Title:
Surfboard case
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A surfboard case includes a body which has an interior that is structured to stretchably adapt to a surfboard having a predetermined shape and size. The body is further structured to substantially cushion an impact to the surfboard contained within the surfboard case. In at least one instance, a substantial portion of the surfboard case comprises a neoprene material of construction. The surfboard case also includes at least one reinforcement section disposed in protective relation to a predetermined portion of the surfboard. In addition, a stretchable, waterproof storage compartment is utilized to store surfboard related items and/or personal items.



Inventors:
Allouche, Sammy (Miami, FL, US)
Application Number:
12/217698
Publication Date:
01/14/2010
Filing Date:
07/08/2008
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
206/588, 206/315.1
International Classes:
B65D85/30
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
DESAI, KAUSHIKKUMAR A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MALLOY & MALLOY, P.A. (Miami, FL, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A surfboard case comprising: a body comprising an interior, said interior structured to receive and removably contain a surfboard having a predetermined shape and size; said body further structured to at least partially resiliently adapt to the predetermined shape and size of the surfboard; said body further structured to substantially cushion an impact to the surfboard; and said body defining an opening structured to permit access to said interior.

2. A surfboard case as recited in claim 1 wherein said body further comprises a stretchable material of construction.

3. A surfboard case as recited in claim 1 wherein said body further comprises a cushioning material of construction.

4. A surfboard case as recited in claim 1 wherein said body further comprises a stretchable, cushioning material of construction.

5. A surfboard case as recited in claim 4 wherein said body further comprises an insulating material of construction.

6. A surfboard case as recited in claim 4 wherein said body further comprises a waterproof material of construction.

7. A surfboard case as recited in claim 4 wherein said stretchable, cushioning material of construction comprises neoprene.

8. A surfboard case as recited in claim 4 wherein said stretchable, cushioning material of construction comprises a composite material.

9. A surfboard case as recited in claim 8 wherein said composite material comprises neoprene and nylon.

10. A surfboard case as recited in claim 8 wherein said composite material comprises neoprene and spandex.

11. A surfboard case as recited in claim 1 wherein a substantial portion of said body comprises a neoprene material of construction.

12. A surfboard case as recited in claim 11 wherein a majority of said body comprises a neoprene material of construction.

13. A surfboard case comprising: a body comprising an interior, said interior structured to receive and removably contain a surfboard having a predetermined shape and size; said body further structured to stretchably adapt to the predetermined shape and size of the surfboard; said body further structured to substantially cushion an impact to the surfboard; and at least one reinforcement section disposed in protective relation to a predetermined portion of the surfboard.

14. A surfboard case as recited in claim 13, wherein said reinforcement section is correspondingly disposed and configured to the predetermined portion of the surfboard.

15. A surfboard case as recited in claim 14, wherein said at least one reinforcement section is disposed, dimensioned, and configured in at least partially surrounding relation to a nose portion of the surfboard.

16. A surfboard case as recited in claim 14, wherein said at least one reinforcement section is disposed, dimensioned, and configured in at least partially surrounding relation to a tail portion of the surfboard.

17. A surfboard case as recited in claim 13, wherein said at least one reinforcement section is structured to include greater protective capabilities than at least a majority of a remainder of said body.

18. A surfboard case as recited in claim 13, further comprising a plurality of reinforcement sections, each of said plurality of reinforcement sections disposed and configured in at least partially overlying, protective relation to a different corresponding portion of the surfboard.

19. A surfboard case as recited in claim 13, further comprising at least one fin slot.

20. A surfboard case as recited in claim 13, further comprising at least one support member cooperatively structured to maintain a substantially non-collapsible configuration and disposed in at least partially surrounding, protective relation about another predetermined portion of the surfboard.

21. A surfboard case as recited in claim 13, further comprising an expandable compartment structured to be selectively disposed between a collapsed orientation and an expanded orientation, said expanded orientation structured to permit receipt of the surfboard with at least one fin mounted thereto.

22. A surfboard case as recited in claim 13 wherein said body further comprises a neoprene material of construction.

23. A surfboard case as recited in claim 22 wherein a substantial portion of said body comprises a neoprene material of construction.

24. A surfboard case as recited in claim 23 wherein a majority of said body comprises a neoprene material of construction.

25. A surfboard case as recited in claim 13 further comprising at least one storage compartment.

26. A surfboard case as recited in claim 25 wherein said at least one storage compartment comprises a neoprene material of construction.

