Title:
TOPSIDE DEVICE FOR CIRCULAR HYDROPLANE BOARD
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A circular-shaped hydroplane board with a topside device for safer, more controllable skimming along a beach surface includes: (a) a substantially planar bottom side having a first diameter; (b) a substantially planar top side having a second diameter that is larger than the first diameter; (c) a curved circular side rail connecting the bottom side to the top side of the hydroplane board; and (d) a curved topside device attached to the top side of the hydroplane board; wherein the hydroplane board has no defined front, rear, left, or right sides. Also included is the topside device itself, which is attachable to a top side of a circular hydroplane board.



Inventors:
Quinn, Charles Benedict (Hanahan, SC, US)
Application Number:
11/007706
Publication Date:
06/15/2006
Filing Date:
12/09/2004
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B63B1/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
AVILA, STEPHEN P
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Harleston Law Firm, LLC (Columbia, SC, US)
Claims:
1. (canceled)

2. A circular-shaped hydroplane board with a topside device for safer, more controllable skimming along a beach surface, the hydroplane board comprising: (a) a substantially planar bottom side having a first diameter; (b) a substantially planar top side having a second diameter that is larger than the first diameter; (c) a curved circular side rail connecting the bottom side to the top side of the hydroplane board; and (d) a curved topside device attached to the top side of the hydroplane board; wherein the hydroplane board is substantially circular in shape, and has no defined front, rear, left, or right sides; and wherein the topside device comprises a speed rail extending upwardly from the top side of the hydroplane board.

3. The hydroplane board according to claim 2, wherein the speed rail is generally ring-shaped and centered on the top side of the hydroplane board.

4. The hydroplane board according to claim 2, wherein the speed rail is arch-shaped and comprises opposite tapered ends.

5. (canceled)

6. The hydroplane board according to claim 2, wherein the topside device further comprises a bumper extending around an outer edge of the hydroplane board, the bumper being generally circular in shape, and being adjacent to and encircling the speed rail.

7. The hydroplane board according to claim 2, wherein the topside device comprises a flexible bumper extending around an outer edge of the hydroplane board.

8. The hydroplane board according to claim 7, wherein the bumper is adhered to the hydroplane board, the bumper being generally circular in shape and encircling the top side of the hydroplane board.

9. The hydroplane board according to claim 7, wherein the bumper is segmented into a plurality of bumper segments, each of the bumper segments being attached to the hydroplane board, the bumper segments being spaced apart from one another.

10. The hydroplane board according to claim 2, wherein the speed rail slopes gradually upwardly from the top side of the hydroplane board to an apex of the speed rail and then slopes gradually downwardly from the apex to the top side.

11. The hydroplane board according to claim 3, wherein the speed rail comprises a topside rail inner edge and a topside rail outer edge, the topside rail inner edge and the topside rail outer edge contacting the top side of the hydroplane board, the topside rail inner edge being spaced apart from the topside rail outer edge.

12. The hydroplane board according to claim 11, wherein the topside rail inner edge or the topside rail outer edge is oriented substantially perpendicularly to the top side of the hydroplane board.

13. The hydroplane board according to claim 7, wherein the bumper is rounded and comprises an exposed bumper edge curving upwardly from the top side and outwardly from a bumper inner edge, the bumper inner edge contacting the top side above the outer edge of the hydroplane board, the exposed bumper edge curving downwardly toward the bottom side and inwardly to contact an outer edge of the hydroplane board.

14. The hydroplane board according to claim 13, wherein at least a portion of the exposed bumper edge is oriented substantially perpendicularly to the top side of the hydroplane board.

15. The hydroplane board according to claim 6, wherein an annular space separates the bumper, and the speed rail and the bumper do not contact one another.

16. The hydroplane board according to claim 6, wherein the speed rail contacts the bumper without a space in between.

17. The hydroplane board according to claim 2, wherein the topside device comprises a combined, circular-shaped speed rail portion and bumper portion, the bumper portion extending around the outer edge of the hydroplane board, and around the speed rail portion.

