Surfing the waves, 3D Printing and Internet of Things (VIDEO)

A presentation by Professor Marc in het Panhuis, University of Wollongong, Australia.

The Surf Flex Laboratory at the University is a dedicated facility for mechanical testing of surfing equipment, e.g. fins, surfboards, cloths, inlays, leash bars, and leashes to name but a few. 

They test the following

  • tensile, torsional and compressive flex behaviour
  • dampening behaviour using frequency analysis
  • dynamic response using modal analysis aka “fingerprinting”
  • Impact and fatigue testing.

Do you have a challenge or need reliable data for your any of your surfing products such as surfboards, fins, fin-boxes, leashes, laboratory/ocean testing, performance data?

Additive Manufacturing (3D printing) is a viable approach to rapidly prototype personalised fins for surfboards. Surfing is an iconic sport that is extremely popular in coastal regions around the world. We use computer aided design and 3D printing of a wide range of composite materials to print fins for surfboards, e.g. ABS, carbon fibre, fibre glass
and amorphous thermoplastic poly(etherimide) resins. The mechanical characteristics of our 3D printed fins were found to be comparable to commercial fins. Computational fluid dynamics was employed to calculate longitudinal (drag) and tangential (turning) forces, which are important for surfboard maneuverability, stability and speed. A commercial tracking system was used to evaluate the performance of 3D printed fins under real-world conditions (i.e. surfing waves).
These data showed that the surfing performance of surfboards with 3D printed fins is similar to that of surfboards with commercial fins.

Find out more about the engineering and surfing.

The first Surf Engineering Association Annual Surf Science Symposium took place 9 December, 2019 on Oahu’s North Shore. We had all aspects of surfing in attendance, from industry leaders to beginner surfers to people who love to learn new things!

Although our gathering was small, the strategic location attracted worldwide industry leaders, professional surfers, and backyard shapers. We had more questions than we could answer, which tells us we just might be onto something. We are already looking forward to next year’s symposium! Special thanks to our chairman, Jonah Swanson, for your awesome introductions for each speaker and for keeping the flow of the meeting going!

Please see the link to view our 4 presentations and panel discussion.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *