Say Hello to Moda Core

by Brenton Woo May 31, 2017

Variable surfboard rocker starts with Moda Core, a soft PE blank that uses snowboard technology internally to flex. Now with Moda Core, any shaper can build surfboards that are flat for easy speed and flex for rocker when you turn, without plowing.

Conventional surfboards have fixed rockers that trade-off speed and maneuverability precisely because they're fixed. Variable rocker eliminates this trade-off.

Fun Because Flex!



How do I get my shaper to make me a surfboard from Moda Core?

Have them contact us at and we'll make things happen!

Can I shape a surfboard from Moda Core myself?

Yes! In fact, we're hosting a DIY Soft Surfboard Workshop at MakerPlace in San Diego at 9am on June 10, 2017. We'll guide you through designing and shaping your own Moda Core by discussing how variable rocker affects surfboard design, and sharing what's worked for us and what hasn't.

When you're done shaping, your Moda Core will be thermally laminated with deck/rail skins and a base slick by Custom X in Oceanside, the leading bodyboard manufacturer.

Wait, no fiberglass?

Correct. Conventional surfboards get their strength and waterproofing from their external fiberglass shell. Moda-based surfboards don't need either of those. Our extruded PE foam is closed-cell and doesn't react to water exposure. It's thermally laminated with PE skins and a bottom slick for durability. Strength comes from Moda Core's internal wood core; the same one that controls flex for variable rocker.

Without the need to fiberglass, turnaround time is much faster and manufacturing costs are significantly lower.

How does shaping Moda Core compare to conventional PU or EPS blanks?

The first thing you'll notice is that PE is significantly less messy than traditional surfboard foam. Without having to deal with breathing masks, loud ventilation systems, and foam dust getting everywhere, Moda Core lets you focus on working your design.

When using manual tools, PE tends to be more forgiving than PU/EPS because of it's elasticity. Conventional surfboard foam is designed to be rigid and finish smooth, so even a slight shaping error can potentially ruin a board.

Lastly, because Moda Core is squared-up, it can be super fast to shape. With a PU blank, a fast shaper can take it to 90% on a CNC mill in 30 minutes and hand finish the last 10% in another 20. With the right manual tools, I've seen Moda Cores completely shaped easily in less than 10 minutes.

How do I sign up for this workshop?

Right here.

Moda Core is 60" long, am I too big/heavy?

Not with the right shape. In terms of buoyancy, guys up to 200 pounds easily surf Moda-based boards in our testing. A key factor in buoyancy is displacement, and length is just one of the three dimensions relevant to that. Design your board with more general width and thickness to increase displacement, keeping in mind that the skins/slick (of the thermal lamination) will add +.25" to final dimensions. Lastly, PE construction is generally more buoyant than conventional PU/EPS because both the blank and skins/slick float, and they're not weighed down by a fiberglass shell. In other words, Moda-based surfboards float more with less displacement than conventional foam/fiberglass.

The other side of this question is of how much surfer weight the internal wood core can bear. If the surfer is too light for the core, then the board won't flex enough. If too heavy, then the board will plow and bog down. Designing the wood core to handle a broad weight range is a challenge, but in our tests, we've found that 60" Moda Cores can yield boards that flex and float properly for surfers up to 200 pounds.

And yes, we're working to increase weight ranges to 200+ pounds for future Moda Cores.

Moda Core is 60", why is that?

A short length helps you stand in the right place on the surfboard. When a Moda-based surfboard flexes, the water is pushing the board around your feet. This means standing in the right place is important for the board to flex properly, and for our internal wood core, that only happens if each foot is on either side of the core's widest point. You don't have to stand centered on the board, but a traditional on-tail stance doesn't work at all because that doesn't leave any board behind you for the water to push.

Moda Cores of 60"+ are certainly possible to build and would work properly provided the surfer stands in the right spot.

What's the difference between flex stiff/softness and flex pattern?

General flex, usually described by "stiffness" and "softness", is relative between two boards. Surfboard A is stiffer or softer compared to surfboard B.

Flex pattern is comparing stiffness and softness between parts of the same board. For example, a board's flex pattern may be having a center that's stiffer than the tail which is stiffer than the nose.

I've never shaped a surfboard. Is that a big deal for the workshop?

Not at all! What's more important than craftsmanship is having an open mind to new ideas because surfboard shapes that work for variable rocker are different than what works for conventional constructions.


We'll continue adding to this FAQ as questions roll in.

Brenton Woo
Brenton Woo


Variable rocker pioneer. Destroyer of burritos.