18. A curved topside device for attachment to a top side of a substantially circular-shaped hydroplane board, the topside device comprising: a) a curved, flexible speed rail attachable to the top side of the hydroplane board so that it extends upwardly from the top side of the hydroplane board and is substantially parallel to at least a portion of an outer edge of the circular-shaped hydroplane board, the speed rail comprising a substantially flat bottom, an arched top, and at least one tapered side; and b) a malleable, curved bumper attachable to an outer edge of the hydroplane board, the bumper comprising a rounded top, a tapered inside edge and a rounded outer edge, a portion of the bottom of the bumper being substantially planar; wherein the speed rail is adjacent an inner side of the bumper.

19. The topside device according to claim 18, wherein the speed rail is ring-shaped and of a size sufficient to generally encircle a center of the top side of the hydroplane board.

20. The topside device according to claim 18, wherein the speed rail is parallel to the bumper, and the speed rail and the bumper are both ring-shaped, a diameter of the speed rail being smaller than a diameter of the bumper.

21. The topside device according to claim 18, wherein the bumper is a plurality of bumper segments, each of the bumper segments being attachable to the hydroplane board.

22. The topside device according to claim 18, wherein the speed rail is a plurality of rail segments, the bottom of the bumper segments comprising a waterproof adhesive, each of the rail segments being attachable to the hydroplane board.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Technical Field

The present invention relates to hydroplane boards or skim boards and, more particularly, to a topside rail or bumper structure for a circular hydroplane board for enhanced performance and safety.

2. Background Information:

U.S. Pat. No. 6,671,602, Quinn, issued Jul. 13, 2004 discloses a circular hydroplane board for skimming along a surface at the water's edge. The circular hydroplane board has a substantially planar bottom side and a substantially planar top side connected by a smoothly curved circular-shaped lower side rail. The diameter of the board's bottom side is smaller than the diameter of the board's top side. The hydroplane board is best used for recreational hydroplaning, or skimming, along a beach or other smooth waterfront area.

In order to use the circular hydroplane board, a user pushes the hydroplane board with his or her foot in a desired direction. Then the user walks, jogs, or runs toward the hydroplane board and jumps onto it while simultaneously exerting forward and downward forces onto the hydroplane board. The transfer of momentum from the user to the hydroplane board and the weight of the user induces hydroplaning. Normally, the circular hydroplane board hydroplanes at a speed much greater than the individual speed of the hydroplane board or user.

The circular hydroplane board is extremely efficient due to its curved side rail and round periphery. The curved side rail minimizes forward friction, especially during initial contact between the user and the hydroplane board. The round periphery also reduces friction and facilitates forward motion even if the hydroplane board slews or moves in a radial direction.

However, the force of friction between the user's feet and the topside of the circular hydroplane board and a layer of water over the hydroplane board's topside limits the forward force that may be applied to the hydroplane board. If the forward force exceeds the frictional force, the user will likely lose contact with the hydroplane board. This, in turn, limits the acceleration and speed of the combined hydroplane board and user. Second, the radial force that the user may apply to the hydroplane board is restricted. Thus, there is a need for a structural enhancement of the circular hydroplane board, which diminishes or overcomes these limitations.

