How Does Flex Make A Surfboard Better?


March 24, 2016

Now that Moda has demonstrated surfboards that flex like snowboards, I'm frequently asked, how does flex make a surfboard better? Though the question is straightforward, the relevant answer depends on who's asking. Because there are so many different ways people like to surf, what people want from their surfboards is equally as diverse, and we've learned that flex affects the most fundamental level of surfboard design, materials, and performance. And since surfboard flex is so new, some benefits were unforeseen; It's reasonable that the full benefits of flex have yet to emerge. With that in mind, I'd like to share three ways how flex makes surfboards better today.

For experienced surfers, Moda flex means the speed of a fish and the turning of a shortboard, all in one surfboard.

For casual surfers, Moda flex means user-friendly surfboards that actually surf well.

For all surfers, Moda flex means less working the board and more surfing the wave.

What compelled me to explore surfboard flex in the first place was to answer the question, how could surfboards have both flat and rocker? Surfers know that a surfboard's profile shape, typically its lengthwise upwards curvature, affects that board's speed and maneuverability more than any other single design aspect. The rub is that speed and maneuverability are trade-offs; as profile shapes increase one, they directly decrease the other. A flat profile, like in an alaia, is fast but compromises maneuverability; a rocker profile, like in a shortboard, benefits turning but sacrifices speed. The insight was realizing that this trade-off exists only because surfboards have fixed profile shapes since conventional surfboards are rigid. A way to achieve non-fixed shapes in order to eliminate this trade-off is flex and guess what? It works!

Because of flex, Moda surfboards are flat for speed when you need speed and flex to have rocker when you turn. Having both maximum speed and maneuverability is something experienced surfers can appreciate immediately.

But as it turns out, the best way to make surfboards flex also makes them safe and durable because soft construction. We build the exterior of Moda surfboards from the same materials common to top-level bodyboards because their softness doesn't counter the flex behavior of our internal core. This means Moda surfboards have the performance advantages of flex and the user-friendly benefits of soft construction. For casual surfers, Moda flex means user-friendly surfboards that actually shred.

Field testing Moda surfboards revealed the most interesting and unforeseen way flex makes surfboards better: it lets you focus less on working the board and more on actually surfing the wave. Because flex means Moda surfboards are constantly adjusting themselves to best fit how you want to surf, they require less input just to go. If you trust the flex, it rewards you with effortless speed and progressive turning; pumping doesn't add speed and rocker automatically increases in proportion to cornering forces. The result is that you're free to focus on surfing the wave rather than working the board. This flex benefit is one that needs to be experienced to fully understand, but it's easy to comprehend how it can help all surfers.

As a surfer myself, flex is the most exciting advancement in surfboards today. It's just a very different experience than conventional surfboards; one that I prefer and am excited to share with everyone. If you have questions or comments, I'm happy to open a discussion on Twitter at @modasurfboards.

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