27. A surfboard case comprising: a body comprising a first portion and a second portion cooperatively structured to define an interior, said interior structured to receive and removably contain a surfboard having a predetermined shape and size, said first and second portions each substantially comprising a neoprene material of construction; and an expandable compartment structured to be selectively disposed between a collapsed orientation and an expanded orientation, said expanded orientation structured to permit receipt of the surfboard with at least one fin mounted thereto.

28. A surfboard case as recited in claim 27, wherein said expandable compartment further comprises a sidewall assembly disposed and structured to unfold into said expanded orientation.

29. A surfboard case as recited in claim 28, wherein said sidewall assembly comprises a neoprene material of construction.

30. A surfboard case as recited in claim 29, wherein said sidewall assembly comprises a thinner neoprene construction relative to a majority of a remainder of said body.

31. A surfboard case as recited in claim 27, further comprising at least one reinforcement section disposed in protective relation to a predetermined portion of the surfboard.

32. A surfboard case as recited in claim 31, wherein said at least one reinforcement section comprises a neoprene material of construction.

33. A surfboard case as recited in claim 27, further comprising a roll fastener assembly structured to maintain said surfboard case in a collapsed, rolled configuration.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present specification is directed to a surfboard case which is utilized to transport and/or store a surfboard. Specifically, the surfboard case of the present invention is structured to protect the surfboard contained therein, for example from dropping, bumping, scraping, etc. The surfboard case is also structured to stretchably adapt to the size and/or shape of surfboards of a variety of widths, heights, and thicknesses. In addition, the surfboard case is structured to permit storage of additional equipment and/or accessories.

2. Description of the Related Art

Board sports such as surfing, skateboarding, snowboarding, and wakeboarding are widely practiced athletic activities. Unfortunately, board sports equipment, such as surf boards, skateboards, snowboards, wakeboards, etc., can be cumbersome to transport from place to place. Such equipment can also be difficult to pack in conjunction with other items, such as in the back of a vehicle. This is especially true for larger types of boards due to their size, shape, and the variety of accessories involved. As such, board sports equipment is sometimes transported and stored using bags or cases.

In this regard, surfboard bags, or “board bags”, as well as “surfboard socks,” are often utilized to transport surfboards. Surfboard bags are typically shaped in the general oblong shape of a surfboard and are made of a conventional material. Some surfboard bags include handles or straps, and others include pockets. As such, the current types of surfboard bags offered permit basic transportation of surfboards along with a limited amount of related items. However, there are several drawbacks associated with current surfboard bag designs.

One drawback with current surfboard bags or surfboard socks is that the materials normally used in their construction are the same kinds of fabrics that are ordinarily used for duffel bags or other types of traditional sports bags. For example, board bags are often made of tarp, which makes them large and bulky so that they are difficult to use, and when not in use cannot be easily stored. Alternatively, some use terrycloth socks to cover a board, the sock providing an enclosure for transporting the surfboard, but lacking any protective ability in terms of impact from dropping or collisions with other objects. Such materials also offer little in the way of protection against scraping or other of damage resistance. It would therefore be advantageous to provide a surfboard case which is structured to resist damage to the surfboard contained therein and which is also easy to use and collapse for storage.

Another problem with current surf board bags is that the ranges of shapes and sizes for surfboard bags do not adequately accommodate all shapes and/or sizes of surfboards. Accordingly, a surfboard which does not fit into the closest available sized board bag, but does fit into the next larger sized bag, will leave excess room, or slack, in the larger sized bag, which undesirably permits the board to move freely within the bag and potentially become damaged. This is especially true for the width dimensions of surfboards, which tend to be less standardized than the length dimensions. It would therefore be beneficial to provide a surfboard case that is structured to adapt to variety of surfboard shapes and/or sizes. More in particular, it would be beneficial to provide a surfboard case capable of stretching to conform to the size and/or shape of a surfboard.

Another issue with current board bags, including any pockets, is that they are made from materials that do not isolate dampness or wetness. Thus, current board bags permit wetness from inside of the bag to seep out to the exterior of the bag and come into unwanted contact with other items. Likewise, such bags also allow wetness from outside of the bag to seep into the bag. Accordingly, it would be desirable to provide a surfboard case which substantially prevents seepage of wetness from the interior of the case to the exterior of the case, or vice versa.

