Title:
Soft and Safe rail wrap technology for Surfboards
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention relates to a process of wrapping a foam core surfboard shape with ¼″ slick foam skins via heat transfer. The heat transferred “foam stacked rail configurations” allow “pinstripes” to outline the outer edges of the board. They also allow a unique and very difficult to build rounded “wrap” from top to bottom that is high performance, yet soft and safe. The soft and safe rail wrap technology can be applied to conventional surfboards that allow the high performance of conventional surfboards with a very marketable “safety feature” especially important to beginning surfers/board riders.



Inventors:
Hayward, Louis (Carsbin, CA, US)
Application Number:
10/908913
Publication Date:
11/30/2006
Filing Date:
05/31/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B63B35/79
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
AVILA, STEPHEN P
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
FURR LAW FIRM (UTICA, OH, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A device comprising: a core with a plurality of slick foam skins bonded through a bonding means to said cores flat sides.

2. A device according to claim 1 further comprising where said bonding means is heat transfer.

3. A device according to claim 1 further comprising where a stringer is bonded to said core blank.

4. A device according to claim 1 further comprising where a fiberglass side is bonded through a bonding means to a plurality of said cores flat sides.

5. A device according to claim 1 further comprising where a plurality of strips of said slick foam are boned to the sides of the core.

6. A device according to claim 1 further comprising where skins from a pinstripe.

7. A device according to claim 1 further comprising where said core is formed of a closed pore polypropylene foam.

8. A device according to claim 1 further comprising where excess skin material is removed through a removing means to form pinstripes.

9. A device according to claim 1 further comprising where indicia is applied to said device.

10. A device according to claim 1 further comprising where rubber fins are attached to said device.

11. A device comprising: a core with a plurality of slick foam skins bonded through a bonding means to said cores flat sides where said core is a molded blank.

12. A device according to claim 11 further comprising where said bonding means is heat transfer.

13. A device according to claim 11 further comprising where stringers are positioned in said molded blank's mold prior to pouring material into said mold.

14. A device according to claim 11 further comprising where a fiberglass side is bonded through a bonding means to a plurality of said cores flat sides.

15. A device according to claim 11 further comprising where a plurality of strips of said slick foam are boned to the sides of the core.

16. A device according to claim 11 further comprising where skins from a pinstripe.

17. A device according to claim 11 further comprising where said core is formed of a closed pore polypropylene foam.

18. A device according to claim 11 further comprising where excess skin material is removed through a removing means to form pinstripes.

19. A device according to claim 11 further comprising where indicia is applied to said device.

20. A device according to claim 11 further comprising where rubber fins are attached to said device.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF INVENTION

This invention relates to a water sports device and the method of manufacturing a water sports device, more particularly the use of soft and safe rail wrap technology.

1. Background

There are currently in use many designs of surf boards, body boards and the like for riding on waves in water. Bodyboards, surf boards and other buoyant boards used in water sports are normally composed of a laminated structure in which a center core has joined to it a top deck skin and a bottom skin. The sides of the boards may include a rail and a chine. Normally, the thickness of the board is about 2 ½ inches in the center of the board. There are a variety of different configurations such as a tail configuration and the nose configuration. Flutes may be provided in the bottom surface of the board.

Surfboards and bodyboards may include a variable flexure characteristic. Flexure in the nose area is needed for what is known as “power turns” and strength in the mid and tail sections which may be required for speed. The nose section may be configured to permit corner flexing or flexing along the entire nose section. In general, the bottom skin is smooth, tough and scratch resistant to reduce friction and allow

for speed over the water. The upper surface of the surfboard or body board is usually textured to provide relative slip resistance. A lighter weight board is desired since a lighter weight board will displace less water. This will result in increased speed.

In recent years, the use of closed pore polypropylene foam as a core material for surfboards and bodyboards has become increasingly popular. One of the problems in using polypropylene foam as a core is the difficulty in joining other components to the core. In large part the difficulty stems from the desire to laminate to the core a polymer that is different from polypropylene in order to obtain specific characteristics in the finished board product.

Surfboards traditionally have hard edges which can hit and injure a surfboarder or those around him or her. This is a real safety issue especially with a younger or new surfboarder.

