Title:
Surfboard fin assembly
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A fin assembly (14) for a surfboard assembly (10) includes a fin base (220), a fin blade (222) and an adhesive (224). The fin base (220) has a base attachment surface (226A). The fin blade (222) extends away from the fin base (220). The adhesive (224) directly and fixedly secures the base attachment surface (226A) to the outer surface (18) of a board (12). The fin assembly (14) can be used for directionally controlling the movement of a board (12) through a liquid. The outer surface (18) of the board (12) is moisture resistant.



Inventors:
Balester, Tom (Huntington Beach, CA, US)
Application Number:
10/876304
Publication Date:
12/29/2005
Filing Date:
06/24/2004
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B63B35/79; (IPC1-7): B63B35/79
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
AVILA, STEPHEN P
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Tom Balester (Huntington Beach, CA, US)
Claims:
1. A fin assembly for directionally controlling the movement of a board through a liquid, the board having an outer surface that is moisture resistant, the fin assembly comprising; a fin base having a base attachment surface; a fin blade that extends away from the fin base, the fin blade having a blade height that is at least approximately two inches; and an adhesive that directly and fixedly secures the base attachment surface to the outer surface.

2. The fin assembly of claim 1 wherein the fin base has a base width that is at least approximately 5 times greater than a blade width of the fin blade.

3. The fin assembly of claim 1 wherein the fin base has a base width that is at least approximately 6 times greater than a blade width of the fin blade.

4. The fin assembly of claim 1 wherein the base attachment surface has a surface area of at least approximately 6 square inches.

5. The fin assembly of claim 1 wherein the base attachment surface has a surface area of at least approximately 10 square inches.

6. The fin assembly of claim 1 wherein the fin base is oval shaped.

7. (canceled)

8. A surfboard assembly comprising a board having an outer surface and the fin assembly of claim 1 fixedly secured to the outer surface of the board.

9. A fin assembly for directionally controlling the movement of a board through a liquid, the board having an outer surface that is moisture resistant, the fin assembly comprising; a fin base having a base attachment surface that has a surface area of at least approximately 6 square inches; a fin shaped, fin blade that extends away from the fin base, the fin blade having a blade height that is at least approximately three inches; and an adhesive that directly and fixedly secures the base attachment surface to the outer surface.

10. The fin assembly of claim 9 wherein the fin base has a base width that is at least approximately 5 times greater than a blade width of the fin blade.

11. The fin assembly of claim 9 wherein the fin base is oval shaped.

12. The fin assembly of claim 9 wherein the fin blade is selectively secured to the fin base.

13. A surfboard assembly comprising a board having an outer surface and the fin assembly of claim 9 fixedly secured to the outer surface of the board.

14. A method for making a surfboard assembly comprising the steps of; providing a board having an outer surface that is moisture resistant; and connecting a fin assembly to the board, the fin assembly can be used to directionally control the movement of the board, the fin assembly including a fin base having a base attachment surface, a fin blade that extends away from the fin base, the fin blade having a blade height that is at least approximately two inches; and an adhesive that directly and fixedly secures the base attachment surface to the outer surface.

15. The method of claim 14 wherein the fin base has a base width that is at least approximately 5 times greater than a blade width of the fin blade.

16. The method of claim 14 wherein the fin base has a base width that is at least approximately 6 times greater than a blade width of the fin blade.

17. The method of claim 14 wherein the base attachment surface has a surface area of at least approximately 6 square inches.

18. (canceled)

19. (canceled)

20. The method of claim 14 wherein the fin blade is selectively secured to the fin base.

21. A fin assembly for directionally controlling the movement of a board through a liquid, the board having an outer surface that is moisture resistant, the fin assembly comprising; a fin base having a base attachment surface; a fin blade that extends away from the fin base, the fin blade being selectively secured to the fin base; and an adhesive that directly and fixedly secures the base attachment surface to the outer surface.

22. The fin assembly of claim 21 further comprising a fastener assembly that selectively secures the fin blade to the fin base.

23. The fin assembly of claim 22 wherein the fin base includes a base slot and the fin blade includes a projection that extends into the fin base.

Description:

BACKGROUND

People have long enjoyed the use of recreational devices such as surfboards in the ocean or other bodies of water. Surfboards commonly include a board and one or more fins that are secured to the board. The fins provide directional control to the surfer.

