Title:
Body surfboard
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A body surfboard has an upwardly extending bulbous formation extending from a location spaced forwardly of the rear end of the board up to a location adjacent the front end of the board. The upper surface is generally flat at the rear end, and an upwardly inclined region extends from the flat region of the board up to the peak of the bulbous formation. The upwardly inclined region provides a support for the upper torso of a rider so that they are supported in a comfortable, heads-up orientation.



Inventors:
French, David (Carlsbad, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/149117
Publication Date:
01/19/2006
Filing Date:
06/08/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B63B1/00; B63B35/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
BASINGER, SHERMAN D
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
GORDON & REES LLP (SAN DIEGO, CA, US)
Claims:
I Claim:

1. A body surfing device, comprising: a board having a lower surface, an upper surface for a rider to lie on, a front end, opposite side edges, and a rear end; and the upper surface of the board having an upwardly extending bulbous formation extending from a location spaced forwardly of the rear end of the board up to a location adjacent the front end of the board.

2. The device as claimed in claim 1, wherein the bulbous formation is of varying width along the length of the board, and has a forward end portion of minimum width.

3. The device as claimed in claim 1, wherein the bulbous formation has an upper portion of maximum height adjacent the forward end of the board.

4. The device as claimed in claim 3, wherein the bulbous formation has an upwardly inclined portion extending from an intermediate position in the length of the board to the upper portion of the bulbous formation, the upwardly inclined portion comprising a support for the torso of a user when prone on the board.

5. The device as claimed in claim 4, wherein the upper surface of the board has a generally flat portion extending rearwardly from said intermediate position to the rear end of the board.

6. The device as claimed in claim 4, wherein the intermediate position is an approximately central position along the length of the board.

7. The device as claimed in claim 1, further comprising hand grip regions on opposite sides of the bulbous formation at a location close to the forward end of the board.

8. The device as claimed in claim 7, wherein the bulbous formation has a forward end portion which is narrower than the remainder of the bulbous formation, the hand grip regions being provided on opposite sides of the narrower forward end portion.

9. The device as claimed in claim 8, wherein each hand grip region comprises a concave recess in the upper surface of the board, and a hand grip extending over the concave recess.

10. The device as claimed in claim 7, further comprising a handle having opposite ends secured to opposite sides of the board adjacent said respective hand grip regions, the handle extending across said bulbous formation and over said hand grip regions to provide hand grips.

11. The device as claimed in claim 10, wherein the handle is vertically oriented.

12. The device as claimed in claim 1, wherein the upper surface of the board has two conformal body grooves extending along respective opposite sides of the bulbous formation for receiving a rider's arms, elbows and legs when positioned on the board.

13. The device as claimed in claim 12, wherein each body groove follows the contour of the respective adjacent side edge of the board and extends along more than half the length of the board.

14. The device as claimed in claim 13, further comprising a vertically oriented hand grip at the forward end of each body groove.

15. The device as claimed in claim 14, wherein the vertically oriented hand grips comprise spaced portions of a one-piece handle extending across the board and having opposite ends secured to the board.

16. The device as claimed in claim 14, wherein the bulbous formation has opposite sides and is of varying width along its length, the formation having a minimum width at the hand grip regions and tapering outwardly along the respective opposite sides to a maximum width before tapering inwardly towards the rear end of the board, and the respective body grooves have inner sides following the contour of the respective side of the bulbous formation up to the respective hand grip region.

17. The device as claimed in claim 1, further comprising a displacement bow at the forward end of the lower surface of the board.

18. The device as claimed in claim 3, wherein the board has a vertical thickness at the upper, maximum height portion of the bulbous formation which is at least twice the vertical thickness adjacent the rear end of the board.

19. The device as claimed in claim 3, further comprising a generally arcuate handle having opposite ends secured to the board on opposite sides of said bulbous formation and a central region extending transversely across said bulbous formation, the bulbous formation having a transverse groove and the central region of the handle being seated in said transverse groove.

20. A body surfing device, comprising: a board having a lower surface, an upper surface for a rider to lie on, a front end, opposite side edges, and a rear end; the upper surface of the board having a rear, generally flat portion extending from the rear end of the board, an upwardly inclined portion extending from the flat portion towards the front end of the board, and a maximum height portion adjacent the front end of the board; and the upwardly inclined portion being adapted to support the upper torso of a rider in an upwardly inclined, heads up orientation.

