Title:
Shock absorbing and energy return system for board sports
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A skiing mechanism comprises an elongated board, a first plate and a second spring plate, comprised of two separate & fastened material(s), one continuous material, or one spring plate integrated with board at manufacture. The first spring plate includes an angled section with a first predetermined cant directed toward the tip of the board. This angled section is separated from the board by a first distance. Furthermore, the second spring includes a section angled according to a second predetermined cant directed toward the tail of the board. This section of the second spring plate is separated from the board by a second distance.



Inventors:
Carpenter, Quiché John (Bonsall, CA, US)
Application Number:
12/454670
Publication Date:
11/26/2009
Filing Date:
05/21/2009
Assignee:
Carpenter, Quiché John (Bonsall, CA, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63C9/02
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20040032119Control of an anti-tip wheel in wheelchairsFebruary, 2004Tran et al.
20030168829Bicycle safety training handleSeptember, 2003Merrill
20080100008Structural improvement for ice skate bladeMay, 2008Wan
20080122192BRICK, STONE AND TILE TRANSPORT AND DEPLOYMENT SYSTEMMay, 2008Goodman
20050062247'Helping -cart' for assisting store customersMarch, 2005Sheem
20080211216Coupler for a Vehicle AccessorySeptember, 2008Fortin
20040026883Generator structure for a tri-wheel scooterFebruary, 2004Chen
20060006615Roll stiffness control apparatus of vehicleJanuary, 2006Mizuta
20020074764Bicycle child carrier trailerJune, 2002Allen et al.
20080035408REVERSIBLE DRIVING ARRANGEMENTSFebruary, 2008Gristenbrei et al.
20030085538Shopping cart with locking compartmentMay, 2003Mansons



Primary Examiner:
DOLAK, JAMES M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
QUICHE JOHN CARPENTER (BONSALL, CA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A skiing mechanism comprising: an elongated board having a tip and a tail; and a first spring plate coupled to the board, the first spring plate including a first section attached to the board and a second section angled from the first section according to a first predetermined cant and directed toward the tip of the board, the second section is separated from the board by a first distance; and a second spring plate coupled to the board, the second spring including a first section attached to the board and a second section angled from the first section according to a second predetermined cant and directed toward the tail of the board, the second section is separated from the board by a second distance.

2. The skiing mechanism of claim 1, wherein the board includes a first set of mounting inserts for the first spring plate and a second set of mounting inserts for the second spring plate.

3. The skiing mechanism of claim 2, wherein the first section of the first spring plate includes a plurality of inserts and the second section of the first spring plate includes a boot or foot binding.

4. The skiing mechanism of claim 3, wherein a plurality of fasteners are inserted through the plurality of inserts and attached to the first set of mounting inserts.

5. The skiing mechanism of claim 1, wherein both of the first and second predetermined cants are typically less than twenty degrees.

6. The skiing mechanism of claim 1 further comprising a waterproof material inserted within the first distance between a bottom side of the second section of the first spring plate and a top surface of the board.

7. The skiing mechanism of claim 1, wherein the first and second spring plates are made of a flexible material having substantial properties to return to its unloaded, steady-state position after additional forces applied to the spring plates are discontinued.

8. The skiing mechanism of claim 1, wherein a nominal thickness of the first and second spring plates is sized to approximately one-quarter of an inch when the spring plates are made of a graphite composition and sized for an average weight rider.

9. A skiing mechanism comprising: an elongated board having a first set of mounting inserts and a second set of mounting inserts approximately equidistant from the first set of mounting inserts and a tail of the board; a first spring plate coupled to the board, the first spring plate including (i) a first section having a plurality of inserts corresponding to the first set of mounting inserts for attachment to the board, and (ii) a second section angled from the first section according to a first predetermined cant increasing in separation distance from the board; and a second spring plate coupled to the board, the second spring including (i) a first section having a plurality of inserts corresponding to the second set of mounting inserts for attachment to the board and (ii) a second section angled from the first section according to a second predetermined cant and directed toward the tail of the board, the second section is separated from the board by an increasing distance.