Still another problem associated with current surfboard bags, including any pockets, is that they do not sufficiently protect surfboards from heat and/or sunlight. For instance, exposure to high temperatures such as from direct exposure to the sun or the inside of a car on a hot day can melt the wax on a surfboard or potentially cause other damage to the board. As such, it would be beneficial to provide a surfboard case comprising an insulating material that protects the surfboard contained therein from heat and/or sunlight.

Yet another drawback with current surfboard bags is the inadequate protection or other accommodation for the fins. For example, some board bags permit storage of an entire surfboard with fins attached. However, when the entire surfboard is enclosed in the board bag, the protruding fins are hidden by the overlying bag and, as such, become particularly prone to damage. It would therefore be advantageous to provide additional support to the area of a surfboard case where the fins are located so as to protect the fins from damage. Alternatively, it would be advantageous to permit the fins to be protectively contained within a dedicated compartment associated with the case. Sometimes, however, the surfboard fins will be removed prior to transportation of the surfboard. It would therefore be beneficial to provide a structure for storing the fins. It would also be beneficial for such a structure to facilitate storage of other equipment and accessories, as well.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present specification is directed to a surfboard case which is utilized to transport and/or store a surfboard. Specifically, the surfboard case of the present invention is structured to protect the surfboard contained therein, for example from dropping, bumping, scraping, etc. The surfboard case is also structured to stretchably adapt to the size and/or shape of surfboards of a variety of widths, heights, and thicknesses. In addition, the surfboard case is structured to permit storage of additional equipment and/or accessories.

The surfboard case includes a body which comprises an interior structured to receive and removably contain a surfboard having a predetermined shape and size. The surfboard case also includes an opening structured to permit access to the interior such that the surfboard can be inserted into and removed from the interior through the opening. For example, in one embodiment, the opening is located in the tail end of the body.

The body of the surfboard case is further structured to at least partially resiliently adapt to the predetermined shape and size of the surfboard. More specifically, when empty, the relaxed body can possess a different shape and somewhat smaller dimensions than those of the surfboard. Yet, as the surfboard is inserted into and ultimately contained within the body, the body has the capability to stretch and conform to at least part of the predetermined shape and size of the surfboard. For example, in one embodiment, when the surfboard is inserted into an opening in the tail end of the body, the tail end of the body stretches to accommodate each passing portion of the predetermined shape and size of the surfboard. It should be noted, however, that the dimensions of the body will ordinarily be chosen to be relatively close to the predetermined dimensions of a given surfboard.

Furthermore, since the shape and transverse dimensions can vary significantly along the length of the surfboard, the body has the capability to stretchably adapt to fit a substantial portion of the surfboard, including surfboards of different widths and thicknesses. Moreover, when the surfboard is removed from the surfboard case, the body substantially returns to its original, unstretched configuration.

The body is further structured to dampen an impact to the surfboard such that a force applied to the exterior of the surfboard case that would otherwise have the potential to damage the surfboard is substantially reduced or eliminated. More specifically, the body is particularly structured to substantially cushion an impact to the surfboard contained therein. Furthermore, the body is additionally structured to protect the surfboard from scrapes, scratches, etc.

The materials utilized to construct the body can have a variety of useful properties. In at least one embodiment, the body comprises a stretchable material of construction. In another embodiment, the body comprises a cushioning material of construction. In yet another embodiment, the body comprises a stretchable, cushioning material of construction such as neoprene which is both stretchable and cushioning. Moreover, the body may also comprise a composite material of construction.

In a further embodiment, the body also comprises an insulating material of construction. The insulating material protects the surfboard from ambient heat in the air outside of the case, and can also protect the surfboard from radiant heat from the sun. Moreover, in addition to general concerns associated with overheating of surfboard itself, the use of an insulating material can also protect against the melting of surfboard wax.

In still another embodiment, the body also comprises a waterproof material of construction, which keeps wetness inside of the surfboard case contained within, and keeps wetness outside of the surfboard case from seeping inside. A neoprene material of construction can also be utilized as an insulating material as well as a waterproof material, although other appropriate materials could be used, including composite materials.

The surfboard case also comprises at least one reinforcement section disposed in protective relation to a predetermined portion of the surfboard. For example, in one embodiment, the surfboard case comprises two reinforcement sections correspondingly disposed and configured to a predetermined nose and/or tail portion of the surfboard. More specifically, each side of the surfboard case comprises one reinforcement section disposed, dimensioned, and configured in at least partially surrounding relation to the nose portion of the surfboard. Moreover, the reinforcement sections are structured to include greater protective capabilities than at least a majority of a remainder of the body. In a still further embodiment, the surfboard case comprises a plurality of reinforcement sections, such as for the nose, tail, and/or side rail areas.