21. The device as claimed in claim 20, wherein the maximum height portion of the upper surface is of generally bulbous shape.

22. The device as claimed in claim 20, wherein the upwardly inclined portion and maximum height portion are of varying transverse width, the maximum height portion having a width less than that of the upwardly inclined portion.

23. The device as claimed in claim 20, wherein the upper surface of the board has an arcuate body groove extending along each side of the upper surface adjacent respective opposite sides of said upwardly inclined portion and maximum height portion, each body groove terminating in a hand grip recess on respective opposite sides of said maximum height portion.

24. The device as claimed in claim 20, further comprising a handle extending across the maximum height portion of said upper surface and secured to the board on opposite sides of the maximum height portion to provide hand grips.

25. The device as claimed in claim 24, wherein the maximum height portion has a transverse groove and a central portion of the handle is seated in said groove.

26. The device as claimed in claim 24, wherein the hand grips are vertically oriented.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCES TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of priority of United States provisional application Ser. No. 60/588,217 filed Jul. 15, 2004 which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to body surfboards or body boards which are used for body surfing in any body of water with substantial wave motion, whether natural or artificial, and particularly for surfing along the shoreline of oceans where there is sufficient wave motion and surf to allow for such body surfing.

Body surfboards, also known as so-called “boogie boards”, are generally flat boards of buoyant material such as molded plastic foam on which a rider lies prone and face down while paddling on the water or while being propelled towards the shore by a wave. Such boards generally have a straight or blunt forward edge, opposite side edges which are streamlined or curved from the forward edge towards the rear and then extend parallel to one another to the rear edge, a rear edge which may be arcuate or concave, and a generally flat upper riding surface.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is an object of the present invention to provide a new and improved body surfboard.

According to one aspect of the present invention, a body surfing device is provided, which comprises a board having a lower surface, an upper surface for a rider to lie on, a front end or bow, opposite side edges, and a rear end, the upper surface having an upwardly extending bulbous formation extending towards the front end of the board.

In an exemplary embodiment, the bulbous formation has an upper portion of maximum height just aft of the front end or bow of the board, and tapers downward toward the stern of the board, reaching a level surface aft of the middle of the board. The level surface runs to the stern or rear end of the board. The bulbous formation has a narrower portion adjacent the bow, leaving recesses or concave areas on each side of the bulbous formation for a rider to place their hands. A hand grip may be provided at each recess for gripping by the rider. In the exemplary embodiment, the narrow portion of the bulbous formation has a groove and a single handle extends across the board and has a central portion located in the groove and extending in opposite directions from the groove with opposite ends of the handle secured to the board at the outer side of each hand grip recess so as to retain the central portion in the groove. This provides a three point attachment of the handle to the board. The handle is vertically oriented to provide a natural gripping position regardless of the rider's position on the board.

The board may have two conformal body grooves, one on each side of the bulbous formation, for receiving a rider's arms, elbows and legs when lying prone on the board. The grooves have a width that is consistent with a rider's arm and leg width. The grooves extend along opposite sides of the bulbous formation and converge into the recesses or concave areas on each side of the narrower forward end of the bulbous formation. The bulbous formation and conformal arm and leg receiving grooves together provide a general shape that is conformal to a rider and facilitates comfort and control.

The bulbous formation to the rear of the upper portion is generally flat and smooth, though tapering downwardly. This allows the rider the opportunity of more intimate contact with the board. This can provide more ways for the rider to control the board and is also more comfortable when the rider is riding in a prone position on the board. An advantage of the upwardly sloping surface for supporting the user's torso is that it can allow the user to ride the board more easily in a natural heads-up position, so that they can look forward and guide the board easily.

The bulbous forward section of the board has a narrower forward end, and then curves outwardly on each side, subsequently curving inwardly towards the rear of the board. The wider portion of the bulbous section to the rear of the handles will prevent a rider from inserting their feet under the handles, creating a safety guard to prevent feet from being stuck. Additionally, the recesses on each side of the forward end of the bulbous formation at the handle will have a depth sufficient to receive the rider's hands, but not for insertion of his or her feet.

