Title:
Surfboard and method of manufacturing
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A surfboard includes a core covered with a laminate and having perforations where the user places his feet, in order to prevent air blisters from forming between the core and laminate. The core is formed from an extruded closed-cell polystyrene foam block which has been shaped by restraining it against a shaped form using shaped restraining tools and straps, and heating it; and by cutting using a hot wire. The core is laminated with FIBERGLAS® and epoxy resin, and the perforations are formed using a perforating tool that has a planar or curved working surface and one or more heated needles extending perpendicularly from the working surface.



Inventors:
Huarcaya-pro, Javier (Carlsbad, CA, US)
Application Number:
10/970777
Publication Date:
03/24/2005
Filing Date:
10/21/2004
Assignee:
HUARCAYA-PRO JAVIER
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B26F1/24; B26F1/32; B29C53/04; B29C63/00; B29C70/54; B32B3/24; B32B5/18; B32B5/28; B32B17/04; B32B27/04; B32B27/38; B63B35/79; B29C53/84; (IPC1-7): B63B35/79
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
GOODMAN, CHARLES
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Eastman McCartney Dallmann LLP (San Diego, CA, US)
Claims:
1. A method of manufacturing a surfboard, comprising the steps of: providing a core covered by a laminate; and forming at least one perforation in said laminate.

2. A method of manufacturing as in claim 1, wherein: said step of forming at least one perforation in said laminate, comprises the steps of providing a perforating tool having a working surface and at least one needle extending from said working surface at an angle substantially perpendicular to said working surface at the point where said at least one needle intersects said working surface; manipulating said perforating tool such that said at least one needle is translated substantially in the direction that said at least one needle points, such that said at least one needle penetrates said laminate; and manipulating said perforating tool such that said at least one needle is translated substantially opposite the direction that said at least one needle points, such that said at least one needle is withdrawn from said laminate.

3. A method of manufacturing as in claim 2, wherein: said at least one needle is heated.

4. A method of manufacturing as in claim 2, wherein: said working surface is substantially planar.

5. A method of manufacturing as in claim 1, wherein: said step of forming at least one perforation in said laminate, comprises the steps of providing a perforating tool having a working surface curved in at least one dimension, and at least one needle extending from said working surface at an angle substantially perpendicular to said working surface at the point where said at least one needle intersects said working surface; rolling said working surface along said laminate such that each said at least one needle successively penetrates and is then withdrawn from said laminate.

6. A method of manufacturing as in claim 5, wherein: said at least one needle is heated.

7. A method of manufacturing as in claim 1, wherein: said step of forming at least one perforation in said laminate, comprises the steps of providing a perforating tool having a working surface having substantially the shape of an arc of a circle in at least one dimension, and at least one needle extending from said working surface at an angle substantially perpendicular to said working surface at the point where said at least one needle intersects said working surface; rolling said working surface along said laminate such that each said at least one needle successively penetrates and is then withdrawn from said laminate.

8. A method of manufacturing as in claim 7, wherein: said at least one needle is heated.

9. A method of manufacturing as in claim 1, wherein: said step of providing a core covered by a laminate, comprises the steps of: extruding closed-cell foam into a blank; shaping said blank into a core; and covering said core with a laminate.

10. A method of manufacturing as in claim 9, wherein: said step of covering said core with a laminate, comprises the steps of covering said core with FIBERGLAS®; and covering said core with epoxy resin.

11. A method of perforating a laminate, comprising the steps of: providing a laminate; providing a perforating tool having at least one needle; and manipulating said perforating tool such that said at least one needle perforates said laminate.

12. A method as in claim 11, wherein: said at least one needle is heated.

13. A method as in claim 11, wherein: said step of providing a perforating tool having at least one needle, comprises the step of providing a perforating tool having a working surface and at least one needle extending from said working surface at an angle substantially perpendicular to said working surface at the point where said at least one needle intersects said working surface.

14. A method as in claim 11, wherein: said step of manipulating said perforating tool such that said at least one needle perforates said laminate, comprises the steps of manipulating said perforating tool such that said at least one needle is translated in the direction that said at least one needle points, such that said at least one needle perforates said laminate; and manipulating said perforating tool such that said at least one needle is translated opposite the direction that said at least one needle points, such that said at least one needle is withdrawn from said laminate.

