Archive for the ‘Design’ Category

[VIDEO] Chris Emerick Motion

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014

My buddy Chris Emerick from Hood River has just recently released a sick demo reel of his motion clips shot all over the place. Super fun and definitely a guy you want to hire for your complete video production.

Brian Szymanski Talks Design – Starboard All Star

Thursday, January 17th, 2013

Brian Szymanski talks through the design characteristics of the 12′ 6″ Starboard All Star


Quick Blade Team V02 Max Testing

Sunday, January 13th, 2013

Jimmy Terrell at QuickBlade puts team members through their paces on the flume


Integrated Plug System Universal Mount System For Paddleboards

Thursday, January 10th, 2013

New release from Matt Friedman and Brian Szymanski @ Sup Think Tank.  Designers of the LiftSup Handle and this amazing new invention integrated plug system for your paddleboard. Designed to mount a paddle, fishing pole, GoPro mount, GPS holder, Fishfinder holder and more, plus all have a 360 degree rotation capability.

2011 Molokai race interviews – Brian Szymanski

Thursday, August 25th, 2011

I had the chance to catch up with the man behind the super fast Starboards race SUP’s, Brian Szymanski on the evening before the Molokai to Oahu race on July 30, 2011. He talks about his shapes, downwind racing, and the Molokai race- good stuff!

~ Robert Stehlik

Zen Waterman Blog

Starboard SUP Dan Gavere

The Tale of the Tail, by Len Barrow

Friday, July 1st, 2011

Have you ever wondered about how your surfboard or SUP works? The terminology requires a minor encyclopedia and each design element interacts with another element. It can be an incredibly complex issue but if you understand a few basics you should be able to figure out what’s going on. All in all, part of the fun of surfing and SUP is paying attention to your equipment. In this manner, it is truly is akin to a type of meditation.
For the purpose of this article we shall start with the tail or “tailblock”. The tailblock is the portion of the approximately two feet from the tip of the tail. It is an extremely important design element. Much of your pivoting while surfing is done on the tail therefore its “design lines”, volume, and rocker (bottom curve) is crucial. I know this is a mouthful but don’t worry. I will break down each topic point by point.
Tail Design Lines
The Square or Squash tail
Basically there exist three basic outlines of tail and many variations in-between. The first is a square or squash tail. As the name implies, the tail is squarish. A square tail can have rounded off edges or hard boxy angles. These types of tails are used for smaller waves and even slower waves. They are excellent as the square shape retains a wider outline as compared to other tails. A wider tail quite simply has more foam in the tail blocks volume. This equates to flotation and lift which are your absolute allies if the waves are small and slow. If the waves are barreling and huge like Pipeline, excess flotation and lift are actually your enemy as the tail wants to “lift” itself out off the water due to the power and curve of the wave. This is called spinning out. The actual “over-lifting” of the tail causes the fins to disengage from the water and one’s board control is lost. On the other hand, if you are on a small slow wave like Daimond Head or Sanonofre, lift is your ally. When the wave is slow the wider outline of the square or squash tail with its additional foam allows you to keep the boards speed. This translates into velocity that can be used in off the lips, cutbacks and zig zagging (weaving) across flat sections.
The Round tail or Pin Tail
The round tail is as the names implies, a tail that has its end rounded off. This tail can be curvy and look like the end of your thumb. A pin tail is similar yet has different angles. In a pin tail, the lines of the tailblock will usually be be straighter and end in a single defined point.
The round or pin tail have advantageous and disadvantages depending on the type of surf that you wish to ride. This is due to the fact that outline of a round or pin tail has less area than a squash hence less foam. This equates into a tail that settles down into the water more. This extra hold can manifest in two ways. If you are surfing slow rolling waves, the round and especially the pin tail tends to settle in the wave too much and you slow down due to increased friction. Remember that there is usually less surface area in the pin or round tail in the tail block hence less flotation. On the other hand if you are surfing a wave like Pipeline or Jocko’s, you want the tail to settle into the water. If you have a wide squash tail in these waves the excess surface area and foam would lift your fins out of the water and you would lose control (spin out). A pin however anchors your bottom turn, engaging the fins. This then translates in to drive or velocity which can allow you to do big off the lips and other gouges. Pin tails can have a great amount of what surfers call “drive” . Drive can be translated into “force direction” in surfer lingo. Quite literally a “drivey” board responds to the amount of force you put in and goes exactly where you want to go.
The Middle Path: The Swallow
What if you want the best of both worlds? You want the Zip of a squash for the small stuff but the drive of a Pin for the more powerful waves. If you don’t have enough money to buy five boards, each for a specific condition, what do you do?
Ben Aipa figured this out in the mid 70’s along with a few other shapers. God bless them for their solution. Imagine taking a square tail. In your mind place a small triangle in the dead center of the square tail with the point facing the nose. Cut out that triangular piece of foam and you get a swallow tail. What is so ingenious about this you may ask? Firstly you have the surface area of a squash tail which allows your board to be maneuverable in small mushy waves. Secondly you have just created two pin tails. A swallow tail is literally two pin tails! When you put the board on the rail, as in a bottom turn you engage one pin (let us say the right pin). Remember the pin settles into the water and creates drive. Then you come rocketing off the top and tip the board on to the other pin (now the left pin). As there is less foam in a pin, the tail holds in the critical section for your off the lip. If the wave slows down your tail block still has enough surface area to fly across the flat sections. This is my opinion but the swallow manages to engage in all types of surf.
I am always amazed at the capabilities of a swallow tail. I have seen Ben Aipa taking off on 12 foot (24 foot faces) Laniakea on a swallow and absolutely destroying the waves. On the other hand, I won the US Championships in 1 foot Huntington mush on a swallow tail.
It is important to understand that the above are just rough generalizations. I have not even taken into account rocker, board length, hips or templates. Yet this is what makes surfing or SUP surfing great fun. There is an infinite variety of equipment types to ride and you cannot possibly ride all the variations in a lifetime. Better yet, equipment forces you to pay attention and in this manner it is a type of meditation. Let me leave you with this question. What kind of tail do you prefer and why?