The body surfboard of this invention has an upper surface shape designed to facilitate enhanced body boarding or body surfing and is also adapted to the rider's natural body shape and convenient riding posture for added comfort and enhanced control of the board. The upwardly inclined bulbous formation supports the rider's torso naturally in an upwardly extending position so that they can easily look forwards. The handle and hand grip recesses are arranged so that the rider can conveniently grip the handles and control the board direction whatever their position relative to the board. The handle is also arranged to prevent a rider from placing their feet under the handle where they could potentially become trapped, resulting in a dangerous situation. The one-piece handle is quick and easy to assemble on the board by engaging it in the groove and securing each end to the board. The vertical orientation of the handle provides a natural gripping position for the rider to control the board whether they are lying flat, kneeling or even when their body is separated from the board and flying through the air, as sometimes happens when traveling at speed.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The present invention will be better understood from the following detailed description of an exemplary embodiment of the invention, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings in which like reference numerals refer to like parts and in which:

FIG. 1 is a top perspective view of a body surfboard according to an exemplary embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 2 is a perspective side view of the surfboard of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is side elevation view of the surfboard with the handle omitted to illustrate the handle receiving groove on the bow;

FIG. 4 is a top plan view of the surfboard of FIGS. 1 to 3;

FIG. 5 is a bottom plan view of the surfboard of FIGS. 1 to 4;

FIG. 6 is a front elevation view of the surfboard of FIGS. 1 to 5;

FIG. 7 is a side elevation view of the surfboard of FIGS. 1 to 6; and

FIG. 8 is a transverse cross-section view taken through the handle adjacent the forward end of the board.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIGS. 1 to 8 of the drawings illustrate a body surfboard 10 according to an exemplary embodiment of the invention. The surfboard 10 has a generally elongate periphery of generally oval or elliptical shape, with a slightly or bluntly pointed forward end or bow 12, a rounded rear end or stern 14, and outwardly curved opposite side edges 15. The board is widest at its longitudinal middle, to facilitate fast passage through the water as well as control and comfort when a rider is in a paddle position. The rear end may be pointed, round, straight across, or any other convenient shape that does not adversely effect the performance of the board.

The lower surface 16 of the board is a substantially flat, planing surface but is upwardly inclined adjacent its forward end, as indicated in FIG. 7, and has a displacement bow 17 at the forward end 12, as best illustrated in FIGS. 5, 6 and 7. The displacement bow generally extends over the first five to seven inches of the lower surface of the board. The displacement bow is believed to provide displacement of water in much the same way as the bow of a boat.

The upper surface of the board is contoured for improved body surfing performance and enhanced comfort of the rider. The most prominent feature of the upper surface of the board is an upwardly projecting bulbous formation or bow 18 which is at a maximum height adjacent the forward end of the board, and which tapers downwardly in height towards the rear end of the board, reaching a flat or planar surface 20 aft of the approximate center of the board, as best seen in FIG. 7. The height or vertical thickness of the board at the maximum height region of the bulbous formation is at least twice the thickness of the board at the flat or planar surface portion 20, so that the board will rise a significant distance upwardly out of the water at this region.

The transverse width of the bulbous formation 18 varies along the board, with a narrow portion 22 at the forward end corresponding to the maximum height region of the formation 18. As best seen in FIG. 6, the narrow portion 22 is substantially narrower in width than the overall width of the board, and has a width equal to approximately one quarter to one fifth of the overall board width. The formation 18 curves or widens gradually outwardly along its opposite sides from the narrow portion in a direction rearward of the narrow portion 22, and then narrows inwardly in general conformance with the shape of the board towards the stern, as best illustrated in FIG. 4. A concave area or recess 24 is formed on each side of the narrow forward portion of the bulbous formation, as best illustrated in FIG. 6. The inclined or tapered upper surface 25 of the formation 18 leading up to the maximum height forward portion is generally smooth and uninterrupted, as can be seen in FIGS. 1, 2 and 4, so as to provide a comfortable support surface for the rider’s torso when the board is in use.

A pair of symmetrical, arcuate or concave grooves 26 extend along opposite sides of the bulbous formation from each concave area 24 towards the rear end of the board, as illustrated in FIGS. 1, 4 and 8. The grooves 26 are of appropriate width and depth for accommodating the arms, elbows and legs of a rider lying prone on the board. The shape of the grooves together with the inclined surface 25 leading to the top of the bulbous formation 18 conforms generally to the torso, arms and legs of a rider lying on the board.

