Before we start today. Today is a very special day in my life, a milestone. I turn 65 today! You know old guys really do RULE!!!!
So about three months ago I was going through some old surfboard price lists. I saw something that I was not completely aware of? The two terms, a solid wood center string and a inlay center shown as stock options for new surfboards. I knew that 99% of the popouts had inlayed stringers. What I didn’t know that inlay stringers were surf technology of the sixties. You might say a short cut in manufacturing the surfboard. Coaching point: we are talking about center stringers not curved outer stringers and or figure eight designs they were all inlayed!
The foam companies sold the foam blank. No stringers were in the blanks as in today’s blanks. The surfboard manufacturers had to cut and glue stringers into the blanks. This required the manufacturer select kiln dried wood (for no moisture and natural oil in wood), cutting the strips of wood, possibly laminating as in T bands (T Band=Redwood-Balsa-Redwood or reverse T Band= Balsa-Redwood-balsa), Cutting the blanks and re-laminating blank and or stringer or stringers (side stringers). This took additional time in the manufacturing cycles. Now the companies that in layed the stringer simply routed out a 1/4 depth grove and glued the 1/4 strip of wood into the deck of the board and the bottom of the board. Lots of pop outs simply colored the bottom and didn’t waste the time to inlay the botton to trick you! The purpose of the stringer was for strength. To take the flex out of the board to keep it from snapping in half. Big waves were still no match for this technology. Big Gun surfboards snapped a lot! Obviously the inlayed stringers boards were not as strong. Pop out manufacturers didn’t care, they saw themselves as a entry level product. Besides if the board snapped in half you would have to buy another one! While the major surfboard manufacturers were more concerned about quality control. I also believe that they thought their, the major manfacturers, products were going to be challenged on bigger and better waves. Money was the main thought for the Pop Out manufacturers rather than quality control or durability.
If you do not have a pop out, how are your going to know if the stringer is solid. First, you could find an old price list and see what it says, solid or inlayed. Or you could cut the board in half? Not so fast, my friend Tom Craig used to cut beater boards up for labels and make a display in his backyard. He would seal ends and just show deck with logo. Oh yes, he found many manufacturers who said the stringer was solid wood and instead inlay. as you can see, inlays cut some production time out of the price of the surfboard! Probably not such a good idea if you only have one of that board to cut it in half.
No right or wrong answer here. I was supprized to find a lot of companies inlayed center stringers just to increase production volume. Remember demand was high. Most custom boards were what they said they were. But I am sure you have a comment and or story? Always remember a picture with your reply is worth a 1000 words.
Keep Surfing daCoach