In a further embodiment, the surfboard case additionally comprises at least one strap structured to facilitate lifting and transportation of the case by a person. The surfboard case can also include at least one handle structured to facilitate lifting and transportation of the case.

The surfboard case further comprises at least one storage compartment. The storage compartment can be utilized to store surfboard related items such as wax, fins, etc., and also can be utilized to store other items such as personal belongings, including keys, phones, etc. In one embodiment, the storage compartment comprises a waterproof material of construction. In another embodiment, the storage compartment comprises a stretchable material of construction. In yet another embodiment, the storage compartment comprises an insulating material of construction. By way of example, in one embodiment, the storage compartment comprises a neoprene material of construction, which is stretchable, waterproof, and insulating.

In at least one embodiment, the surfboard case further comprises a drawstring mechanism which includes a drawstring, and possibly a sincher, disposed within the tail end of the body of the surfboard case. The drawstring mechanism is utilized to facilitate at least partial enclosure of the surfboard by the tail end of the body.

In another embodiment, the surfboard case comprises an opening structured to permit access to the interior such that the surfboard can be inserted into and removed from the interior at least partially through a substantial portion of at least one edge of the body. For example, in one embodiment, the opening extends from the tail end of the body and continues along a substantial portion of one edge of the body. In a further embodiment, the opening extends along at least a majority of the perimeter of the body. For example, in one such embodiment, the opening could extend from one corner of the tail end, around the perimeter of the body, and back to the same corner of the tail end.

In at least one embodiment, the surfboard case further comprises a fastener structured to permit closing and reopening of the opening. In one such embodiment, the fastener comprises a zipper. In a further embodiment, the fastener comprises a waterproof zipper. Other types of fasteners may also be utilized including, but not limited to, hook and loop closures, buttons, clasps, etc.

In another embodiment, the surfboard case comprises at least one support member. The support member is structured to maintain a substantially non-collapsible configuration about a predetermined portion of the surfboard. In one embodiment, the support member is disposed in at least partially surrounding, protective relation about the tail portion of the surfboard, where the fins are located. Accordingly, the support member permits insertion and storage of the surfboard within the case without the need to remove the fins from the surfboard. The support member also prevents crushing of the fins or other damage to the fins.

In still another embodiment, the surfboard case comprises at least one fin slot. The fin slots each comprise apertures disposed, dimensioned, and configured to permit the corresponding fins of the surfboard to protrude through the body of the surfboard case while the rest of the surfboard is contained within the interior of the surfboard case.

In yet another embodiment, the surfboard case comprises an expandable compartment located on the tail end of the surfboard case. Accordingly, when the expandable compartment is disposed in a collapsed orientation, the surfboard case is capable of receiving a surfboard absent the fins. However, when the expandable compartment is disposed in an expanded orientation, the surfboard case is capable of receiving a surfboard with fins attached. Moreover, the expandable compartment is further structured to protect the surfboard in either orientation.

In still another embodiment, the surfboard case comprises a roll fastener assembly structured to maintain the surfboard case in a collapsed, rolled configuration, such as for storage purposes. In one embodiment, the roll fastener assembly comprises a clasp having separate male and female portions. In this embodiment, the body is folded generally in half and then rolled up. Thereafter, the male portion of the clasp interconnects with the female portion of the clasp to maintain the surfboard case in the rolled configuration.

These and other objects of the present invention will become more clear when the drawings as well as the detailed description are taken into consideration.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

For a fuller understanding of the nature of the present invention, reference should be had to the following detailed description taken in connection with the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is an elevation of one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a schematic showing insertion of a surfboard into a surfboard case in accordance with the embodiment of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is an end view of the embodiment of FIG. 1 along line 3-3 thereof.

FIG. 4 is an elevation of another embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 5 is a schematic showing insertion of a surfboard into a surfboard case in accordance with the embodiment of FIG. 4.

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of another embodiment of the present invention which includes a support member.

FIG. 7 is an elevation of another embodiment of the present invention which includes fin slots.

FIG. 8 is an elevation of another embodiment of the present invention having an expandable compartment.

FIG. 9 is an elevation of the embodiment of FIG. 8 with the expandable compartment disposed in an expanded orientation.

