The today’s surfboard shapers are doing their best in an attempt to produce the lightest board without loss of stiffness and with enough flexibility. The best foam materials and carbon fiber are still used to make a surfboard weigh less.
But when it comes to flex, the best surfboard makers deal with stringers. These wooden curved cords go through the board and act as springs.
According to the form of stringers, their position towards the rail, and the layer of exposed materials on them, some stringers may increase the strength and stiffness of the surfboard, while others give the surfboard more controlled buoyancy and flex.
But still, there is one more point these features of stringers are dependent on – the type of wood the stringer is made of.
There are different types of wood stringers can be made of, such as balsa, birch, basswood, red cedar, plywood, redwood, and spruce.
What material for stringers gives better ratios of rigidity and buoyancy or the best flexibility and effective life? What features are the most desirable for shapers, surfers and you?
If you choose the maximum buoyancy, you can’t but agree that balsa is the best variant for stringers.
According to the data of density degrees suggested by WaveEquation.com, this best timber is 16% water’s density making it half lighter than other woods.
Though don’t forget about the prior purpose of the surfboard: it should be maneuverable in the water and stable on the wave. So, you’d better bank on flex or stiffness relatively.
Flexibility gives a quicker corner exit and ease of energy for further shapes. However, excessive flex can result in fracturing of the surfboard, and on the contrary, the more stiffness of the board, the more its lifespan but less flex.
In mathematical terms, flexibility and stiffness provided by stringers are in inverse proportion to each other.
How to walk a fine line between them? It is the matter the best surfboard shapers have been dealing with for the last 20 years.
So, you should choose the best material for stringers with a bit higher density to water than balsa has, and the higher stiffness relatively. Red cedar complies with all these requirements perfectly (with density at .31 relative to water)
You are not alone in striving to find the best surfboard stringers.
Thus, WaveEquation.com has made its own scale which helps to choose the best features for your future surfboard. Here, all types of wood are arranged in the best way to show the dependence of two figures.
That is the point where the art of surfboard design and surfing are intersected!