Is there any real innovation out there?

12 years 11 months ago #6622 by Mike01
I recently bought a new surfski. After reading all the reviews & trailing a number of ski's I came to the conclusion that most of the current ski's are: 6ish meters long, 40ish cm wide & in the right hands they're bloody fast regardless of the manufacturers name on the side. So find one that fits your body, train a lot & that’s the one for you. But my question is: Have we found the optimum, size and shape of ski? (i.e. in 20 years time will be paddling things that look roughly the same.) Or are we perhaps missing something because everyone’s playing it safe at the expense of real innovation?

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

12 years 11 months ago - 12 years 11 months ago #6623 by Rightarmbad
I think that when it comes to drag, it's all known.
Where innovation may come is in the ski's behaviour in the waves.
Most designs start as a hull with a quite accurately 'predicted' amount of drag, and a 'suspected' behaviour, based on experience, in the bumps.

So I suppose there will be some progress towards predicting bump response, but that is a prickly problem to put into mathematics.

The only real way to know how it paddles is to make it.
Now that some of the companies are getting big enough to start justifying R & D costs, there may be more effort put into more prototypes and testing, dunno, don't really know the financial logistics of a surf ski company.

I don't think that there are any real surprises to be found, just incremental increases in the speed/handling balance.

I think that the wonderful adaptability of the human animal, will make most reasonable designs workable.
What will be found is what 'does not' work, as there are more designs that are dud than brilliant.

The duds will guide the progress just as much as the brilliant designs, as knowing what does not work is just as important than finding what does.

I think that fit-out will certainly improve though, as brands try and tout a better product.

As the market grows, it may also allow for a larger range of sizing in boats so everybody gets to ride something that is trimmed for them.

In regards to hull length and cross section, we really are mucking around with details, searching for the finer points in handling speed balance, and that is all the progress that can be expected, a fine amount.

Maybe there will be different models for different areas as the general swell is different around the world?
But don't hold your breath.

How about this for a future.
You log onto a website, set your preferred design by choosing various, widths, lengths, profiles, etc, and a 3D robotic machine then weaves your design and infuses it.
Most will choose from a library of already successful designs, some adventurous sorts will risk trying their own.
You could choose the cockpit shape of your liking as well as layup and fit-out.
Everybody is happy then, except for the fool that thought that, 'original design' was easy, and they made a dud instead of a rocket.....

I personally don't think that length is anywhere near totally sorted yet.
Nor the respective volumes front and rear.
There is also some strength gains to be made as manufacturers get to know the composites they work with and the real stresses in the field.

I also think that there is more research to be done in regards to the windage profile a ski presents to a cross wind, as well as the general behaviour of the boat in these conditions, as this is where most people sort out whether a ski is really for them or not.

I think that by the next model of boats, leash attachment points will be universal and the truly bad cockpits all disappeared.

Looking back at the previous 5 years, the big gains have been in stability for mid packers.
A Fenn millenium was, and still is, a fast hull, but who could drive it?

So to sum it up for me, the future will hold boats that are just as fast as current, but easier for grandma to drive.
Plus a few that are just as hard to drive ones, that are a little tiny bit faster for the pros.

Follow the path of the independent thinker. Expose your ideas to the dangers of controversy. Speak your mind and fear less the label of 'crackpot' than the stigma of conformity. And on issues that are important to you, stand up and be counted at any cost.--- Thomas J. Watson
Last edit: 12 years 11 months ago by Rightarmbad. Reason: spelling and added stuff

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

Latest Forum Topics