FIG. 10 is an elevation of another embodiment of the present invention having a roll fastener assembly.

FIG. 11 is an elevation of the embodiment of FIG. 10 in a rolled configuration.

FIG. 12 is an elevation of the embodiment of FIG. 10 rotated approximately ninety degrees relative to the view of FIG. 11.

Like reference numerals refer to like parts throughout the several views of the drawings.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

As shown in the accompanying figures, the present application is directed to a surfboard case generally indicated as 10.

The surfboard case 10 is utilized to transport and/or store a surfboard 15, and is structured to protect the surfboard 15 contained therein, for example from dropping, bumping, scraping, etc. The surfboard case 10 is also structured to stretchably adapt to the size and/or shape of surfboards 15 of a variety of widths, heights, and thicknesses. In addition, the surfboard case is structured to permit storage of additional equipment and/or accessories.

As seen in the embodiment of FIG. 1, the surfboard case 10 is shown in an operative orientation relative to a surfboard 15 contained therein. More in particular, the surfboard case 10 includes a body 20 which comprises an interior 30 structured to receive and removably contain a surfboard 15 having a predetermined shape and size. The case 10 also includes an opening 40 structured to permit access to the interior 30 such that the surfboard 15 can be inserted into and removed from the interior 30 through the opening 40. For example, in one embodiment, the opening 40 is located in the tail end 28 of the body 20 such that the surfboard 15 is inserted into and removed from the case 10 as shown in FIG. 2.

The body 20 of the surfboard case 10 is further structured to at least partially resiliently adapt to the predetermined shape and size of the surfboard 15. More specifically, when empty, the relaxed body 20 can possess a different shape and somewhat smaller dimensions than those of the surfboard 15. Yet, as the surfboard 15 is inserted into, and ultimately contained within, the body 20, the body 20 has the capability to stretch and conform to at least part of the predetermined shape and size of the surfboard 15. For example, when the surfboard 15 is inserted into the opening 40, as seen in FIG. 2, the tail end 28 of the body 20 stretches to accommodate each passing portion of the predetermined shape and size of the surfboard 15 as the surfboard 15 is inserted into the interior 30. It should be noted, however, that the dimensions of the body 20 will ordinarily be chosen to be relatively close to the predetermined dimensions of a given surfboard 15.

Furthermore, the shape and transverse dimensions can vary significantly along the length of the surfboard 15. In other words, the local shape and size of a portion of the surfboard 15 near the tail of the surfboard 15 will likely differ from the local shape and size of a portion of the surfboard 15 near the middle of the surfboard 15. Likewise, the local shape and dimensions of a portion of the surfboard 15 near its center will most likely differ from the local shape and dimensions of a portion of the surfboard 15 near its edge. Accordingly, and as seen in FIG. 1, the body 20 has the capability to stretchably adapt to fit the size and shape of a substantial portion of the surfboard 15. Moreover, when the surfboard 15 is removed from the case 10, the body 20 substantially returns to its original, unstretched configuration.

The body 20 is further structured to dampen an impact to the surfboard 15, such that a force applied to the exterior of the surfboard case 10 that would otherwise have the potential to damage the surfboard 15 is substantially reduced or eliminated. More specifically, the body 20 is particularly structured to substantially cushion an impact to the surfboard 15 contained therein. The body 20 is additionally structured to protect the surfboard 15 from scrapes, scratches, etc.

The materials utilized to construct the body 20 can have a variety of useful properties. In at least one embodiment, the body 20 comprises a stretchable material of construction. As used herein, a stretchable material of construction means a material which can expand and then and return to substantially its original configuration afterward. In another embodiment, the body 20 comprises a cushioning material of construction. In yet another embodiment, the body 20 comprises a stretchable, cushioning material of construction such as neoprene which is both stretchable and cushioning. In a still further embodiment, a substantial portion of the body 20 comprises neoprene. In yet another embodiment, a majority and/or all of the body 20 comprises neoprene. It is understood, however, to be within the scope and intent of the present invention, that other suitable materials besides neoprene may be utilized. Moreover, the body 20 may also comprise a composite material. For example, one such composite material comprises neoprene and nylon. As another example, the composite material can include neoprene and spandex.

In a further embodiment, the body 20 also comprises an insulating material of construction. The insulating material protects the surfboard 15 from ambient heat in the air outside of the case 10. The insulating material can also protect the surfboard 15 from radiant heat from the sun. In addition to general concerns associated with overheating of surfboard 15 itself, the use of an insulating material can also protect against the melting of surfboard wax.