The outer edge or perimeter of the circular hydroplane board can be relatively sharp, which poses a potential hazard to bystanders if the user loses control of the hydroplane board. Also, the outer edge of the circular hydroplane board includes no means of shock absorption in the event of a collision between a person or object and the moving hydroplane board. Thus, there is a need for a structural enhancement for the circular hydroplane board in order to reduce the chance and/or severity of injury and absorb shock in any accidental collisions between a person or object and the moving hydroplane board.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is a circular-shaped hydroplane board comprising a topside device attached to the top side of the hydroplane board. Alternatively, the present invention is a topside device for attachment to the top side of a circular hydroplane board, such as a speed rail and/or a bumper that encircles the outer circumference of the top side of a circular skim board. Alternate configurations of these topside devices are also included herein. The topside device of the present invention is a performance and safety enhancement.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS

A more complete understanding of the invention and its advantages will be apparent from the following detailed description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, wherein examples of the invention are shown, and wherein:

FIG. 1 is a top plan view of a circular hydroplane board with a combined topside device according to the present invention, showing a speed rail portion and a bumper portion;

FIG. 2 is a bottom plan view of the circular hydroplane board with a combined topside device according to FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is an elevational view of the circular hydroplane board with a combined topside device according to FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a top plan view of a circular hydroplane board with a topside device according to the present invention, showing a separate speed rail and a bumper;

FIG. 5 is a bottom plan view of the circular hydroplane board with topside device according to FIG. 4;

FIG. 6 is an enlarged side view of a portion of a circular hydroplane board with a topside device according to the present invention, showing a speed rail and a bumper;

FIG. 7 is an elevational view of a circular hydroplane board with a topside device according to the present invention, showing a separate speed rail and a bumper;

FIG. 8 is an enlarged side view of a portion of a circular hydroplane board with a topside device according to the present invention, showing a bumper;

FIG. 9 is an enlarged side view of a portion of a circular hydroplane board with a topside device according to the present invention, showing a speed rail;

FIG. 10 is an enlarged side view of a portion of a circular hydroplane board with a topside device according to the present invention, showing a speed rail;

FIG. 11 is an enlarged side view of a portion of a circular hydroplane board with a topside device according to the present invention, showing a speed rail;

FIG. 12 is an enlarged side view of a portion of a circular hydroplane board with a topside device according to the present invention, showing a speed rail;

FIG. 13 is a top plan view of a topside device according to the present invention, showing a curved rail device;

FIG. 14 is a top plan view of a topside device according to the present invention, showing bumper segments;

FIG. 15 is a top plan view of a combined topside device according to the present invention, showing a speed rail portion and a bumper portion;

FIG. 16 is a cross-sectional view of the circular hydroplane board with a combined topside device according to FIG. 15; and

FIG. 17 is a top plan view of a topside device according to the present invention, showing rail segments.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

In the following description, like reference characters designate like or corresponding parts throughout the several views. Also, in the following description, it is to be understood that such terms as “front,” “back,” “within,” and the like are words of convenience and are not to be construed as limiting terms. Referring in more detail to the drawings, the invention will now be described.

The present invention includes a generally circular-shaped hydroplane, or skim, board 10 comprising a topside device 20. The circular-shaped hydroplane board 10 has a substantially planar, bottom side 11a and a substantially planar, top side 11b terminating at an outer edge, or lip 12. Referring first to FIGS. 1 through 3, the topside device 20 extends along the topside outer edge 12 of the circular hydroplane board 10, and defines the periphery of the hydroplane board when viewed from the top of the board (see FIG. 1). In this embodiment, the topside device 20 comprises a combined bumper portion 13a and speed rail portion 14a, and extends upwardly from the top side 11b of the hydroplane board. The bumper portion 13a of the combined topside device 20 also extends outwardly from the topside outer edge 12 of the board. The speed rail portion 14a extends around the inner side of the bumper portion 13a.

The topside device 20 on the circular hydroplane board preferably comprises both a speed rail portion 14a and a bumper portion 13a, which may be combined (into one structure), as illustrated in FIG. 3, or separate from one another (see FIG. 7). Alternatively, a circular hydroplane board herein may include either a bumper or a speed rail. The bumper acts as a shock absorber and cushions any impact that occurs between the hydroplane board 10 and another person or inanimate object, such as a rock, a piling, or driftwood lying on a beach. The bumper covers and cushions the outer edge 12 of the hydroplane board. The edge is therefore less likely to chip or crack when it strikes a hard object. If the hydroplane board 10 with its bumper collides with a person, the wide, rounded, soft bumper hits the person rather than the hard outer edge 12 of the hydroplane board. The user or bystander is unlikely to be cut by the soft edge of the hydroplane board bumper. Thus, the topside device 20 prevents injuries.