15. A method as in claim 11, wherein: said step of forming at least one perforation in said laminate, comprises the steps of: providing a perforating tool having a working surface having substantially the shape of an arc of a circle in at least one dimension, and at least one needle extending from said working surface at an angle substantially perpendicular to said working surface at the point where said at least one needle intersects said working surface; rolling said working surface along said laminate such that each said at least one needle successively penetrates and is then withdrawn from said laminate.

16. A perforating tool, comprising: a perforating tool body having a working surface; and at least one needle extending from said working surface.

17. A perforating tool as in claim 16, wherein: said working surface is substantially planar.

18. A perforating tool as in claim 16, wherein: said working surface is substantially curved in at least one dimension of said working surface.

19. A perforating tool as in claim 16, wherein: said working surface substantially has the shape of an arc of a circle in at least one dimension of said working surface.

20. A perforating tool as in claim 16, wherein: each said at least one needle is substantially parallel to each other said at least one needle.

21. A perforating tool as in claim 16, wherein: each said at least one needle is substantially at an angle to each other said at least one needle.

22. A perforating tool as in claim 16, wherein: said at least one needle is substantially perpendicular to said working surface at the point where said at least one needle extends from said working surface.

23. A perforating tool as in claim 16, wherein: said at least one needle can be heated.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application is a divisional of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/403627, filed Mar. 28, 2003, and currently co-pending.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to water sports equipment. The present invention relates more particularly, though not exclusively, to a water sports board made of laminated closed-cell foam with perforation vents in the laminate for preventing deformations of the surface of the board. The present invention is useful for surfboards, sailboards, wave skis and other applications requiring buoyant, rigid, and durable boards.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Many water sports boards and craft (e.g., surfboards, sailboards, wave skis, etc.) are made of expanded open-cell rigid polymer foam. Where the discussion herein refers to a surfboard or “board”, it applies to surfboards, sailboards, body boards, wave skis, and other types of water sports boards and craft as well. To make a board of open-cell foam, a “molded method” is often used. Specifically, in using the molded method, a mold of the board is filled with liquid foam, which expands to fill the mold. The foam is then allowed to harden in the mold until it is rigid. The rigid foam is made of air cells that are open to each other. The cells at the surface of the rigid foam are also open to the atmosphere. Another method of board formation is the traditional hand-shaping method wherein the board is cut, or shaped, from a block of expanded foam.

A problem with open-cell foam is that it absorbs water. To minimize this absorption of water, the open-cell foam is often coated with a water-proofing material, such as FIBERGLAS® and epoxy resin, to seal the board and make the board more durable.

Unfortunately, even though covered with a water-proofing material, in the event the board is bumped or the water-proofing materials are breached, the board absorbs water through that breach. When the open-cell foam has absorbed water, the open-cell foam is much heavier than when it is dry. A board made with open-cell foam that has absorbed water is significantly more difficult to use because of its increased weight and decreased buoyancy. Furthermore, a board that has absorbed water must be dried out before it is stored, in order to avoid deterioration of the board.

In light of the above, it would be advantageous to make a board having similar buoyancy, rigidity, and durability characteristics of a board made from open-cell foam, yet does not absorb water into the foam material if the water-proofing material is breached.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The advantages of open-cell foam can be obtained, and its disadvantages avoided, by using a closed-cell foam in its place. Closed-cell foam is extruded, and then formed into the shape of a board by hand shaping by a professional board shaper, or by using CNC machining into the desired board shape, instead of expansion into a mold as is the process used with open-cell foam. In a preferred embodiment, closed-cell foam may be made of polystyrene. An advantage of closed-cell foam is that it does not substantially absorb water. A board made of closed-cell foam does not become substantially heavier due to water absorption, and retains its physical properties, including buoyancy and ease of use for water sports and other purposes. Closed-cell foam also dries out much more quickly than open-cell foam, without yellowing or damage areas.

