood core then they want you to believe. Again thanks for the information
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Re: Foam core vs. Wood core

Postby gbleck » Tue Jun 07, 2011 6:56 pm

I'll soon be able to tell the you what the difference between a wood core with fiberglass board and a foam with carbon stringer board is. I am nearing finsishing my foam copy of my popler core square 135x40 board. The popler board is realy flexy but that has more to do with the thickness and layup.
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Re: Foam core vs. Wood core

Postby kwk » Fri Jun 10, 2011 10:13 am

A good analogy to carbon vs. wood is the tennis racket. If you were serious about playing tennis would you buy a wood, or a carbon fiber racket? The composite racket would have to be engineered correctly and would not be made using a wood core with carbon fiber covering it. This would defeat the response properties and add weight to the so called “carbon racket” and you might as well be playing with a wooden racket. The only difference you would probably notice between a carbon wrapped wood racket and a normal wood racket would be a lot lighter wallet.

Living in Corpus this winter I had the opportunity to build my new Brokite 144 with Jerry and see how much time and materials went into building the board. Personally I like seeing that I see the money I paid for the board going into his and West's efforts and the materials not into advertising, paying the pro riders, reps, shipping from China, etc. I don't really want pretty graphics that look like shit after a couple years. I want a board that rides great in a variety of conditions, will hold up and that I can find when I get separated from it. If you are in the market for a board I highly recommend you give a Brokite board a try.
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Re: Foam core vs. Wood core

Postby snowball » Tue Jun 14, 2011 9:00 pm

My lf board i cracked pretty bad. Its still riding but you would laugh if you saw it. Btw brokite boards are the shit. I tried an all wood bamboo custom board and it was really fast but at the same time very stiff. Brokite is all around perfect ride waves pop flex they really do an excellent job at building the ultimate board. Psss i ride boards so hard and manage to break the rails and core somehow always....i should be the tester for new boards :P
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Re: Foam core vs. Wood core

Postby Safe_Cracker » Tue Jun 14, 2011 9:47 pm

snowball wrote:My lf board i cracked pretty bad. Its still riding but you would laugh if you saw it. Btw brokite boards are the shit. I tried an all wood bamboo custom board and it was really fast but at the same time very stiff. Brokite is all around perfect ride waves pop flex they really do an excellent job at building the ultimate board. Psss i ride boards so hard and manage to break the rails and core somehow always....i should be the tester for new boards :P



Hey Henry, did you ever try that bamboo of mine, the SU2? How does the bro compare to that? Polo
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