FIGS. 4 through 7 depict a hydroplane board with a topside device 30 comprising a bumper 13 along the edge of the hydroplane board, and a separate speed rail 14. As seen in FIG. 6, the speed rail 14 comprises a sloped topside rail inner edge 21, which is in contact with the top side 11b of the hydroplane board 10. As seen in FIG. 6, the arch-shaped speed rail 14 gradually slopes upwardly from the top side 11b of the board until it reaches an apex 23, at which point it gradually slopes downwardly from the apex 23 until it reaches the topside rail outer edge 24. The topside rail outer edge 24 also contacts the top side 11b of the hydroplane board 10. The speed rail 14 is centered on the hydroplane board 10 near its edge. When viewed from the top, the topside rail inner edge 21, apex 23, and topside rail outer edge 24 form concentric circles, with the topside rail inner edge 21 as the innermost circle, the topside rail outer edge 25 as the outermost circle, and the apex 23 in the middle (see FIGS. 4 and 7).

Continuing with FIGS. 4 through 7, the bumper 13 is adjacent to the speed rail 14. The bumper inner edge 15 contacts the top side of the hydroplane board 10. The bumper inner edge 15 is centered on the top side 11b of the hydroplane board 10 such that it is encircled by and concentric with the outer edge 12 of the board. The bumper 13 gradually curves upwardly and outwardly from the top side 11b of the board. The bumper exposed edge 19 extends beyond the outer edge of the board, and engages the outer edge, or lip, 12 of the hydroplane board 10, which is preferably flat to facilitate adhesion of the bumper (see FIG. 6). As seen in FIG. 7, the bumper 13 obscures the relatively outer edge 12 of the board. The bumper 13 may have a greater height than the speed rail 14, or vice versa, or they may be approximately the same height as seen in FIG. 6.

As illustrated in FIG. 6 and 7, an annular space 26 may exist between the bumper 13 and the speed rail 14. Alternatively, the speed rail 14 may transition into the bumper 13 without an intervening space.

FIG. 8 depicts a circular hydroplane board with a bumper 13 only. The inner edge 15 of the bumper 13 contacts the circular hydroplane board 10 on the top side 11b. The outer edge of the bumper 13 extends out over the outer edge 12 of the board. The exposed edge 19 of the bumper 13 gradually curves upwardly from the top side outer edge of the board 12. At a point approximately above the outer board edge 12, the apex 17 of the bumper gradually curves downwardly towards the top side 11b again, before turning inwardly to meet and engage the hydroplane board 10. An outer, rounded edge 19 of the bumper 13 obscures the relatively sharp, outer edge 12 of the board, thus protecting bystanders from contact with a loose, flying hydroplane board, and incidentally protecting the hydroplane board from contact with a hard object, such as a rock.

The bumper 13 is preferably hump-shaped, and extends around the periphery of the hydroplane board. Preferably, the width of the bumper 13, from the outer, rounded bumper edge 19 to the inner bumper edge 15, is between about three and about four inches, most preferably about two inches. As seen in FIG. 8, the exposed bumper edge 19 is oriented substantially perpendicularly to the top side 11b of the board. The bumper is preferably about ¼ inch to one inch in height (above the top side 11b of the hydroplane board 10).

The topside device 20 is preferably manufactured separately from the hydroplane board 10 and attached thereto using a suitable waterproof adhesive, for example. Alternatively, the topside device 20 and the hydroplane board 10 may be formed from a single piece of material. Where the topside device 20 is separate from the hydroplane board, it may be attached to the board by any conventional means including, but not limited to, glue, adhesive, nails, and screws. The topside device 20 may be made of rubber, wood, or a composite material.