The present invention includes a surfboard made of laminated closed-cell foam. The laminate is perforated at places where pressure is likely to be applied to the surface of the board (e.g., where a user is likely to stand), such that air, or gas, can escape from between the laminate and foam. This avoids the formation of air blisters, thus overcoming a disadvantage to the use of laminated closed-cell foam.

Closed-cell foam extruded into a rough board shape may be referred to as a “blank” or “block”. The blank may be heated, pressed and cut into a desired shape. The shaped blank may be laminated with water-proofing materials, such as FIBERGLAS® and epoxy resins, to make the board more durable.

To make a board of the present invention, a blank is treated with heat and pressure to shape it, if desired, and to anneal the surface (close any open cells). The board is shaped by placing the blank against a shaped form, pressing the blank against the form by use of tension devices (e.g., restraining tools and straps), heating the blank using heated water vapor, then cooling it until it holds its new shape. The heated and pressed blank may be further shaped by cutting it with a hot wire. The cut and shaped blank or “core” is laminated with FIBERGLAS® and epoxy resin. Once laminated, the laminate is perforated in multiple locations using a tool that has a substantially planar or curved surface with multiple perforation needles extending therefrom. The perforations are formed by pressing or rolling the needled surface of the tool against the laminate thereby penetrating the laminate. The board may have one or more optional fins.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The novel features of this invention, as well as the invention itself, both as to its structure and its operation, will be best understood from the accompanying drawings, taken in conjunction with the accompanying description, in which similar reference characters refer to similar parts, and in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the Improved Surfboard And Method Of Manufacturing of the present invention, showing a finished board;

FIG. 2A is a side view of the Improved Surfboard And Method Of Manufacturing of the present invention, showing how a blank is curved by restraining it against a form with restraining tools and straps, and subjected to a heat source;

FIG. 2B is an exploded side view of the Improved Surfboard And Method Of Manufacturing of the present invention, showing how multiple blanks are simultaneously curved by stacking them vertically, separated by a flexible metal heat-conducting sheet, and restraining the stack against a form with restraining tools and straps, and subjecting the stack to a heat source;

FIG. 2C is a side view of the Improved Surfboard And Method Of Manufacturing of the present invention, showing how multiple blanks are simultaneously curved by stacking them vertically, separated by a metal flexible heat-conducting sheet, and restraining the stack against a form with restraining tools and straps, and subjecting the stack to a heat source;

FIG. 3 is a top view of the Improved Surfboard And Method Of Manufacturing of the present invention, showing how the blank is cut into a surfboard shape using a hot wire;

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the Improved Surfboard And Method Of Manufacturing of the present invention, showing a cut-away view of the interior of the board and showing how blisters are formed in the surface of the board without perforations formed in the laminate;

FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional view of the Improved Surfboard And Method Of Manufacturing of the present invention, taken across line 5-5 of FIG. 4, showing an air, or gas, blister;

FIG. 6 is a top view of the Improved Surfboard And Method Of Manufacturing of the present invention, showing how perforations formed in the laminate by a perforation tool, prevent formation of blisters by allowing any air or gas to escape through the perforation;

FIG. 7 is a top view of the Improved Surfboard And Method Of Manufacturing of the present invention, showing a pattern of perforations in the surface of a short board;

FIG. 8 is a top view of the Improved Surfboard And Method Of Manufacturing of the present invention, showing a pattern of perforations in the surface of a long board;

FIG. 9 is a side view of the Improved Surfboard And Method Of Manufacturing of the present invention, showing a perforating tool having a substantially planar working surface, and a number of perforating needles extending perpendicularly from the planar working surface;

FIG. 10 is a side view of the Improved Surfboard And Method Of Manufacturing of the present invention, showing a perforating tool having a curved working surface and a number of perforating needles extending perpendicularly from the curved working surface;

FIG. 11 is a side view of the Improved Surfboard And Method Of Manufacturing of the present invention, showing a cross-section of a board with a curved perforating tool perforating the laminate of the board; and

FIG. 12 is a flow chart representing an exemplary process of the present invention for manufacturing the Improved Surfboard of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF A PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

A preferred embodiment of the Improved Surfboard And Method Of Manufacturing of the present invention is shown in FIG. 1 and is generally designated 100. Board 100 has a foam core 110 (shown in FIG. 4), a laminate 120 covering core 110 having a stringer 122, and is formed with a number of perforations 130 in laminate 120. Core 110 of board 100 is formed by shaping a “blank”. A blank is a substantially rectangular block of closed-cell foam.