A generally parabolic one-piece handle or strap 28 extends across the upper surface of the board adjacent the forward end of the board and over the concave areas 24, with opposite ends of the handle 28 extending through the board and secured in place by rivets 30 on the lower surface of the board (FIG. 5). The central portion of the handle 28 is seated in a groove or handle receiving indent 32 (see FIG. 3) provided across the narrow forward portion 22 of the bulbous formation. The length of the handle 28 and location of the attachment points or rivets 30 is such that the central portion of the handle is forced tightly into the receiving groove 32, and the hand grip portions are vertically oriented. The groove provides forward and rearward support for the handle and locates the opposite sides of the handle in the proper positions for gripping by a user. This also distributes the handle load to three spaced positions, providing a strong attachment. The handle is simple to assemble on the board since all that is required is to engage it in the indent 32, pull down and attach each end to the board with rivets. This reduces manufacturing cost.

The handle configuration and the recesses or concave areas 24 cooperate to provide hand grip openings on each side of portion 22, as best illustrated in FIG. 6, and the handle is vertically oriented. This enables the user to grip the handle securely and easily, improving guidance and control of the board. The shape and vertical orientation of the opposite side portions of the handle on each side of the retaining groove 32 facilitate easy vertical grasping by the user's hands and will also force the hands and forearms to be close to the board with the forearms in the grooves when the user is lying on the board, producing a more natural riding position and posture.

The handle position and orientation allow a rider to exert control forces on the board in multiple riding positions, whether prone on the board or separated from the board as sometimes occurs when riding at speed. The vertical hand grip orientation provides a natural hand gripping position however the user or rider is oriented relative to the board, whether down, up, twisting or with their body off the board.

The shape of the conformal side grooves 26, which converge towards the respective concave recesses 24 beneath each side of the handle, tends to force the rider to grip the board with their arms and elbows or their legs and feet, depending on their stance on the board. The grooves 26 lead into the concave areas 24 which accommodate the user's hands while they grip the handle portions above each area 24. The handle forces the arms into the grooves such that the rider can apply roll or turning forces to the board by applying pressure with either forearm or elbow as well as twisting the handle with the hands. The grooves together with the upward curvature or incline of the bulbous formation from the center of the board towards the bow form a general shape that conforms to the torso and hands, arms, elbows and legs of the rider, providing more comfort and control.

The outwardly curved shape of the opposite sides of the bulbous formation 18 to the rear of the narrow portion 22, as best seen in FIG. 4, will prevent a rider from placing his or her feet through the openings under the handle 28. As an additional safety feature to restrict improper or unsafe use of the board, the concave recesses or areas 24 beneath the opposite sides of the handle are of sufficient depth for insertion of a rider's hands (see FIG. 6), but of insufficient depth to permit insertion of his or her feet. This reduces any potential risk of a rider's feet becoming stuck or trapped under the handle.

A conventional leash 34 is attached at one end to the board at any convenient location. One possible position is on one side of the handle 28, as illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 4. The leash can be secured to the user at its opposite end, for example by means of a wrist strap 35. The leash prevents the board from being carried away from the user if the user falls or is ejected from the board.

The board may be made of any suitable material of sufficient rigidity which is naturally buoyant or can be configured into a buoyant board shape, such as wood, molded plastics, plastic foams, or resins, rubber materials, resin foams and the like. It is also possible to make the board from hollow metal but this is a less suitable material since metal is not naturally buoyant and the hollow structure could fill with water and sink if damaged.

The bulbous formation 18 provides a comfortable support surface for a rider's body or torso when lying prone on the board, and also provides a convenient anchor for the center of handle 28 in receiving groove 32, so as to hold opposite sides of the handle in a vertical orientation for easy gripping by a rider. The rider is supported in an upwardly inclined, “heads-up” position so that they can easily look forwards and steer the board appropriately. The side grooves for receiving the rider's arms, elbows and legs tend to urge the rider to grip the board and produce a more natural riding position and posture.

Although an exemplary embodiment of the invention has been described above by way of example only, it will be understood by those skilled in the field that modifications may be made to the disclosed embodiment without departing from the scope of the invention, which is defined by the appended claims.