December 8, 2022

The Board Shaper and Designer Jack Wilson Presents His Concept of Surfboard Stringer Construction

Jack Wilson about Parabolic Stringers

For the last ten years, Jack Wilson has been doing his job—designing surfboards. And the results of his work have exited genuine interest.

His original approach to stringer construction appealed to Firewire surfboards and led to a fruitful collaboration.

These days, Jack Wilson has directed all his energy into the development of his own project, Sunova Surfboards that involves a new approach to the construction of stringers.

He still remains committed to the basic requirements, such as stiffness of stringers and their reliable construction, but is not afraid to try things out as well.

Our journalist, Noah Lee, had a talk with Jack and questioned him closely about his stringer construction theory and his passion for surfboard construction as a whole.

Noah Lee: Jack Wilson, through the years you’ve formed a unique concept and your own philosophy of surfboard construction. Would you fill us in on the details of your story?

Jack Wilson: To begin with, my concept is built upon fundamental aspects of surfboard manufacture—construction and design.


At a certain point, I’ve come to the conclusion that I was bogged down and had stopped making progress with the construction of my standard PU surfboards. The overall construction contributed to the performance.

With such an approach to construction, I didn’t get much chance to experiment, as I had to sacrifice either design or functional quality.

My PU surfboards were demonstrating high riding qualities. But their durability characteristics were low since 12 weeks was a board lifetime limit.

In pursuit of excellent performance, I chose the lightest material available for stringers compromising the endurance capability.

NL: Was it then that it crossed your mind to look for some new materials for stringer construction?

JW: You’re right. Just at that time, I stumbled upon an idea of complex solutions for better construction. By dint of hard work, we’ve finally achieved composite success.

Our new surfboards endured longer and showed better results than any other board available at the time.

We understood that it was possible to modify the stringer construction and new materials allowed us to play around with shapes during the very process of this construction. So we began to work out in this direction.


I’ve realized that the surfboard configuration had to slightly be reshaped for the purpose of preserving the construction sense of a standard surfboard. If we patterned upon the stringer shape entirely, the feeling of the board would change, and not to the good.

For that reason, we began experimenting with different forms of construction seeking the best curves and manufacturing technology.

With the composite approach, our construction techniques opened the way for the use of new components for stringers. They could be applied in various ways and ranging quantities totally transforming the final product.

It was made clear that the way of construction and materials utilized had a direct impact on surfboard design.

Different materials acted and curved in various manners. That is why we attempted to capture the potentially favorable blend of elements and presented as best design as we could.

However, we were on the slippery ground as our general construction habit took on a different turn.

NL: You’re known for paying particular attention to such surfboard characteristics as the parabolic stringer. Why do you consider that element so significant?


JW: Three pillars we lean on construction are projection, firmness, and effectiveness.  The stringer is the uncanny fourth element.

It is your stringer that helps your surfboard get back to its basic position in case of flexion. In addition, it conveys the applied force of a rider along the full length of the board.

It is quite an unusual feeling performing construction on a PU stringerless surfboard. It feels kind of dull and sluggish.

I remember the time when conventional surfboard construction involved no stringers. However, the majority of surfers agreed that stringers would make a board stronger.

Practice proved them wrong. Without stringers, a surfboard could flex better and endured higher action force.

But stringers had the capacity to improve performance. Though old-school stringerless surfboards didn’t snap, they didn’t work either.

The key aspect that could harden a surfboard construction and make it flop back faster was missing. There came the stringer.

NL: If we talk about a turn, what part is assigned to a stringer in this maneuver?

JW: If we’re pushed aside from the stringer, we’re forced to confide in materials, although they may not convey energy as fast or effectively.

The stringer transfers the forces over the total length of a surfboard, except for the rails. It means that the more efforts we make to surf off the rails, the more force has to be applied.

In other words, if we ride the surfboard hard on the rail and the stringer comes up out of the water then we need to reckon on construction materials, which will drive us into the turn.

Making a turn, a surfer must keep in mind both a stringer construction line and a rail line.

The rail of a standard surfboard is more flexible and bends intensively compared to the stringer.

Think of a flat bottom square tail performing a bottom turn. The undersea rail line will dive, twist, and make a twirl off one side.

Taking into account the fact that surfboards have become thinner, more airy and pliant, the question of distinct concavity came up for more applicable construction. This is supplemented by pliancy.

That’s why, when making a turning motion, the surfboard bottom is placed in a more advantageous position.


If a stringer is moved to the rail line, the rail becomes stiff and hard. That offers a great testing ground for stringer flexibility along the whole surfboard length.

As a surfer performs a tight turn, diving the rail deeper and curving it harder, then it’s time for a stringer to come into action. By jostling off the submerged rail, you can feel as your surfboard wants to send and guide you into the next turn.

It helps the board to react instantly, that’s why even the tight turns can be saved for the last moment. Though it may be difficult for the first little while, eventually you gain the necessary experience.

Remember the rule: wait till the last second, then apply all your energy.

The more effort you put in, the more it pays back. Even if you put all 100% in, it will give you 120% back anyway.

Key takeaways

Investing his time and efforts for tinkering with various aspects of surfboard stringer construction, Jack has finally succeeded. He’s come to the new construction insight, which demanded a new form that would keep a natural PU surfboard performance.

It is an open secret that experimentation with endurance capability, performance characteristics and costs of stringers is the right path for the development of surfboard construction.