10. The skiing mechanism of claim 9, wherein the second section of the first spring plate includes a boot or foot binding.

11. The skiing mechanism of claim 10, wherein the second section of the second spring plate includes a boot or foot binding.

12. The skiing mechanism of claim 10, wherein a plurality of fasteners are inserted through the plurality of inserts and the first set of mounting inserts.

13. The skiing mechanism of claim 11, wherein a plurality of fasteners are inserted through the plurality of inserts and the first set of mounting inserts.

14. The skiing mechanism of claim 9, wherein both of the first and second predetermined cants are less than twenty degrees.

15. The skiing mechanism of claim 9 further comprising a waterproof material inserted within the first distance between a bottom side of the second section of the first spring plate and a top surface of the board.

16. The skiing mechanism of claim 9, wherein the first and second spring plates are made of a flexible material having substantial properties to return to its unloaded, steady-state position after additional forces applied to the spring plates are discontinued.

17. Attached to a snowboard, a spring plate comprising: a first section including a plurality of inserts corresponding to a first set of mounting inserts placed within the snowboard; and a second section angled from the first section according to a predetermined cant increasing in separation distance from the snowboard, the second section including a boot binding.

18. The spring plate of claim 17, wherein the predetermined cant is approximately 10 degrees.

19. The spring plate of claim 17, wherein the first and second sections are made of a flexible material having substantial properties to return to its unloaded, steady-state position after additional forces applied to the spring plate are discontinued.

20. The spring plate of claim 17 further comprising a plurality of fasteners inserted through the plurality of inserts for attachment to the first set of mounting inserts.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 61/055,892 filed on 23, May 2008.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to the field of sporting equipment. More particularly, the present invention relates to a binding attached to a ski mechanism that allows for increased vertical jumping capability, reduced impact on the rider, and overall performance enhancement.

2. Description of Related Art

Snowboards, wakeboards and similar devices are being used with increasing popularity. A snowboard is a single-ski mechanism that is typically longer than a skateboard, designed for riding on snow. A wakeboard is a single-ski mechanism of similar size for riding on water. Currently, most snowboards & wakeboards (“boards”) are provided with a pair of bindings that are attached diagonally across the top surface of the board. Before riding, a boot (for snowboards) or bare foot (for wakeboards) of the rider is placed within each binding and held in a fixed position. Unlike snow skis, snowboards & wakeboards do not have automatic release capability. The reason is that a rider needs to laterally transfer or to longitudinally transfer his or her center of gravity in order to change directions of the snowboard. This allows the snowboard to carve through the snow instead of sliding over it, without fear of an inadvertent release.

During use, the board yields substantial forces on the bindings as a rider performs turns, lands jumps and the like. These forces reverberate to the rider, which can cause an uncomfortable experience. For example, some riders may experience pain in the feet, ankles, knees, hip joints & lower back.

To provide a more comfortable experience, in prior designs, pads of resilient material have been placed between the bindings and the board. These pads provide some shock absorbing “give” in the binding when the rider performs turns or jumps. However, it is not uncommon for these pads to become dislodged during the activity. In the event that a pad becomes dislodged and the rider is unaware of this mechanical failure, the rider may experience loss of control during a run due to the current, flexible state of the binding. This could cause the rider to loose control during the run and suffer a severe injury. Other designs (Ref's. 1,2,3,4) have incorporated shock-absorbing features into a binding, or have incorporated extra curved surfaces into the board itself (Ref's. 5,6) to absorb shocks. These designs require the rider to purchase an entirely new binding system (Ref's. 1,2,3,4) or new board (Ref's. 5,6) thus increasing the cost.