The speed rail 14 allows the user to exert a greater forward force on the hydroplane board 10 when he/she mounts the hydroplane board 10, enabling the user to increase forward velocity. In order to use any skim or hydroplane board, the user runs and jumps onto its top side. When the user's feet contact the top side, his/her forward motion or force (his/her mass×his/her instantaneous acceleration), and therefore his/her instantaneous velocity, is translated to the hydroplane board. However, the user's ability to maintain contact with the top side limits the forward force and instantaneous velocity. The forward force cannot exceed the maximum frictional force between the user's feet and the top side of the board. If the forward force exceeds the maximum frictional force, the user loses contact with the hydroplane board. Without meaning to be bound by theory, it is believed that the present topside device 20 removes this maximum frictional force limit.

It is believed that the topside device 20 is advantageous in that it changes the vector between the user's feet and the top side 11b to an ideal 90 degrees. The topside device 20 directs the user's forward force vector entirely into the hydroplane board 10. Thus, a user with a given mass can apply a greater instantaneous velocity to the hydroplane board 10. Similarly, a user applying a given instantaneous velocity to the hydroplane board 10 may have a greater mass.

The combined topside device 20 also provides a surface for application of minor radial forces by the user. The device 20 provides a surface for bracing the user against centripetal forces. It provides a surface for off-center application of the user's forward force vector. This facilitates simultaneous spinning and skimming of the circular hydroplane board.

FIG. 9 shows a circular board with a speed rail 14 only. A second annular space 32 lies between the outer edge 12 of the board and the speed rail 14. FIGS. 9 through 12 show several possible variations of the speed rail 14. On the hydroplane board shown in FIG. 9, the speed rail device 14 gradually slopes upwardly to the apex 23 and then gradually slopes downwardly to the topside rail outer edge 24. The speed rail device 14 is generally convex between the topside rail inner edge 21 and the apex 23 and the apex 23 and the topside rail outer edge 24, respectively. The topside rail inner and outer edges 21 and 24 meet the top side 11b at obtuse angles. The speed rail device 14 provides the user with a 90 degree angle for comfortable and secure landings. It allows the user to jump onto the moving hydroplane board without losing his or her balance or overrunning the board. In this position, the rail device allows the hydroplane board to spin when the user is on-board without the board digging into the sand on one side, which could interrupt the ride.

Referring to FIG. 10, a cliff-shaped speed rail 14b gradually slopes upwardly to the apex 23 on one side. The sloped rail accommodates the heel of the user when the hydroplane board with rail device 40 is in use. From the apex 23, the speed rail 14b abruptly slopes downwardly at approximately a ninety (90) degree angle. The speed rail 14b is generally convex between the topside rail inner edge 21 and the apex 23, and generally concave between the apex 23 and the topside rail outer edge 24.

Referring to FIG. 11, a speed rail 14c gradually slopes upwardly from the topside rail inner edge 21 to the apex 23, and then gradually slopes downwardly to the topside rail outer edge 24. This provides additional surface area with the board for maximum adhesion. The speed rail 14c generally has a constant slope between the topside rail inner edge 21 and the apex 23, and the apex 23 and the topside rail outer edge 24.

FIG. 12 illustrates a speed rail 14d that gradually slopes upwardly to the apex 23. From the apex 23, the speed rail 14d gradually slopes downwardly then abruptly slopes downwardly such that the topside rail outer edge 24 meets the top side 11b at about a ninety (90) degree angle. The speed rail 14d generally has a constant slope between the topside rail inner edge 21, and is generally concave between the apex 23 and the topside rail outer edge 24. The topside rail inner edge 21 meets the top side at an obtuse angle.