Unfortunately, existing methods for securing the one or more of the fins to the board can be relatively costly and/or relatively complex. Moreover, existing fin to board attachments can be relatively weak and prone to breaking.

SUMMARY

The present invention is directed to a fin assembly for a surfboard. The fin assembly is used for directionally controlling the movement of a board through a liquid. The board includes an outer surface that is moisture resistant. In one embodiment, the fin assembly includes a fin base, a fin blade and an adhesive. The fin base has a base attachment surface. The fin blade extends away from the fin base. The adhesive directly and fixedly secures the base attachment surface to the outer surface.

With this design, in certain embodiments, the fin assembly can be easily and fixedly installed on the board. Further, the fin assembly is secured to the board without making cut-outs. This reduces the complexity of the installation, reduces the assembly costs, and/or enhances the strength and reliability of the fin assembly to board connection.

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 bottom view of an embodiment of a surfboard assembly including a board and a fin assembly having the features of the present invention;

FIG. 2A is a side plan view of the fin assembly of FIG. 1;

FIG. 2B is an end plan view of the fin assembly of FIG. 2A;

FIG. 2C is a bottom plan view of the fin assembly of FIG. 2A;

FIG. 3A is a side plan view, in partial cut-away of a portion of the board and the fin assembly of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3B is an end plan view, in partial cut-away of a portion of the board and the fin assembly of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4A is a side plan view, in partial cut-away, of another embodiment of the fin assembly; and

FIG. 4B is a cut-away view taken on line 4B-4B in FIG. 4A.

DESCRIPTION

FIG. 1 is a bottom plan view of a surfboard assembly 10 having features of the present invention that includes (i) a board 12, and (ii) one or more fin assemblies 14 that are coupled to the board 12. The surfboard assembly 10 can be used to surf in a liquid, such as ocean water. In one embodiment, the surfboard assembly 10 can include a leash (not shown) that is coupled to a leash retainer (not shown) in the board 12. The leash can be secured to the individual's leg while surfing.

The board 12 provides floatation for and supports an individual on or near the surface of the liquid. The design of the board 12, including the shape, particular dimensions and materials used to form the board 12, can be selected to achieve the desired performance characteristics of the board 12. Non-exclusive examples of suitable materials for the board 12 include a somewhat rigid foam that is covered with fiberglass, or the board 12 can include epoxy, balsa wood, plastic materials, carbon fiber, and/or resins.

In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 1, the board 12 includes a top (not shown), bottom 16A, a left rail 16B, a right rail 16C, a nose 16D and a tail 16E. In one embodiment, the board 12 includes an exposed, outer surface 18 that is substantially impervious to the liquid. Stated another way, the outer surface 18 is substantially moisture resistant. The top provides a deck on which the individual can stand, sit or lie while in the water. The bottom 16A is opposite the top, and generally faces the water during surfing. The top and bottom 16A can be somewhat flat or curved.

The one or more fin assemblies 14 are secured to the board 12 and are used by the rider to control the movement of the surfboard assembly 12 thought the water. In one embodiment, the one or more fin assemblies 14 are secured to the bottom 16A and cantilever generally away and downward from the bottom 16A. The number of fin assemblies 14 utilized in surfboard assembly 10 can be selected to achieve the desired characteristics of the surfboard assembly 10. Further, the location of the one or more fin assemblies 14 relative to the board 12 can be adjusted to adjust the handling characteristics of the surfboard assembly 10. In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 1, the surfboard assembly 10 includes three spaced apart fin assemblies 14 that are secured to the bottom 16A near the tail 16E. Alternatively, for example, the surfboard assembly 10 can include less than three or more than three fin assemblies 14.

FIG. 2A is a side view of one of the fin assemblies 14 of FIG. 1. In this embodiment, the fin assembly 14 includes a fin base 220, a fin blade 222, and an adhesive 224, the thickness of which is exaggerated for clarity. The size, shape and composition of each of these components can be selected to achieve the desired characteristics of the surfboard assembly 10.

The fin base 220 includes a top, base attachment surface 226A, an opposed base bottom 226B, a base leading edge 226C, a base trailing edge 226D, and an opposed pair of base sides 226E. In one embodiment, the base attachment surface 226A is shaped to correspond to the shape of the bottom 16A of the board 12 at where the fin assembly 14 is to be secured to the board 12. For example, the base attachment surface 226A can be generally flat or slightly curved.