It is desirable to produce a lightweight binding interface that not only provides a smoother, all-around riding experience, but also increases the performance characteristics of the system, without increasing the rider's risk of injury. It is also desirable to produce a design, which accomplishes the above goals without necessarily requiring the rider to replace existing equipment.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Briefly, one embodiment of the present invention comprises a snow or waterskiing mechanism comprising an elongated board, a first plate and a second cantilevered spring plate. The first plate includes a first section attached to the board and a second section angled from the first section according to a first predetermined cant and directed toward the tip of the board. The second section of the spring plate is separated from the board by a first angle. Furthermore, the second spring includes a first section attached to the board and a second section angled from the first section according to a second predetermined cant and directed toward the tail of the board. The second section of the second spring plate is separated from the board by a second distance.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following detailed description of the present invention in which:

FIG. 1 is an isometric view of a wire frame illustrative embodiment of a snowboard featuring binding mounting inserts, grouped in two sets of four.

FIG. 2 is an illustrative embodiment of a 2-piece spring plate being mounted to a snowboard.

FIG. 3 is an illustrative embodiment of a 2-piece spring plate after being mounted on a snowboard.

FIG. 4 is an illustrative embodiment of a snowboard featuring a pair of 2-piece spring plates.

FIG. 5 is an illustrative embodiment of a typical binding in the process of being mounted to one of the 2-piece spring plates shown in FIG. 4.

FIG. 6 is an illustrative embodiment of a pair of bindings mounted to the 2-piece spring plates, which are mounted to a typical snowboard.

FIGS. 7A, &B, 7C, 7D an 7E are an illustrative embodiment of five views of a 1-piece spring plate.

FIGS. 8A, 8B and 8C are illustrative embodiments of a disc which attaches the binding of FIG. 6 to the spring plate.

FIG. 9 is a detailed illustrative embodiment of the disc and binding base enabling angular adjustability of a typical binding.

FIG. 10 is an illustrative embodiment of a snowboard with integrated spring plates and attached bindings, shown in 4 views.

DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a skiing mechanism that provides improved jumping and cushioning effects on the rider. It is contemplated that the “skiing mechanism” includes a snowboard, water ski or any other surface-riding device. Herein, a snowboard implementation of the skiing mechanism is described. The exemplary implementation should be broadly construed as illustrative in nature in order to represent the spirit of the invention.

Referring to FIG. 1, an isometric view of an illustrative embodiment of a snowboard is shown. Snowboard 100 includes an elongated board 110 made of wood, metal and/or coated with fiberglass, plastic or any other waterproof material. Board 110 typically includes four, six, eight (or more) metallic machine-threaded mounting inserts, which in this embodiment are grouped in two sets 120 and 130. As shown, each set of mounting inserts 120 or 130 is arranged in accordance with an industry-standard 4 cm×4 cm pattern. Of course, the mounting inserts may be arranged to be compatible with other patterns such as a triangular formation (e.g., using 3 machine-threaded inserts, each insert approximately 2 inches apart from a neighboring insert) or a slotted configuration.

As shown, mounting inserts 120 and 130 are placed on board 110 equidistant from its tip 140 and tail 150. However, for different conditions and riding preferences, it is contemplated that other mounting inserts may be placed at different locations of board 110 with optional caps fastened to the unused mounting inserts. This would mitigate water collection and damage to the unused mounting inserts. Alternatively, a manufacturer may produce boards without inserts to allow the rider to select the placement of mounting insert patterns 120 and 130.

Referring to FIG. 2, a detailed view of a wire frame illustrative embodiment of a 2-piece spring plate 200 is shown. Designed for attachment to one of the sets of mounting inserts (e.g., inserts 120 of FIG. 1), spring plate 200 is made of a lightweight, climate resistant material. For example, spring plate 200 may be made of a carbon fiber composite (e.g., graphite), titanium or any other material with similar strength, fatigue resistance, thickness and memory properties as described below. The memory property is sufficient so that cantilevered spring plate 200 returns to its unloaded position during its useful life, even after experiencing repeated downward acting impact, bending and torsion loads.