Board 100 may have one or more optional fins 160. Board 100 shown in FIG. 1 is in the style of a short board. Perforations 130 are shown placed where a user would place his or her feet on board 100. Perforations 130 may alternatively be placed elsewhere on board 100.

Referring to FIG. 2A, an apparatus for shaping a blank is shown and generally designated 200. FIG. 2A shows a blank (or foam body or block) 210. Blank 210 may be made of closed-cell extruded polystyrene foam. Such a blank 210 is made by extruding closed-cell polystyrene foam into a foam body of the desired shape. Blank 210 may alternatively be made of other materials having strength similar to closed-cell foam.

FIG. 2 shows two positions for blank 210, an initial position 230 (shown in dashed lines) and a shaped position 240. FIG. 2 also shows a form (or form tool or mold) 250 having a shaped form surface 254. Shaped form surface 254 has a shape in which blank 210 is desired to be shaped. FIG. 2 also shows restraining tools 260 each having a restraining tool surface 264 corresponding to shaped form surface 254 in the manner in which blank 210 is desired to be shaped. Straps 270 extend from form 250 to tools 260 and are tightened to bring tools 260 toward form 250 to capture blank 210 between the tools 260 and the form 250.

Blank 210 may be shaped in the following manner. Blank 210 is initially placed in initial position 230 (shown in dashed lines) upon shaped form surface 254 of form 250. Restraining tool surface 264 of each restraining tool 260 is placed upon blank 210. Straps 270 are attached to restraining tools 260 and to form 250. Tension is applied to straps 270 such that each restraining tool surface 264 is pressed against blank 210, and blank 210 is pulled toward and pressed against shaped form surface 254 of tool 250. At the same time, heat may be applied to blank 210 from heat source 272.

The application of heat and tension to blank 210 causes blank 210 to be conformed to shaped form surface 254 of form 250 and to restraining tool surfaces 264. In a preferred embodiment, the heat provided by heat source 272 may not exceed 180 degrees Fahrenheit, and for an exposure period of less than 30 minutes. Outside temperature variations and humidity may affect the heat levels and duration applied to form the blank 210. Other heating periods and temperatures may be used, however, without departing from the present invention. Rather, the specific temperature and time periods are merely exemplary of a preferred embodiment, and no limitation is intended.

Once heated, blank 210 is then allowed to cool until it holds the shape of shaped form surface 254 of form 250 and restraining tool surfaces 264 in shaped position 240 without being pressed against shaped form surface 254 or restraining tool surfaces 264. Restraining tools 260 and straps 270 are then removed from blank 210, and blank 210 is removed from form 250. Form 250 and restraining tools 260 are made of one or more materials that can withstand pressure and heat required to shape blank 210. In a preferred embodiment, form 250 may be made from wood or metal, and restraining tools 260 may be made from wood or metal, however, other materials having suitable strength and resistance to moisture may be used.

While two tools 260 have been shown in FIG. 2A, it is to be appreciated that any number of tools may be used without departing from the present invention. Additionally, tool 260 may extend the length of form 250 such that a single tool 260 is used to capture the entire blank 210.

Referring now to FIG. 2B, an exploded side view of the Improved Surfboard And Method Of Manufacturing of the present invention is shown and generally designated 280. In apparatus 280, multiple blanks 210 that are substantially rectangular blocks, are vertically stacked together, separated by a flexible metal heat-conducting sheet 274. The stack of blanks 210 and sheets 274 are positioned over form 250.

Once in position, restraining straps 270 are attached to tools 260 and the straps 270 are tightened such that the stack of blanks 210 and sheets 274 are brought tightly against form 250. As the straps 270 are tightened, the blanks 210 and sheets 274 are deformed to match the curvature of tools surfaces 264 and form 250. When the blanks 210 are in the proper form against form 250, heat is supplied by heat source 272 for a predetermined period of time. At the end of that heating time period, the heat source is removed, and the straps are removed, yielding several blanks 210 having the curvature of curved surface 254 of form 250.

