Going Bigger

October 04, 2016

We receive many questions about Moda surfboards for bigger surfers. Our current model handles up to 160 pounds. They ask, when will boards for heavier weight ranges be available?

Believe me, we're working on it.

To better understand the challenges, we should start by asking, why is there a weight limit in the first place? The limit is less about buoyancy (extruded foam floats 10-15% better than typically beaded surfboard foam) and more about how much weight our internal wood core can handle while still delivering the right flexibility, flex pattern, and snap back. Under normal weight, the core flexes to keep the board tangential to the surface of the water, flexes for rocker during turns, and instantly pops back to flat as cornering forces decrease. In other words, flex means variable rocker. If the surfer is too heavy, the extra weight causes the core to over-flex and the board will tend to plow, particularly on slow or mushy sections of a wave.

In cases like this, when a surfboard is too small for the surfer, we normally fix it by increasing board length, width, and/or thickness. Unfortunately, that approach doesn't work with surfboards that flex because we've found that changing a board's dimensions completely changes its flex behavior. We've tested 5'6" and 6' versions of our 4'10" model, and they flex very differently because flex doesn't scale directly with size.

Put another way, what we need to do to make flex work for bigger surfers is different than what we do to make flex work in our current model.

The good news is that we have a lot of ideas on how to make Moda surfboards work for bigger surfers, and we're currently testing those ideas. I hope to have a solution nailed as soon as we can, so more surfers can experience flex for themselves.

In the meantime, I'm definitely encouraged by how much interest we're seeing for bigger Moda surfboard models. This means a lot of people understand how flex for variable rocker works, and that's a big part of my challenge. Rigid foam and fiberglass surfboard construction has been standard for longer than many of us have been alive. A lot of people simply don't want to hear about anything new, especially coming from a startup.

Please ask more questions and feel free to continue the conversation with me at @modasurfboards on Twitter. Thanks!

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