PRIOR ART

U.S. Pat. No. 6,712,657 by Echecopar and issued on Mar. 30, 2004, is for a manufacturing process for surfboards and bodyboards and articles of manufacture. The method includes cutting a board from a block to a predetermined shape and dimensions.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,652,340 by Mollin and issued on Nov. 25, 2003, is for a surfboard and method for its manufacture. It discloses a surfboard formed from a pair of lightweight shell elements which may be of a polycarbonate which is see through, plexiglass or other material having a high strength and low weight.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,036,560 by Pekar and issued on Mar. 14, 2000, is for a variable flexible stringer, bodyboard and method. It discloses a variable flexible bodyboard, which includes at least one variable, flexible stringer rod. The stringer rod composed of a material to impart stiffness to the body of the bodyboard, such as a fiber-resin material, and a material to impart flexibility to the front nose area of the bodyboard, such as a polyethylene material. It is assigned to Earth & Ocean Sports, Inc.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,944,570 by Appleby and issued on Aug. 31, 1999, is for a surf riding craft. It discloses a shaped water surfboard which has a prestressed center stringer with a foam core element located on each side of the stringer to form a center core element.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,807,152 by Wojcik and issued on Sep. 15, 1998, is for a surfboard and method of making same. It discloses lightweight, high-strength flotation devices such as surfboards, sailboards and body boards that can be inexpensively manufactured from plastic sheet materials using thermo-vacuum forming techniques.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,489,228 by Richardson, et al. and issued on Feb. 6, 1996, is for a water sports board. U.S. Pat. No. 5,380,768 by Cranston, et al. and issued on Jan. 10, 1995, is for a foam, foam-resin composite and method of making a foam-resin composite. It discloses foam, a foam-resin composite and a method of making foam-resin composites. U.S. Pat. No. 4,664,974 and U.S. Pat. No. 4,510,105 by Sherwood and issued on May 12, 1987 and Apr. 9, 1985 respectively, is for a surface-reinforced foam article. It discloses an improved method for molding an article having a core of foam and a surface reinforced by fiberglass cloth or the like, which enables more rapid setup for molding and which creates a stronger and more uniform article.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,275,860 by D'Luzansky, et al. and issued on Jan. 4, 1994, is for a foam product for recreational products. It discloses surf boards and bodyboards and the like used for water sports and wherein the board includes a core foam which is a closed pore or closed cell foam to which is directly bonded an upper and lower skin.

U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,806,302 and 4,713,032 by Frank and issued on Feb. 21, 1989, are for a method of manufacturing sailboards and surfboards. They disclose a method of making a sailboard or surfboard, in which a prefabricated foam core has fibrous material wound about it and resin specially set and where a reaction retarder is poured onto the fibrous material, whereupon the thus treated foam core is inserted in a molding tool and the mold is closed for curing the resin.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,255,221 by Young and issued on Mar. 10, 1981, is for a surfboard and method and apparatus for making surfboards and like molded structures. It discloses a surfboard having a central core of relatively soft and/or light material such as balsa wood or foamed plastic and a laminated outer skin construction, along with a method and apparatus for making the surfboard or a similar article.

There is still room for improvement in the art.

SUMMARY OF INVENTION

The present invention relates to a process of wrapping a foam core surfboard shape with ¼″ slick foam skins via heat transfer. The heat transferred “foam stacked rail configurations” allow “pinstripes” to outline the outer edges of the board. They also allow a unique and very difficult to build rounded “wrap” from top to bottom that is high performance, yet soft and safe. The soft and safe rail wrap technology can be applied to conventional surfboards that allow the high performance of conventional surfboards with a very marketable “safety feature” especially important to beginning surfers/board riders.

It is an object of this invention to provide surfboards and bodyboards with a soft and harmless surface for the user and a process for manufacturing these articles.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

Without restricting the full scope of this invention, the preferred form of this invention is illustrated in the following drawings:

FIG. 1 shows a water sport device;

FIG. 2 shows a blank;

FIG. 3 shows a pattern being used to cut the blank;

FIG. 4 displays foam core surfboard shape with ¼″ slick foam skins via heat transfer;

FIG. 5 shows the layers;

FIG. 6 displays the strips;

FIG. 7 shows a molded blank;

FIG. 8 shows a molded blank with one fiberglass side;

FIG. 9 shows a molded blank with two fiberglass side;

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The following description is demonstrative in nature and is not intended to limit the scope of the invention or its application of uses.