Flexible metal heat-conducting sheet 274, in a preferred embodiment, is made from aluminum, however, it is to be appreciated that other materials having similar flexibility and heat transfer characteristics may be used. The sheet 274 provides for separation between blanks 210 as well as conducts heat from heat source 272. The conduction of heat between blanks 210 is important because blanks 210, by their nature, are good heat insulators. By providing a heat conduction path between blanks 210 in the stacked configuration, each blank is exposed to sufficient heat across its entire surface during the heating period to provide for the formation of blank 210 into the curved form 240 (shown in FIG. 2A).

Referring now to FIG. 2C, a side view of the Improved Surfboard And Method Of Manufacturing of the present invention 280 is shown. This figure depicts the process by which multiple blanks 210 are simultaneously curved by stacking them vertically, separated by a metal flexible heat-conducting sheet 274, and restraining the stack against a form 250 with restraining tools 260 and straps 270. Once blanks 210 are in the proper position against curve 254 of form 250, the entire stack of blanks 210 and sheets 274 is subjecting to a heat from heat source 272, such as steam.

FIG. 3 shows a configuration for cutting blank 210 into a desired shape, generally designated 300. More specifically, FIG. 3 shows blank 210 with portions 310 cut away from blank 210 to shape a nose of a board of the present invention. In a preferred embodiment, cut 310 is formed by a hot wire (not shown in FIG. 3) that is known in the art. FIG. 3 shows cut 310 as being in a surfboard shape. Blank 210 may also be shaped by various methods including, without limitation, further heating, further pressing, further cutting,.sanding, grinding, smoothing, and other shaping techniques known in the art. After blank 210 has been finally shaped, it may be referred to as a core 110 as discussed in conjunction with FIG. 1.

Referring now to FIG. 4, a cut-away view of board 100 is shown and reveals core 110 having a stringer 122. Stringer 122 is typically made of wood, extends the length of core 110 and provides stiffening to the board 100. After core 110 has been formed, it is covered with a sealing material, such as FIBERGLAS® and epoxy resin, which form laminate 120. This sealing material makes board 100 more durable, and provides a water-proof covering. FIG. 4 also shows bubbles, or blisters, 410 caused by air, or gas, pockets 420 that can form between core 110 and laminate 120 following use of the board.

Referring to FIG. 5, a cross-sectional view of board 100 taken across line 5-5 of FIG. 4 is shown. Specifically, FIG. 5 shows air blister or bubble 410 caused by air pocket 420 between core 110 and laminate 120. For instance, when a user stands on board 100, the pressure of his feet upon board 100 can cause localized deformation to the foam at that place. This deformation causes air pockets 420 to form between core 110 and laminate 120 in that location. Each air pocket 420 causes the area of laminate 120 adjacent to air pocket 420 to be raised away from core 110, causing a raised area or “blister” 410 in laminate 120.

Air blisters 410 may form where the user places his feet on board 100, however, blisters 410 can also be caused by other sources of pressure upon board 100 at other places on board 100. Each air blister 410 causes a deformation of laminate 120, which can damage laminate 120 and decrease the strength of board 100 and make it more difficult to use. Additionally, exposure of the board 100 to heat sources, such as the sun, may cause the formation of air blisters 410 between the core 110 and the laminate 120 when the board is not properly vented.

FIG. 6 shows another cross-sectional view of board 100 similar to FIG. 5, but with at least one perforation vent 130 now formed in laminate 120 to allow air in air pocket 420 to escape, thus reducing the size of air pocket 420 and in turn reducing or eliminating blister 410. The perforation vents 130 help avoid deformation and damage to laminate 120, and helps maintain the utility of board 100. Each perforation vent 130 is large enough to allow air to pass through it, and small enough to allow little water or no water to pass through it. Thus, each perforation 130 allows air to get out from between laminate 120 and core 110, but allows little water or no water to get in between laminate 120 and core 110.