Read Full Article on Zen Waterman

VIDEO: SUP Magazine Presents Shaper Visits: Hobie

Friday, January 7th, 2011

This is an video embed from SUPMagazine’s interview with Mark Johnson – Hobie shaper extraordinaire.

Check out Hobie’s lineup here.

See the original article here

Board Review – Surftech Joe Bark 12′ Stock Paddleboard

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

These boards are ridiculously good for training. They are very durable and easy to paddle.

It must be noted that I’m too big for a stock board, so my review might be a bit hindered by my fat butt, especially in terms of glide and upwind performance. It would be great if someone with a little more practical experience (meaning weighing <185) chimed in. However, the board worked well for me on a few downwind runs here in California and it is Surftech Joe Bark 12' Stock Paddleboardperfect for training.

Ty Zulim at Surftech loaned some of these to the Old Dana Cove Paddleboard Club for our weekly sprint workouts this year and everyone was stoked on the boards. Several good SUP paddlers ended up purchasing one as a result to use as a back up or fun board to cross-train on.

I’m a fan!

Check out the new Quickblade Kahana – All Carbon Race Blade

Review Information Equipment Reviewed
Reviewer Name: Pete Stirling Manufacturer: SurfTech Bark
Reviewer Weight: 200lb Model Name : Stock Paddleboard
Reviewer Level: Advanced Model Year: 2010
Date Submitted: September 28, 1010 Class: Stock 12′
Type: Paddleboard Specifications: None

Hanging With Master Designer Brian Szymanski at the NCP Shaping Room

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

Brian SzymanskiI often try and cruise over to the Ding King at about 5.30pm because I can almost always catch Brian in full creative mode, and  I was not disappointed today. Although usually I’m prepared with my GoPro HD but today I was just returning from a work appointment  and all I had with me was my crappy old blackberry 8330 – the worlds worst video camera. After this my GoPro is staying in my truck!

Anyway, it was good enough to capture some super interesting tidbits with regards to the new 14′ SUP SURF prototype with a California Rocker, which Brian is working on for the Battle of the Paddle etc. This board will be as user friendly as a race board can be, stable yet fast and a great board for mere mortals and heavier guys wanted some extra stability without sacrificing glide.  I plan on owning one of these as soon as possible – Cool stuff Brian thanks Bud!

Curtis Hesselgrave ~ Master SUP and Paddleboard Fin Designer

Friday, August 20th, 2010

Fins - Curtis Hesselgrave SUP and Paddleboard Fin DesignerCurtis Hesselgrave is one of those guys you never hear about in the mainstream media and he deserves far more credit than he gets. He has done a ton of work in the designing and building process at my R&D at “DIVISION 585”, and over the years we have  been able to work together to make cutting edge stuff. Together have come up with some great templates back to my traditional paddle board designs which were ideal for the California kelp crossings and other areas. We have worked together by creating and testing paddleboard fins in all conditions, making them travel tested, changed tested, passed around tested,  race won tested and we are still on our journey for perfection.

