I had the opportunity to ride one of these boards(been surfing for 50 years)and I was absolutely stunned at the performance , lightweight(I weigh well over 200) and durability. One of the real breakthroughs in surfing in my lifetime.
An additional note is that a day after my test ride, I saw a young pro surfer on a Firewire and he was amazing. I mentioned my new found appreciation and that it was obvious I couldn't put the board through the paces that he did. His observation was along my same lines of incredibliy light weight, very flexible and this weight allowed him to do many of the advanced maneuvers.
Not sure that at my age it will make a difference in my ability, however, the board design may very well extend my surfing life in terms of years...
You raise a good point, Ivan. No matter how skilled the surfer, most customers don't have the inherent engineering know-how to recognize if a change might impact the performance or overall stability of the board. That's why ShapeLogic and Firewire designed the system so that only certain parameters can be modified--length, nose, tail width, and thickness. In that way, users can get a custom board that fits their needs without degrading the original design.
First of all, amazing technology... this truly brings surfing technology into the 21st century, and on a personal level.
Like the purists would tell you that Surfline is a demon seed infecting the surf world, the detractors from modern technology would cast dispersions on such amazing advances as the inspiring work by Mr. Pettibone and Firewire. Face it, we all have computers and are familiar with ordering all kinds of things from Amazon, etc. Why not a customized surfboard... and with the controls available it is irresistable.... Brilliant.
Hopefully this is the first of many such breakthroughs in (real) customization available to the end user.
My first thought on this is that the customers might not be as knowledgeable on the exact shapes and design and how it performs in the waves. On the other hand anyone sophisticated enough to know the differences probably does have a pretty good idea of what happens when you change the shape of the board.
I would think a design guide and some instructions on what happens to the board's handling in the waves might be useful. for example by making the edges sharper does the board respond faster and with more bite in sharp turns? By moving the width section back so as to create a fatter tail does the board turn faster? If one drops the tail so as to have a flatter bottom in the tail does that make the board faster on flat wave faces?
It seems to me an expert guide with some notes and recommendations might be useful for the experienced surfers to work with when they are designing a custom board.
A very interesting propostion though, as a former surfer I would have loved to have this back in the day... :-)
In his keynote address at the RAPID 2015 conference last week, Made In Space CTO Jason Dunn gave an update on how far his company and co-development partner NASA have come in their quest to bring 3D printing to the space station -- and beyond.
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