There are a number of significant design features and improvements incorporated within the invention.

The present invention relates to a process of wrapping a foam core surfboard shape with ¼″ slick foam skins via heat transfer. The heat transferred “foam stacked rail configurations” allow “pinstripes” to outline the outer edges of the board. They also allow a unique and very difficult to build rounded “wrap” from top to bottom that is high performance, yet soft and safe. The soft and safe rail wrap technology can be applied to conventional surfboards that allow the high performance of conventional surfboards with a very marketable “safety feature” especially important to beginning surfers/board riders. This process it is possible to cover other similar uses and water sport devices 1 including all other boards such as river boards, skim boards, wake boards, etc.

As shown in FIG. 1, the current invention uses a foam core 10 in the proper surfboard or body board shape to form the water sport device 1. The foam can consist of closed pore polypropylene foam or other suitable material. There is a characteristic in the shape of a surfboard or body board known as “rocker”. This refers to the bending up from the centerline of the surfboard or body board. There is overall rocker, nose rocker and tail rocker. The rocker affects the speed of the board and the control characteristics of a board. Rocker usually affects the ability of the board to plane above the uneven surface of the water. Most experts agree that a good rocker involves a gentle curve upward from about ⅓ back from the nose with a resulting rise from the bottom of the board to about 1½ inches at the nose. The other ⅔ of the board should be flat or have a very small amount of rise from about ⅓ back from the nose.

Currently, the manufacturing of a surf board or body board is very labor intensive and expensive. As shown in FIG. 2, blocks 5 of pore polypropylene foam or other suitable material, such as polyethylene, Arcel foam and beaded Polypropoleneare, glued together with stringers 15, which are made of fiber glass or wood or same other similar type material, in-between the blocks. The stringers 15 add rigidity to the water sport device 1. A plurality of stringers is used depending on the rigidity that is desired.

The combined blocks and stringers form an unfinished blank 25. As shown in FIG. 3, a pattern 35 is laid over the unfinished blank 25 and the unfinished blank 25 is cut by a jigsaw into the desired pattern forming a shaped blank 45.

This shaped blank 45 has flat edges 47 and a block shape. The flat edges 47 must be shaped into curved edges for the final product through sanding or lathing. This is a very labor insensitive process and if a mistake is made then the whole shaped blank 45 must be throw away as not usable. The shaped blank 45 must be sanded for a smooth surface.

As shown in FIG. 4, the shaped blank 45 is wrapped in slick foam skins 20 which are bonded to the core 10 via a heat transfer 300. In the preferred embodiment, ¼″ slick foam skins are used. The heat transfer 300 can be any standard heat transfer means used in the industry. The rollers 310 press the foam skins 20 to the shape blank 45 bonding it to the flat sides of the shaped blank 45. The slick foam skins 20 are rolled off of a roll 30 of the slick foam skin. The slick foam skin 20 is bonded to both of the flat sides of the core 10. In the preferred embodiment, one layer of the slick foam skin 20 is bonded to one side of the core 10. The core 10 is turned and the slick foam skin 20 is bonded to the other side of the core 10.

In prior art, excess foam skin 22 beyond the edges had to be used. This excess foam skin 22 was used to cover the curved edges of the shaped blank 45. This process creates a lot of waste of the excess foam skin 22 that had to be thrown away.

FIG. 5 displays the layers of the water sports device 1. There is the foam core layer 110 and the top and the bottom slick foam skin layers 120 and side foam skin layer 125. The slick foam skins 20 are wrapped around the core 1. In one embodiment of the water sport device 1 and method to make the water sport device 1, the side of the slick foam skins that is not being bonded to the core 10 has a slick friction reducing surface 80 such as a polymer, laminated, vinyl or other such surface. This friction reducing surface 80 would reduce the friction of the device 1 when it was being used in the water.