He now offers three designs that cover you in any condition you may find and he is my pick for the best fin designer in the  world. I have raced using most of fins on all types of boards and with great results and he now offers three designs that cover you in any condition you may experience. I have turned other racers onto his designs for many reasons and the grey fins are the ones we use on Maui and Molokai, and on a 14′ downwind board I think the 9″ curtisbluewater is the best fin available the the tourquise fin is for weeds and kelp and shallow water.

Thank you Curtis for providing us with these great fins and here is some additional information of interest from the horses mouth. ~ Brian

These fins are 1.5 years of design evolution for racing fins for SUP.

The first one in the series is the keel style Hatchet Fin that we call the “Kelp Cutter”. It is 6.5” deep and blows through kelp paddies as if they were not there. When we first developed this fin E.J. said that he no longer had to go outside or around even the thickest kelp paddies.

The second design in the series is the yellowish fin and the red fin on the right. This fin was designed for the 2010 Catalina race to provide more stability than the kelp cutter and still shed some weeds. E.J. and Brandi smoked on this fin (they got it two days before the race) winning the 12’6” division by 5 minutes. Further testing demonstrated that the fin was a bit large and was not as quick on and off the bumps as we wanted. The newer version of this  fin is named the “Eel Grass” and is raked a bit more to help to shed light weeds and scaled down to 9” from the original 9.8” to make it a little quicker, while still maintain excellent directional stability.

The third design, the two smoke fins on the left and the blue fin in the middle, is named the “Bluewater” it is a dedicated  downwind fin and also designed for buoy racing where quick turns are a must. The three fins here are the prototypes and are three different sizes, all the same template. We did this to find the right amount of area. In testing leading up to the 2010 Molokai race the 9” version was found to have the best sea keeping qualities in the cross winds, quartering seas and large swell. The boys placed first in the three man 14” division quite a few places in front of the next division finishers. Rumor has it that Brian was doing soul arches and speed squats he was having so much fun – the gear worked perfectly. ~ Curtis Hesselgrave

Curtis Hesselgrave SUP and Paddleboard fin designerVisit Curtis and buy some fins and you will not regret it!!

Joe Bark talks about latest SUP design for Surftech 14′ Dominator

Thursday, August 19th, 2010

Joe Bark Talks about the Surftech 14' Dominator PaddleBoard Specialists caught up with the one and only Joe Bark at the Outdoor Retailer Show in Salt Lake City, UT last week. Joe was happy to show off the new Surftech Dominator 14’ race board. Joe calls this the big brother to the Surftech Competitor 12’6”. In Joe’s own words, it is the “Magic Board”. We know we love the Competitor 12’6” and can’t wait to get this one out on our glassy lakes for some serious speed. Joe even admits that there is a bit of mystery involved in how stable, fast, and well tracking his boards are. We don’t know what it is either, maybe it is the rigorous testing Joe does, the years of experience, or just the result of a shaper who is overflowing with passion for the sport. Whatever it is, we like it.

If you’d like to shoot videos like this check out the latest GoPro HERO video cameras from the Official GoPro Online Store.

Brian Szymanski shaping EJ’s new 14′ Prototype

Sunday, August 8th, 2010
14' Racing board for EJ used in Tahoe

Starboard Proto 14'

I’ve been in my shaping room for the weekend but managed to put some time in the water as well. Here is a slide show of some pics of the new Starboard prototype that EJ is going to be racing in Tahoe.

One thing I’ve figured out through experience is that hot weather makes lighter boards, so I’ve worked hard to get this together this weekend. I used only one layer of carbon on each side with custom laps and patches to keep in comp light. I really am interested in seeing how this runs downwind, because I’ve have a feeling we got a magic one.
Living in Cardiff is awesome because I get to do resin work then go for a SUP at Cardiff Reef, add another  layer and get back in the water – and again! In fact now that my family is out of town for a few days I’ve getting in three sessions a day. Board building is supposed to be fun after all, and this is especially true when you’re building boards for guys like EJ!

Paddle On!


Starboard 6’6″ designed by Brian Szymanski

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010

Starboard impossible 6'6"When first introduced to SUP, I was curious. Coming from a professional surfing background, the whole idea of SUP’ing came across a little boring. For all I knew, it was a sport where old guys would stand on top of oversized boards and paddle around with an oar to easilty catch waves . As a young surfer, it just didn’t sound appealing.

Then I came to experience it first hand… . It was an activity that tested my abilities as a surfer- my balance, strength, and natural sync with the movement of the ocean.

After a while I found how it puts a new twist on the methods of traditional surfing. Instead of testing your abilities only while being on the wave, SUP challenge you during the entire session- when you’re standing on the board, paddling, catching and surfing a wave. It is a great tool to fine-tune your surfing style. SUP’ing is an activity that I have taken a great liking to and look forward to each session as an opportunity to further improve my skills.