In one embodiment, the base attachment surface 226A defines a substantial area that can be used to attach the fin base 220 to the board 12. The substantial contact area greatly enhances the strength of the adhesive connection between the fin assembly 14 and the board 12. In alternative, non-exclusive embodiments, the base attachment surface 226A has an area that is at least approximately 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, or 13 square inches. However, for example, the base attachment surface 226A can be greater or less than these amounts.

It should be noted that with these designs, the relatively large contact area means that any forces that act upon the fin assembly 14 during usage are distributed over a relatively large area of the board 12 (illustrated in FIG. 1). This reduces the likelihood of damage to the board 12 in the event of forces that act on the fin assembly 14.

The fin blade 222 cantilevers away from the fin base 220. The shape and size of the fin blade 222 can vary. In one embodiment, the fin blade 222 includes a pair of opposed blade sides 228A, a blade leading edge 228B, and a blade trailing edge 228C. The blade sides 228A can be generally flat. The edges 228B, 228C can be somewhat knife blade shaped.

In one embodiment, the fin base 220 and the fin blade 222 are made of suitable rigid and resilient materials that are resistant to fatigue and are compatible with the adhesive 224. Suitable materials for the fin base 220 and the fin blade 222 include (i) plastics, or (ii) epoxy, polyurethane, or polycarbonate that are internally reinforced with crystalline fibers, glass cloth, or graphite.

In FIG. 2A, the fin base 220 and the fin blade 222 are made as a one piece, unitary, homogeneous component. Alternatively, the fin base 220 and the fin blade 22 can be made from multiple structures that are secured or connected together.

The adhesive 224 secures the fin base 220 to the board 12. In one embodiment, the adhesive 224 is of sufficient strength to inhibit disconnection between fin base 220 and the board 12. The type of adhesive 224 utilized will depend upon the type of materials utilized in the fin base 220 and the board 12. In one embodiment, (i) the adhesive 224 is compatible with the material utilized for the outer surface 18 and the material utilized in the fin base 220, and/or (ii) the adhesive 224 forms a strong cohesive bond between the board 12 and the fin base 220. For example, the adhesive 224 can be designed to achieve relatively strong mechanical bonds or chemical bonds between the board 12 and the fin base 220. In one embodiment, adhesive 224 acts as a solvent for at least one of the board 12 and the fin base 220 so as to form strong intermolecular bonds between the contact surfaces.

As nonexclusive examples, suitable adhesives 224 can include a high strength plastic weld sold by Devcon, located in Danvers, Mass.

In one embodiment, the adhesive 224 substantially covers the entire base attachment surface 226A of the fin base 220. Alternatively, for example, the adhesive 224 can cover only a portion of the base attachment surface 226A. In alternative, non-exclusive embodiments, the adhesive 224 covers at least approximately 60, 70, 80, 90, or 95 percent of the base attachment surface 226A.

FIG. 2B is an end view of the fin assembly 14 of FIG. 2A. In this embodiment, the fin blade 222 cantilevers away from and is at approximately a 90 degree angle relative to the fin base 220. Alternatively, fin blade 222 can be at an angle other than 90 degrees relative to the fin base 220. In alternative, non-exclusive embodiments, the fin blade 222 is at an angle of approximately 40, 50, 60, 70, or 80 degrees relative to the fin base 220.

Additionally, in FIG. 2B, the fin blade 222 extends from a central axis 230 of the fin base 220 and the combination of the fin base 220 and fin blade 222 has a cross-section which is shaped somewhat similar to an inverted “T”. Alternatively, for example, the fin blade 222 can be positioned off the central axis 230 of the fin base 220.

In one embodiment, the fin base 220 has a base width 232 (measured normal to the base central axis 230) that is greater than a blade width 234 (measured normal to the fin blade 222) of the fin blade 222. In alternative, non-exclusive embodiments, the base width 232 is at least approximately 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 30, or 35 times greater than the blade width 234. However, the difference can be less than these amounts or greater than these amounts. In one embodiment, the base width 232 is approximately 5 inches and the blade width 234 is approximately 0.25 inches.

In FIG. 2B, the bottom 226B of the fin base 220 is slightly curved. For example, the bottom 226B can sloped slightly away from the base central axis 230 toward the base sides 226E. In one embodiment, the slope angle 236 is approximately ten degrees. Further, in one embodiment, for example, the fin base 220 has a base height of approximately 0.5 inches near the base central axis 230 and a base height 238 of approximately 20 thousands of an inch near the base sides 226E. With this design, there is a substantially smooth continuous transition between the fin base 220 and the board 12 when the fin base 220 is secured to the board 12.