In still another embodiment, the body 20 also comprises a waterproof material of construction, which keeps wetness inside of the case 10 contained within the case, and keeps wetness outside of the case 10 from seeping inside of the case. It is noted that a neoprene material of construction can also be utilized as an insulating material as well as a waterproof material, although other appropriate materials could be used, including composite materials.

Besides the protective capabilities of the materials utilized to construct the body 20, the surfboard case 10 also comprises at least one reinforcement section 52 disposed in protective relation to a predetermined portion of the surfboard 15. For example, in the embodiment of FIG. 1, the surfboard case 10 comprises two reinforcement sections 52 correspondingly disposed and configured to a predetermined nose portion 16 of the surfboard 15. More specifically, each side of the case 10 comprises one reinforcement section 52 (only one side shown in FIG. 1) disposed, dimensioned, and configured in at least partially surrounding relation to the nose portion 16 of the surfboard 15 contained therein. Moreover, the reinforcement sections are structured to include greater protective capabilities than at least a majority of a remainder of the body 20. For instance, in at least one embodiment, the reinforcement sections 52 each comprise an additional layer of cushioning material in addition to the material utilized to construct the body. For example, in one embodiment, the reinforcement sections comprise a neoprene material of construction. It is understood, however, to be within the scope and intent of the present invention, that other suitable materials besides neoprene may be utilized, including composite materials.

Turning in more detail to FIG. 3, the surfboard case 10 is shown empty, as seen from an end view looking through the opening 40 into the interior 30 of the case 10. As illustrated in FIG. 3, the body 20 further comprises a first portion 22 and a second portion 24 cooperatively structured to define the interior 30. In this embodiment, the first and second portions 22, 24 of the body 20 each comprise a composite material of construction including a neoprene interior sandwiched between two thin layers of nylon fabric. The two portions 22, 24 of the body 20 are sewn together along a seam 29. The reinforcement sections 52 also each comprise a composite material of construction including a neoprene interior sandwiched between two thin layers of nylon fabric, the reinforcement sections 52 being disposed within an inner surface of each corresponding portion 22, 24 of the body 20. The combination of each respective reinforcement section 52 with each respective portion 22, 24 of the body 20, sewn together, additionally forms two secondary seams 59.

Referring still to FIGS. 1 and 3, the surfboard case 10 further comprises at least one strap 62 structured to facilitate lifting and transportation of the case 10 by a person.

The case 10 further comprises a storage compartment 64. The storage compartment 64 can be utilized to store surfboard related items such as wax, fins, etc., and also can be utilized to store other items such as personal belongings, including keys, phones, etc. In one embodiment, the storage compartment 64 comprises a waterproof material of construction. In another embodiment, the storage compartment 64 comprises a stretchable material of construction. In yet another embodiment, the storage compartment 64 comprises an insulating material of construction. By way of example, in one embodiment, the storage compartment 64 comprises a neoprene material of construction, which is stretchable, waterproof, and insulating. It is understood, however, to be within the scope and intent of the present invention, that other suitable materials besides neoprene may be utilized, including composite materials.

The storage compartment 64 further includes a storage compartment opening 65 that is structured to permit access to the interior 67 of the storage compartment 64. Furthermore, a storage compartment fastener 66 is structured to permit closing and reopening of the storage compartment opening 65. In one embodiment, the storage compartment fastener 66 comprises a zipper. In a further embodiment, the storage compartment fastener 66 comprises a waterproof zipper. Other types of storage compartment fasteners 66 may also be utilized including, but not limited to, hook and loop closures, buttons, clasps, etc. It should also be noted that, in another embodiment, the surfboard case 10 can comprise more than one storage compartment 64.

The surfboard case 10 of FIGS. 1 and 3 further comprises a drawstring mechanism 44 which includes a drawstring disposed within the tail end 28 of the body 20 of the surfboard case 10 as well as a sincher 48 structured to permit adjustment and maintenance of the tightness of the drawstring. The drawstring mechanism 44 is utilized to facilitate at least partial enclosure of the surfboard 15 by the tail end 28 of the body 20.

