One team of inventors from the USA would certainly have us think so after they have developed a new foam adapted from advanced aerospace materials for surfboard construction. It is a new foam chemistry which focuses on improving the performance of the surfboard core. Varial Foam makes a board 25% lighter and 30% stronger than a PU blank according to lifelong friends and the team behind the foam Edison Conner and Parker Borneman.
Edison likened the results as “the difference from driving a slushy old Ford suspension to a tight and responsive Porsche.”.
The exact chemical compound is closely guarded secret
While the exact chemical compound is closely guarded secret, Edison was keen to point out the boards environmental pedigree stating that “The boards are so tough that effectively they can last a lifetime and therefore you won’t find them pilling up in a landfill somewhere”
The foam also doesn’t use a stringer and has more than seven times the modulus of polyurethane.
“It efficiently transfers the surfer’s energy directly through the core to the water’s surface instead of absorbing it, making the board faster and more responsive.”
Board makers have been using the same polyurethane foam and fiberglass for generations. While all other aspects of surf technology, from wetsuits to fins, have made big technological advances the basic foam material has remained stagnant.
Edision questioned not only surf technology but advances in all sport.
“Everything from golf clubs to bike wheels have gone under a redesign and rethinking, yet somehow we missed surfboard foam”
Shapers the length and breadth of the USA and beyond have been taking up and trialling the new core as have pro-surfers, although as yet none have used the new technology in a WSL comp.
Kelly Slater and Stephanie Gilmore are two of the big names that are testing the product. These two line up alongside the UK’s ice water specialist Ian Battrick, we spoke to Ian to get his opinion on the technology and how significant it really is to the industry:
It is faster, lighter, stronger, more lively and definitely worth getting your hands on
“I’ve been riding the Varial Foam on Jeff Doc Lauschs Surf RX surfboards for two years now… in everything – warm water and cold water – it is faster, lighter, stronger, more lively and definitely worth getting your hands on. The second you ride it you really notice the speed difference and I love the way it feels for the barrel more over normal foam.”
“The world’s first high performance foam adapted from advanced aerospace materials, straight into your board. I would recommend going an 1/8″ or so thinner to compensate a little for the float and ride of the Varial Foam compared to standard foam.”
Downsides? There has to be some and unfortunately a finished Varial Foam board will cost you around 30% more than a standard board. But if manufacturer claims hold any substance, which we have little doubt they do, then this really could be a ride for life.
Check out Varial by heading over to their site