Of course, other variations in the shape of the speed rail 14, 14b-d are possible. For example, between the topside rail inner edge 21 and the apex 23, the speed rail 14, 14b-d may be generally concave, convex, or planar. Between the apex 23 and the topside rail outer edge 24, the speed rail 14, 14b-d may be generally concave, convex, or planar. The topside rail inner edge 21 may meet the top side 11b at an acute, obtuse, or about ninety (90) degree angle. The topside rail outer edge 24 may meet the top side 11b at an acute, obtuse, or approximately a ninety (90) degree angle. The speed rail 14, 14b-d simply rises from the top side 11b to the apex 23 and then falls to encounter the top side 11b.

In regard to the hydroplane board itself, the bottom side 11a of the hydroplane board 10 has a first diameter that is smaller than a second diameter of the top side 11b. The first diameter of the circular hydroplane board 10 should suit the size and ability of the user. The second diameter (top side of the hydroplane board) is preferably about one to two inches less than the first diameter. Although the bottom edge of the hydroplane board preferably is tapered, the top side 11b of the hydroplane board 10 is preferably not tapered. Smoothly tapered lower side rails 31 connect the bottom side 11a of the board to the top side 11b. The bottom side 11 a of the hydroplane board has a co-efficient of friction between a hydroplaning surface, such as sand, and a layer of water over the hydroplaning surface that is lower than a co-efficient of friction between the top side 11b and the user's feet. The bottom side 11a of the board is coated with marine varnish or polyurethane. Preferred embodiments of the hydroplane board 10 have a bottom side diameter of between about one and about two inches less than the top side diameter, and a thickness of about half the difference between the bottom side and top side diameters.

The hydroplane board 10 is not intended to be towed behind a boat or the like, so the hydroplane board 10 does not comprise a towing means, seating means, or steering means. Rather, the hydroplane board 10 is utilized for personal skim boarding, or hydroplaning, along an edge of a body of water, such as the ocean or lake shore. The hydroplane board is not intended for surfing, and preferably does not include a skeg or any other attachment to the bottom side of the hydroplane board. The bottom side of the instant hydroplane board is smooth so that it skims along on the water.

The speed rail assists the user in mounting the hydroplane board 10 by providing a visual guide. The user spots the speed rail while he/she is running alongside the moving board, and attempts to place his/her feet directly in front of the speed rail for best operation.

Alternatively, the present invention is a topside device, such as a speed rail 14 and/or a circular bumper 13, for attachment to an existing circular hydroplane board 10. The topside device 30 comprises:

    • 1) a curved, flexible speed rail 14 attachable to the top side of the hydroplane board 10, so that it extends upwardly from the top side of the hydroplane board and is substantially parallel to at least a portion of an outer edge of the circular-shaped hydroplane board, as described hereinabove (see FIGS. 4-7), the speed rail comprising a substantially flat bottom, an arched top, and at least one tapered side, as seen in FIGS. 6 and 9; and/or
    • 2) a malleable bumper 13 attachable to the outer edge of the hydroplane board 10, the bumper 13 comprising a rounded top 17, a tapered inside edge 15 and a rounded outer edge 19, a portion of the bottom (see 35) of the bumper being substantially planar (see FIGS. 1, 4, and 16). The bumper 13 preferably extends beyond the outer edge of the hydroplane board 10, as shown in FIGS. 7 and 8, to protect the edge of the hydroplane board. At least a portion of the bumper is attachable to the top side of the hydroplane board adjacent to the speed rail 14.

The speed rail 14 directs the forward force vector entirely into the hydroplane board 10 like the topside device 20, thus allowing for an increase in instantaneous velocity or mass of the user. Also like the topside device 20, the bumper 13 shields any innocent bystanders from the relatively sharp, outer edge 12 of the moving hydroplane board 10. It lessens impact between the moving hydroplane board 10 and any stationary or moving object.