As further shown, the 2-piece design spring plate 200 comprises first section 210 and second section 220. To accommodate the above-mentioned forces, a second section 220 is appropriately sized. Of course, the thickness, material and even the sections of spring plate 200 themselves may be varied, depending on the normal weight of the rider, the desired response and the desired cost. For example, more aggressive riders might want a stiffer (thicker) configuration for a given weight.

Spring plate 210 includes at least a first and second set of holes 230 and 280, which are situated in flat and angled sections 210 and 250, respectively. In particular, holes 230 are drilled out in a pattern matching mounting inserts 120 or 130 of board 110 to snugly retain a plurality of fasteners (e.g., machine-threaded screws, etc.). These fasteners 235 would be attached to inserts 120 or 130 for fastening first section 210 securely to a top surface 115 of board 110 of FIG. 1. Inserts 240 may be tapped with machine threads to accommodate fasteners that attach a binding to second section 220 as shown below. Holes 290 are located on second section spring plate 220 and aligned with threaded holes 280 in first section 250 to provide a secure interface between spring plate 220 and plate 210.

Referring to FIG. 3, a detailed view of an illustrative embodiment of the mounted 2-piece spring plate 200 to board 110 is shown. First section 210 is constructed to receive fasteners 235 (hidden in this view) through countersunk holes 230 that are pre-drilled at manufacture or produced after manufacture. In this embodiment, holes 230 are arranged into a pre-installed “4×4” hole pattern for alignment with inserts 120 or 130 of board 110 in FIG. 1. Herein, fasteners 235 are 4×¼-20 (SI) or 4×M6 (metric) machine-threaded inserts arranged in a square formation approximately 4 centimeters (1.575 inches) apart from neighboring inserts. Fasteners 285 pass through holes 290 of section 220 and thread into holes 280 in section 250 of first section 210, providing a rigid structure with respect to snowboard 110.

Referring back to FIG. 2, second section 220 of spring plate 200 includes inserts 240 (e.g., a group of ¼-20, 6 mm Metric or similar machine-threaded metal inserts to which any standard binding can be attached). Second section 220 of spring plate 200 is constructed with a cant angle 250 when first section 210 of spring plate 200 is flush against top surface 115 of board 110. Cant 250 normally ranges from five (5) degrees to fifteen (15) degrees from top surface 115 of snowboard 110. As shown, cant 250 is approximately ten (10) degrees. The cant associated with a spring plate attached to the other insert 120 or 130 of board 110 may be identical to cant 250 of spring plate 200 or vary slightly therefrom. As an option, a flexible, waterproof material may be applied between a bottom side of second section 220 of spring plate 200 and top surface 115 of board 110. This material would prevent snow and other foreign objects from getting lodged under second section 220.

Referring to FIG. 4, a trimetric view of two spring plates 200 and 300 are shown, mounted to top surface 115 of snowboard 110. During a typical snowboarding run, the weight from a rider would cause the relative angle of second section 220 of spring plate 200 and 300 to decrease by only a few degrees. When turning and landing jumps, however, forces are applied to a rider which by design may cause the angle between second section 220 and first section 210 to be almost negligible.

Referring to FIG. 5, an isometric view of an illustrative embodiment of snowboard 100 with a spring plate 200 mounted to top 115 of board 110. In particular, fasteners 540 are inserted through holes 535 of disc 530, by which binding base 510 is fastened to top surface of spring plate 200 by means of inserts 240.

Second section 220 of spring plate 200 is designed to accommodate all existing types of bindings, including traditional “racing” and “based” style bindings, as well as the more modern “step-in” designs.

Referring to FIG. 6, an isometric view of the illustrative embodiment of traditional “based” bindings 500 and 700 are shown mounted to second section 220 of a spring plate (e.g., spring plate 200). Binding 500 is equipped with a base 510, a highback 520 and a disc 530, but for clarity does not include standard straps for securing a foot of the rider. It is anticipated that in some configurations, bindings 500 and 700 may be integrated with second section 220 during manufacture.

