The short answer is, the kind of flex that makes snowboards work is the same kind - and only kind - of flex that makes variable surfboard rocker work.
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; ideally, to remain tangential to the surface of the snow. This is different than other flexible objects like a recurve bow or a leaf spring which flex for the purpose of storing and releasing mechanical energy. As such, their flexibility range, patterns, and snap back are very different than those of snowboards. While snowboard flex also has a degree of energy management which affects aspects such as ride feel and optimal 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 entire length of the snowboard’s effective edge, from entry to exit contact points, are traveling along the snow on the exact same path, and that's only 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 result in variable-rocker. 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.
In summary, snowboard-flex means variable-rocker. Variable-rocker enables a surfboard to be designed flat for easy speed and flex to increase rocker whike turning, without plowing.
Moda Core blanks deliver variable-rocker because we combine snowboard technology with soft surfboard materials. 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 or Instagram.
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