In order to utilize the hydroplane board 10 with the topside device 20, 30, 40 of the present invention, the user places the hydroplane board 10 in the shallow water on the beach; pushes the hydroplane board forward; jogs or runs towards the hydroplane board 10; and jumps onto the hydroplane board 10. The user may continually dismount and remount the hydroplane board while hydroplaning along the water's edge. The user may dismount the hydroplane board 10 when it slows; push and accelerate the hydroplane board 10 in a direction opposite to the dismount while he/she is dismounting; remount the hydroplane board 10; and the user may repeat these steps to continually dismount and remount while hydroplaning. Also, the user may further spin the hydroplane board 10 in the shallow water, holding the hydroplane board 10 in place in the water with centripetal force, then pushing the hydroplane board forward. The user may spin the hydroplane board 10 with his or her foot. The topside device of the present invention facilitates these movements.

Referring to FIG. 13, the speed rail 29 may be curved as shown in FIG. 13, rather than ring-shaped as shown attached to a hydroplane board 10 in FIG. 4. Advantages of a curved speed rail 29 include the following:

    • 1) The curved speed rail 29 serves as a visual aid to show the user where to place his or her feet during the mount;
      It facilitates mounting the hydroplane board when the board is moving, since half the board is free of any speed rail;
    • 2) It makes an interesting, circular visual pattern when the user spins the hydroplane board, particularly when the speed rail is brightly colored or swirled; and
    • 3) When the rail is to the side, the curved speed rail facilitates radial motion and forward motion.
      The curved speed rail 29 has a curved topside rail inner edge 21 concentric to its curved topside rail outer edge 24. The topside rail outer edge 24 is adjacent to the inner bumper edge 15. The outer bumper edge 19 extends beyond and protects the outer edge 12 of the hydroplane board 12. The ends 33 of the curved speed rail 29 are tapered to meet the surface of the hydroplane board.

Referring to FIG. 14, the bumper may be segmented as shown in FIG. 14, rather than ring-shaped as shown in FIG. 1. Although four bumper segments 34 are depicted in FIG. 14, there may be more or fewer bumper segments. The outer edge 12 of the hydroplane board is visible between the bumper segments 34. The bumper segments 34 are attachable to the hydroplane board by peeling a paper tape from an adhesive area 35a on the bottom of each bumper segment 34, or by any other suitable means. Alternatively, the bumper segments 34 may be applied to the board 10 by applying a waterproof adhesive to the edges of the bumper segment and clasping it around the outer board edge 12, or by any other suitable means. Advantages of a segmented bumper 34 include the following:

    • 1) Little bumper material is used;
    • 2) A segmented bumper 34 works as well as a circular bumper 13, as long as the gaps between the bumper segments are not longer than the bumper segments; and
    • 3) Bumper segments 34 are easy to install on an existing circular hydroplane board. A speed rail 14, 14a-d, 29 may also be attached to this hydroplane board, if desired, in addition to, or instead of, bumper segments 34 or a bumper 13. The speed rail may also be comprised of a number of rail segments 29b (see FIG. 17).

Referring to FIGS. 15 and 16, a combined topside device 20 comprises a speed rail portion 14a and bumper portion 13a, which are described hereinabove. The speed rail portion 14a extends around the inner side of the bumper portion 13a. The combined topside device 20 is attachable to a circular hydroplane board as depicted in FIGS. 1 and 3. The combined topside device 20 is attachable to a circular hydroplane board 10 by applying a waterproof adhesive to the edges of the combined topside device and pressing it against the outer edge of the hydroplane board, by peeling a paper tape off an adhesive area 35 on the bottom of the topside device 20, as shown in FIG. 16, or by any other suitable means.