Referring to FIG. 7, it is anticipated that the spring plate may alternatively be comprised of one continuous section, which performs in a similar manner as two fastened sections. Consideration for access to holes 840 is provided by rotating inserts 830 by a set angle, (45 degrees in this embodiment) about the center of section 810 with respect to the 2-piece design, and providing thru holes 820. A binding would be mounted to top surface of section 810 in the same manner as described above.

Referring to FIGS. 8A, 8B, and 8C, in most manufacturers designs, there is usually a male/female interlocking pattern 536 placed on the outside edge of top side 534 of disc 530. The repeated pattern 536 allows for incremental rotation of binding 500 relative to board 110. With the described fasteners 540 of FIG. 5 passing through holes 535 and partially tightened, binding 500 can be centered and rotated to a comfortable position, at least ranging up to 25 degrees in either a clockwise or counter-clockwise rotation. The pattern gives a range of options to suit the rider's desired stance angle. This pattern typically comprises approximately sixty (60) pre-manufactured ridges. These ridges or teeth typically radiate from the center of disc 530 and are prevented from passing through binding base 510 by contact of 45-degree walls 537, meeting at a generally 45-degree angle with mating walls 511 of FIG. 9.

When tightened, these teeth or ridges interlock with offset mirror image grooves pre-manufactured into the centered aperture of base 510, thereby fixating base 510 of binding 500 to second section 220 of spring plate 200 at the prescribed stance angle. However, other interfaces, such as (i) small squares along the edge of disc 530 which are less thick than base 510, and (ii) mating sets spaced equidistant along the center aperture, could be manufactured and fastened with the same method. The size of this interface dictates the incremental rotational precision.

Designs using sixty ridges would provide adjustability in six (6) degree increments, while designs with 180 ridges would provide two (2) degree increments. By rotating base 510 before placing disc 530 thereon, the rider is able to adjust his or her stance angle, within the limits of their bindings. As shown, once the desired angle has been obtained, fasteners 540 are inserted through holes 535 of disc 530 and disc 530 is lowered into base 510 of binding 500. Then, fasteners 540 are attached to inserts 240 of top face of spring plate 200. Thus, binding 500 is hard-mounted to second section 220 of spring plate 200.

Referring to FIGS. 8A, 8B, 9C and FIG. 9, customarily base 510 is as thick as disc 530, and is configured with a centered aperture 517 of binding 500 angled in a generally conical form so that the size of the aperture 517 in base 510 is the same as face 537 in disc 530 as shown in FIGS. 8A-8C. Likewise, a bottom side of disc 530 features (i) a bottom edge-to-edge diameter 533 corresponding in size to bottom diameter of the aperture and (ii) a top edge-to-edge diameter 538 slightly larger than bottom edge-to-edge diameter 533 and corresponding to the top diameter of binding base 518. Disc 530 is typically manufactured with radial teeth or ridges 536 sized for insertion into corresponding grooves 512 along sides of the aperture of base 510.

While certain exemplary embodiments have been described and shown in the accompanying drawings, FIGS. 8A, 8BB, 8C & FIG. 9, it is to be understood that such embodiments are merely illustrative of and not restrictive on the broad invention, and that this invention not be limited to the specific constructions and arrangements shown and described, since various other modifications may occur to those ordinarily skilled in the art.

Referring to FIG. 10, it is contemplated that the spring plate 220 from FIG. 2 could also be integrated into the snowboard at manufacture, negating the need for the second section 210 from FIG. 2. Bindings would be attached in a similar manner to that discussed above and in FIG. 5.

References

1)U.S. Pat. No. 7,309,077December 2007Bernard Couder
2)U.S. Pat. No. 6,655,700December 2003Robert John Caputo
3)U.S. Pat. No. 6,450,525 B2September 2002Stefan Reuss
4)U.S. Pat. No. 7,533,891May 2009Keith M. Orr
5)U.S. Pat. No. 6,382,658May 2002Donald
P. Stubblefield
6)U.S. Pat. No. 6,394,483May 2002Donald
P. Stubblefield