What Is Snowboard-Quality Flex?


by Brenton Woo April 21, 2016

This is our second most frequently received question, and an important one to answer because "snowboard-quality flex" may not be what surfers have in mind when they think of surfboard flex. Yet, we know that snowboard flex makes awesome surfboards. So let's set the record straight.

Let's start with what snowboard-quality flex means, how its purpose is different than that of other kinds of flex, and why Moda uses it specifically.

Snowboard-quality flex (from here on in just "flex") means the range of flexibility, the patterns of flexibility, and the snap back typical of snowboards. Generally, a snowboard flexes several inches during use, the sections outside your feet are softer than the section between your feet, and it immediately returns to its original shape when flex-inducing forces are relieved. And snowboards can be flexed repeatedly for years with relatively little degradation to flex characteristics.

With that definition in mind, it's useful to know that snowboards flex primarily for the purposes of shape shifting. This is different than that of other flexible objects like a recurve bow or a leaf spring which flex for the purpose of storing mechanical energy. As such, their flexibility range, patterns, and snap back are very different than that of snowboards. While snowboard flex also has a component of energy management which affects ride feel and rider weight range, it's ability to change the shape of the board is far more important.

When traveling flat, flex keeps the length of the snowboard tangential to the surface of the snow for efficient speed and to maximize contact area and time for control. When turning, flex enables the length of the snowboard to take the same shape as the arc of the turn, so as to change direction without snow deflection. This is also known as carving. The entry and exit contact points of the snowboard are following the exact same path, and that's made possible by flex.

So why does a Moda surfboard specifically use snowboard-quality flex?

The simple reason is because snowboard-flex is the only kind of flex that we've found to make surfboards more fun. We explored many other kinds of flex, but only the specific combination of snowboard flex characteristics improved surfboard performance. For an example of a kind of flex that doesn't work, consider a typical soft surfboard. Many soft surfboards have a decent range of flexibility, but without snowboard flex patterns or snap back, they tend to plow at the precise moments we need speed.

Moda surfboards deliver snowboard flex because we put snowboard technology directly inside our surfboards. Patent pending.

Snowboard-flex makes super fun surfboards; ones I prefer over conventional rigid surfboards. And if we know snowboard design principles work in surf, it excites me to know that the next surfing breakthrough can come from almost anywhere.

Questions or comments? Let's start the conversation at @modasurfboards on Twitter.




Brenton Woo
Brenton Woo

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Variable rocker pioneer. Destroyer of burritos.