In a preferred embodiment, perforations 130 are formed through laminate 120 of board 100 at the time of manufacturing and prior to use, and thus, prior to the formation of any bubbles or blisters 420. As a result, there is little or no chance for a blister to form, because any air or gas that develops between laminate 120 and core 110 escapes through perforation 130 before it can develop into a blister 410.

As used herein, it is to be understood that “little water” comprises the meanings of “no water” and “substantially no water” as well as the meaning of “a very small amount of water more than no water.” No measurable or significant weight change is caused by any moisture absorption into the surfboard or surf craft.

Each perforation vent 130 is formed by a perforating tool 610 which has a perforating tool body 620 having a working surface 624, and at least one perforation needle 630 extending from working surface 624. Each perforation vent 130 is formed as follows. Working surface 624 is placed adjacent laminate 120 and perforating tool 610 is manipulated such that at least one needle 630 is translated in the direction 640 toward board 100 until needle 630 penetrates (or perforates) laminate 120 to form an airway, or vent 130, through the laminate 120.

Perforating tool 610 is then manipulated such that each at least one needle 630 is then translated in the direction 650 opposite the direction 640 in which needle 630 points, and needle 630 is withdrawn from laminate 120, leaving a perforation, or vent, 130 formed in laminate 120 by each needle 630 that penetrates laminate 120. In a preferred embodiment of the present invention, each needle 630 does not penetrate core 110. In an alternative embodiment of the present invention, at least one needle 630 at least partially penetrates core 110.

Needles 630 may be made of stainless steel. Needles 630 may alternatively be made of any other material having sufficient strength to perforate laminate 120. In a preferred embodiment of the present invention, at least one needle 630 is heated to facilitate penetration of laminate 120. If needles 630 are heated, they may be heated to a range of 200 to 250 degrees F. Alternatively, needles 630 may be heated to a temperature in the range from zero degrees Kelvin to the melting point temperature of the material of which the needles 360 are made. In an alternative embodiment of the present invention, each needle 630 is not heated.

In an alternative embodiment, needles 630 may be formed with grooves or threads 635 like a traditional drill bit having a small diameter. In such an embodiment, perforating tool 610 may be capable of rotating needle 630 in direction 633 to bore a perforation vent 130 through laminate 120.

FIG. 7 is a top view of board 100. Board 100 shown in FIG. 7 is a short board. An array of perforations 130 are placed where a user would likely place his or her feet on board 100. Perforations 130 may alternatively be placed in any other location on board 100, such as next to the rails of the surfboard.

Referring now to FIG. 8, a top view of another embodiment of the Improved Surfboard And Method Of Manufacturing of the present invention is shown and generally designated 800. This embodiment is a typical long board and has perforations 130 in locations where a user is likely to place his or her feet on this type of board 800. Perforations 130 may alternatively be placed in any other location on board 800.

FIG. 9 is a side view of another embodiment of a perforating tool generally designated 910. Tool 910 includes a flat body 920 having a flat working surface 624 and multiple perforating needles 630. FIG. 9 shows needles 630 as substantially parallel to each other, and extending from working surface 624 at an angle substantially perpendicular to working surface 624 at the point where needle 630 intersects working surface 624. In an alternative embodiment, each needle 630 may extend from working surface 624 at an angle other than perpendicular to working surface 624 at the point where needle 630 intersects working surface 624.

Referring now to FIG. 10, a side view of another embodiment of a perforating tool is shown and generally designated 1010. Tool 1010 includes a body 1020 having a curved working surface 1024 with a radius 1012, and multiple perforation needles 630 extending radially away from the curved working surface 1024.

FIG. 10 shows each perforation needle 630 as being at an angle 632 to body 1020. In a preferred embodiment, this angle 632 is ninety degrees (90°) as dictated by its radial placement on the curved working surface 1024. FIG. 10 also shows each needle 630 as being substantially perpendicular to curved working surface 1024 at the point where needle 630 intersects curved working surface 1024. In an alternative embodiment, each needle 630 may be at an angle 632 other than perpendicular to curved working surface 1024 at the point where needle 630 intersects curved working surface 1024.