Moreover, in one embodiment, the base height 238 that is less than a blade height 240 of the fin blade 222. In alternative, non-exclusive embodiments, the base height 238 is at least approximately 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 30, or 35 times smaller than the blade height 240. However, the difference can be less than these amounts or greater than these amounts.

In one embodiment, the junction between each blade side 238A and the fin base 220 includes a curved concave transition surface 242 having a substantial radius of curvature. In one embodiment, the radius measures at least one half inch so that each transition surface 242 forms a smooth uninterrupted continuation of the fin base 220 and the fin blade 222. The transition surface 242 minimizes water flow turbulence and also enhances the strength of the connection between fin base 220 and the fin blade 222.

FIG. 2C is a bottom plan view of the fin assembly 14. In FIG. 2C, the fin base 220 is substantially oval shaped and symmetrical about the base central axis 230. In alternative, non-exclusive embodiments, the fin base 220 has a base length 244 that is at least approximately 1.2, 1.5, 2, 2.5, 3, 3.5, or 4 times greater than the base width 232. However, the difference can be less than these amounts or greater than these amounts. In one embodiment, the fin base 220 has a base length 244 of approximately 5 inches and a base width of approximately 2 inches.

With the oval shape, the base sides 226E do not present sharp corners to the load. Sharp corners can produce stress concentration points tending to weaken the adhesive 224 (illustrated in FIGS. 2A and 2B) connection between the fin base 220 and the board 12. Further, this shape enhances the adhesive contact near the base central axis 230 where deflecting load forces are greatest, leading and trailing ends with minimal dimensions. Stated another way, adhesive engagement areas are concentrated in the areas of greatest expected load.

Alternatively, for example, the fin base 220 can be elliptical or rectangular shaped.

FIGS. 3A and 3B are alternative plan views of the fin assembly 14 and a portion of the board 12 in cut-away. More specifically, these figures illustrate that the adhesive 224 directly adheres the base attachment surface 226A to the outer surface 18 of the board 12. It should be noted that the fin assembly 14 is attached to the board 12 without cutting or interrupting the outer surface 18 of the board 12 or influencing the structural integrity of the board 12. Moreover, in one embodiment, the adhesive 224 is the only thing that secures the fin assembly 14 to the board 12. With this design, the fin assembly 14 can be easily attached to the board 12 after the rest of the board 12 is manufactured.

FIG. 4A is a side plan view, in partial cut-away, of another embodiment of the fin assembly 414 and board 412, and FIG. 4B is a cut-away view taken on line 4B-4B in FIG. 4A. In this embodiment, the fin base 420 is fixedly secured directly to the outer surface 418 with the adhesive 424.

Moreover, in this embodiment, the fin base 420 and the fin blade 422 are made as separate components. Further, in this embodiment, the fin blade 422 is selectively secured to the fin base 420 so that the fin blade 422 can be selectively attached and detached from the fin base 420. The way in which the fin blade 422 is selectively secured to the fin base 420 can be varied. In the embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 4A and 4B, the fin base 420 includes a base slot 446 that defines a slot catch 448. In one embodiment, the base slot 446 is a somewhat rectangular shaped opening in the fin base 420 and the fin base 420 is positioned above the outer surface 418.

Further, the fin blade 422 includes a blade projection 450 that is sized and shaped to fit within the base slot 446 and the blade projection 450 extends into the base slot 446. Moreover, the blade projection 450 includes a front lip 452 that interacts with the slot catch 448. Additionally, the fin assembly 414 includes a fastener assembly 454 that selectively secures the fin blade 422 to the fin base 420. More specifically, in FIG. 4A, the fastener assembly 454 includes a screw that is threaded into a tapped hole in the fin base 420 that engages the rear of the blade projection 450 and urges the front lip 452 under and against the slot catch 448. In one embodiment, the blade projection 450 includes a relief area 456 that allows for deflection of a portion of the blade projection 450 under pressure from the fastener assembly 454.

With this design, the screw can be moved forward to secure the fin blade 422 to the fin base 420 and the screw can be retracted to permit removal of fin blade 422 from the fin base 420.

While the particular embodiments of the surfboard assembly 10, as illustrated herein are fully capable of satisfying the needs 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.