Continuing with FIGS. 15 and 16, the bumper portion 13a of the combined topside device 20 acts as a shock absorber and cushions any impact that occurs between the hydroplane board 10 and another person or inanimate object, such as a rock, a piling, or driftwood lying on a beach. The bumper portion 13a cushions the relatively sharp, outer edge 12 of the hydroplane board, so the edge is less likely to chip or crack when the board strikes a hard object. If the hydroplane board 10 with its bumper collides with a person, the wide, rounded, soft bumper hits the person rather than the relatively sharp, outer edge 12 of the hydroplane board. The topside device 20 prevents injuries. The speed rail portion 14a provides the user with an angled foothold for comfortable and secure landings and enhanced control of the hydroplane board. It allows the user to jump onto the moving hydroplane board without losing his or her balance or overrunning the moving board.

The speed rail 14 is substantially parallel to at least a portion of an outer edge of the circular-shaped hydroplane board, as shown in FIG. 4. The speed rail 14 is preferably ring-shaped and of a size sufficient to generally encircle a center of the top side of the hydroplane board 10, as shown in FIG. 4. Preferably, the two opposite sides of the speed rail are tapered to meet the board, as shown in FIGS. 6, 9 and 11 (at 21 and 24). Where both are employed on a board, the speed rail 14 is parallel to the bumper 13, and the speed rail 14 and the bumper 13 are both ring-shaped, a diameter of the speed rail being smaller than a diameter of the bumper. The two are preferably made of a flexible waterproof material such as a natural or synthetic rubber.

In an alternate embodiment, the bumper is a plurality of bumper segments 34, as shown in FIG. 14, each of the bumper segments 34 being attachable to the hydroplane board 10. The bottom of the bumper segments 34 preferably comprises a waterproof adhesive, so a user can press the bumper segments onto his or her board. Preferably three to six matching segments 34 are employed, with the distance between the segments not exceeding the length of the segments.

Turning to FIG. 17, the speed rail may be comprised of a number of rail segments 29b, preferably three to five segments 29b. Each of the rail segments is attachable to the hydroplane board 10. The bottom of the rail segments 29b preferably comprises a waterproof adhesive, so a user can press the rail segments onto his or her board, preferably forming a curved shape on the board, as shown in FIG. 17.

From the foregoing it can be realized that the described device of the present invention may be easily and conveniently utilized as a hydroplane board topside device for directing forces into the circular hydroplane board of the invention, and/or absorbing forces encountered by the circular hydroplane board. It is to be understood that any dimensions given herein are illustrative, and are not meant to be limiting.

While preferred embodiments of the invention have been described using specific terms, this description is for illustrative purposes only. It will be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art that various modifications, substitutions, omissions, and changes may be made without departing from the spirit or scope of the invention, and that such are intended to be within the scope of the present invention as defined by the following claims. It is intended that the doctrine of equivalents be relied upon to determine the fair scope of these claims in connection with any other person's product which fall outside the literal wording of these claims, but which in reality do not materially depart from this invention. Without further analysis, the foregoing will so fully reveal the gist of the present invention that others can, by applying current knowledge, readily adapt it for various applications without omitting features that, from the standpoint of prior art, fairly constitute essential characteristics of the generic or specific aspects of this invention.

Brief List of Reference Numbers Used in the Drawings

  • 10 circular hydroplane board
  • 11a bottom side of board
  • 11b top side of board
  • 12 topside outer edge of board
  • 13a bumper portion
  • 13 bumper
  • 14a speed rail portion
  • 14b-d circular speed rails
  • 15 inner bumper edge
  • 16 bottom side outer edge of board
  • 17 apex of bumper
  • 19 outer, rounded bumper edge
  • 20 combined topside device
  • 21 topside rail inner edge
  • 22 inner edge of topside device
  • 23 apex of speed rail
  • 24 topside rail outer edge
  • 26 annular space
  • 27 board with bumper
  • 29 curved speed rail
  • 29b speed rail segments
  • 30 topside device with bumper and rail
  • 31 lower side rails
  • 32 second annular space
  • 33 ends of speed rail
  • 34 bumper segments
  • 35 adhesive area on topside device
  • 40 board with rail device