In the current invention, as shown in FIG. 6 a strip 26 or a plurality of strips 26 of the slick foam, or a similar material, can also be bonded to the sides or rail of the water sport device 1. This is done to the flat edges 47 of the shaped blank 45. The strips 26 can be bonded through any standard bonding means such as the application of a heat source. The slick foam strips 26 can be easily cut into forming curved edges so that the shaped blank does not need to be lathed or sanded to form these edges. This eliminates a very time intensive and expensive step. It also eliminates the need for excess foam skin 22 saving material and reducing waste.

As shown in FIG. 6, the excess slick foam skin material 20 and strip 26 is removed from the water sport device 1. The removing of this excess material 40 reviles the pinstripes 50 on the water sport device 1. The excess material 40 is removed using a removal means such as a heat cutter or blade.

More than one layer of the slick foam skin 20 can be applied to the flat sides of the core 10. This will produce a multiple number of pinstripes 50. A variety of colors of the slick foam skin 20 can be used for artistic purposes. The other side of the slick foam skins 20 can have designs or foils emblems designating the making of the water sport device 1.

The production of a shaped blank 45 is still a time intensive process. The solution is a molded blank 55. A molded blank 55 is a blank that has been made out of a pore polypropylene foam, polyethylene, Arcel foam and beaded Polypropoleneare or similar material that has been pored into an aluminum or some other type of mold. This molds would have the stringers 15 positioned in the mold prior to pouring the pore polypropylene foam material into the mold. As shown in FIG. 7, this would produce a blank that does not need to be glued, have the stringers applied, cut, sanded and shaped reducing a large amount of labor intensive steps while reducing any chance of waste.

The molded blank 55 can have the slick foam skin 20 applied to it in the same manner as a shaped blank 45 with the strips 26 applied to the edges of the board. This produces a water sports device 1 that is good for a beginner as the foam skin and strips as softer surfaces that will not hurt the users if it hits them in use.

For faster water sports device 1 for a more experienced user, the molded blank 55 can also have foam skin 20 applied to the top side and a fiberglass surface 27 or similar material epoxy or connected on to the bottom side as shown in FIG. 8. This would produce a more rigid faster board. The strips 26 would be used in this configuration. It produces a soft edge for greater safety. It also serves to makes sure that the fiberglass surface 27 does not lift up at the edges of the board 1.

For a even faster water sports device 1 for an experienced user, the molded blank 55 can also have a fiberglass surface 27 or similar material epoxy or connected on to the bottom side and top side as shown in FIG. 9. This would produce a more rigid faster board. The strips 26 would be used in this configuration. It produces a soft edge for greater safety. It also serves to makes sure that the fiberglass surface 27 does not lift up at the edges of the board 1.

Once the molded blank 55 has been covered, fins, designs and indicia can be added to produce a finished water sports device 1. Rubber fins are used for the water sports devices 1 for the less experience users. This reduces the chance for injury.

The molded blank 55 gives allows a user to use a board or water sports device through out their lives based on their experiences. When they are learning they can use the softer slower boards. When they have more experience they can use the faster boards. But each of these boards will have the same shape and feel to them. This will be a big advantage to the user as they gain in experience.

CONCLUSION

The process and water sport device provides a soft board that is safer to use, cheaper to make and allows the pin striping.

Although the present invention has been described in considerable detail with reference to certain preferred versions thereof, other versions are possible. Therefore, the point and scope of the appended claims should not be limited to the description of the preferred versions contained herein.

As to a further discussion of the manner of usage and operation of the present invention, the same should be apparent from the above description. Accordingly, no further discussion relating to the manner of usage and operation will be provided.

With respect to the above description, it is to be realized that the optimum dimensional relationships for the parts of the invention, to include variations in size, materials, shape, form, function and manner of operation, assembly and use, are deemed readily apparent and obvious to one skilled in the art, and all equivalent relationships to those illustrated in the drawings and described in the specification are intended to be encompassed by the present invention.

Therefore, the foregoing is considered as illustrative only of the principles of the invention. Further, since numerous modifications and changes will readily occur to those skilled in the art, it is not desired to limit the invention to the exact construction and operation shown and described, and accordingly, all suitable modifications and equivalents may be resorted to, falling within the scope of the invention.