As shown in FIG. 10, each perforation needle 630 has a length 634 and a diameter 636. In a preferred embodiment, length 634 is slightly longer than the thickness 638 of laminate 120 (as shown in FIG. 6). Also, in a preferred embodiment, thickness 638 may be {fraction (1/8)} to {fraction (3/16)} inch or more, and length 634 may be {fraction (3/16)} inch (0.1875″) or more, so long as the length 634 is equal to or greater than thickness 638.

The diameter 636 of perforation needle 630 may vary between 0.005 inches and 0.05 inches, and in a preferred embodiment, is 0.008 inches. It is to be appreciated that although perforation needle 630 has been depicted in the Figures as a cylindrical needle, no limitation as to the cross-sectional shape is intended. To the contrary, the cross-sectional shape of the perforation needle 630 may vary, including but not limited to, oval, rectangular, square, or other shapes. Regardless of the cross-sectional shape of perforation needle 630, the cross-sectional area of vent 130 remains small enough to allow the exit of gasses collecting between material 120 and core 110.

FIG. 11 shows how curved perforating tool 1010 is used to make a row of perforations 130. FIG. 11 shows a cross section of a surfboard of the present invention, with curved perforating tool 1010 positioned adjacent board 100. In use, curved working surface 1024 is placed adjacent laminate 120 such that at least one needle 630 penetrates laminate 120. Curved working surface 1024 is then “rolled” clockwise in direction 1030 across laminate 120 to a second position (shown by 1020′ in dashed lines) such that each perforation needle 630 successively penetrates and is then withdrawn from laminate 120, leaving a perforation vent where each needle 630 has penetrated laminate 120. FIG. 11 shows curved working surface 1024 as contacting laminate 120.

Alternatively, curved perforating tool 1010 can be manipulated such that curved working surface 1024 does not actually contact laminate 120 thereby avoiding any damage to laminate 120 from perforating tool 1010. For instance, as curved perforating tool 1010 is rolled clockwise above laminate 120, each needle 630 rotates as the tool 1010 is translated, such that each needle 630 remains substantially perpendicular to laminate 120 as it forms perforation vent 130. This is particularly useful when tool 1010 is heated, and contact between tool 1010 and laminate 120 may cause marks or blemishes to form.

In FIG. 11, curved working surface 1024 is curved in at least one dimension of curved working surface 1024. FIG. 11 shows curved working surface 1024 as substantially convex. Alternatively, curved working surface 1024 can be at least partially concave without departing from the present invention. In a preferred embodiment, the curve of curved working surface 1024 is substantially an arc of a circle that has a radius 1012, in at least one dimension of curved working surface 1024. Alternatively, curved working surface 1024 can have a curve that is other than circular, including, without limitation, parabolic, hyperbolic, or any combination thereof.

Referring now to FIG. 12, a flow chart representing a preferred method of manufacturing an Improved Surfboard of the present invention, and is generally designated 1200. Method 1200 includes a first step 1202 in which one or more closed-cell foam blanks is obtained, and then placed on the form in step 1204. Once on the form, conductive sheets are inserted between the blanks in step 1206, and the blanks and conductive sheets are secured to the form using tools and straps in step 1208.

The assembly of tools, blanks separated by sheets, and secured to the form, is then exposed to heat from a heat source for a predetermined time period in step 1210. At the expiration of that time period, the assembly is cooled for a second predetermined time period in step 1212.

Once cooled, the tools and straps are removed, and the blanks are removed from the form and separated from the conductive sheets in step 1214.

Once thoroughly cooled, the now-formed blanks are shaped to form a core and covered with sealing material in step 1216. Once the sealing material is dry, a number of vents are formed through the sealing material in final step 1218 to yield an Improved Surfboard of the present invention.

While the particular Improved Surfboard And Method Of Manufacturing as herein shown and disclosed in detail is fully capable of obtaining the objects and providing the advantages herein before stated, it is to be understood that it is merely illustrative of the presently preferred embodiments of the invention and that no limitations are intended to the details of construction or design herein shown other than as described in the appended claims.