Turning to the embodiment of FIGS. 4 and 5, the surfboard case 10 comprises an opening 40′ structured to permit access to the interior 30 such that the surfboard 15 can be inserted into and removed from the interior 30 at least partially through a substantial portion of at least one edge of the body 20. For example, in the embodiment of FIGS. 4 and 5, the opening 40′ extends from the tail end 28 of the body 20 and continues along a substantial portion of one edge of the body 20 such that the surfboard 15 can be inserted into and removed from the case 10 as shown in FIG. 5. In a further embodiment, the opening 40′ extends along at least a majority of the perimeter of the body 20. For example, in one such embodiment, the opening 40′ could extend from one corner of the tail end 28, around the perimeter of the body 20, and back to the same corner of the tail end 28.

The surfboard case 10 further comprises a fastener 45 structured to permit closing and reopening of the opening 40′. In one embodiment, the fastener 45 comprises a zipper. In a further embodiment, the fastener 45 comprises a waterproof zipper. Other types of fasteners 45 may also be utilized including, but not limited to, hook and loop closures, buttons, clasps, etc.

Similar to that described above, as the opening 40′ of the surfboard case 10 is closed about the surfboard 15, the body 20 stretches to accommodate the predetermined shape and size of the surfboard 15. Moreover, when the surfboard 15 is removed from the case 10, the body 20 substantially returns to its original, unstretched configuration.

The embodiment of FIG. 4 also includes at least one handle 63 structured to facilitate lifting and transportation of the case 10 by a person.

The surfboard case 10 of FIG. 4 further comprises a plurality of reinforcement sections 52, 52′. Each of the reinforcement sections 52, 52′ is disposed and configured in at least partially overlying, protective relation to a different corresponding portion of the surfboard 15. More specifically, in addition to the reinforcement sections 52 discussed above, the embodiment of FIG. 4 includes two additional reinforcement sections 52′, one on each side of the case 10. The reinforcement sections 52′ are disposed, dimensioned, and configured in at least partially surrounding relation to the tail portion 18 of the surfboard 15.

FIG. 6 depicts another embodiment of a surfboard case 10 comprising at least one support member 80. The support member 80 is structured to maintain a substantially non-collapsible configuration about a predetermined portion of the surfboard 15. Specifically, the support member 80 of FIG. 6 is disposed in at least partially surrounding, protective relation about the tail portion 18 of the surfboard 15, where the fins are located. Accordingly, the support member 80 of FIG. 6 permits insertion and storage of the surfboard 15 within the case 10 without the need to remove the fins from the surfboard 15. The support member 80 of FIG. 6 also prevents crushing of the fins or other damage to the fins, which would potentially be caused by external forces.

FIG. 7 depicts yet another embodiment of a surfboard case 10 comprising three fin slots 70. It is understood, however, to be within the scope and intent of the present invention that one, two, or any number of fin slots may be utilized. The fin slots 70 comprise apertures disposed, dimensioned, and configured to permit the corresponding fins of the surfboard 15 to protrude through the apertures of the body 20 while the rest of the surfboard 15 is contained within the interior 30 of the surfboard case 10.

Turning now to the embodiment of FIGS. 8 and 9, the tail end 28 of the surfboard case 10 comprises an expandable compartment 90. Accordingly, when the expandable compartment 90 is disposed in a collapsed orientation, the surfboard case 10 is capable of receiving a surfboard 15 absent the fins. However, when the expandable compartment 90 is disposed in an expanded orientation, the surfboard case 10 is capable of receiving a surfboard 15 with fins attached. Moreover, the expandable compartment 90 is further structured to protect the surfboard 15 in either orientation.

In at least one embodiment, the expandable compartment 90 comprises a sidewall assembly 92 structured to unfold into the expanded orientation and also to fold back into the collapsed orientation. Furthermore, as seen in the embodiment of FIGS. 8 and 9, as the sidewall assembly 92 unfolds into the expanded orientation, an outer portion 93 of the expandable compartment 90 is correspondingly disposed outwardly from one side of the body 20 (FIG. 9). Thereafter, when the outer portion 93 of the expandable compartment 90 is disposed inwardly toward the same side of the body 20, the sidewall assembly 92 correspondingly folds back into the collapsed orientation (FIG. 8). In this particular embodiment, the sidewall assembly 92 comprises a single segment. However, it is within the scope and intent of the present invention that the sidewall assembly 92 may comprise two, three, or any number of segments.

In one embodiment, the sidewall assembly 92 comprises a neoprene material of construction. In a further embodiment, the sidewall assembly 92 comprises a thinner neoprene construction than a majority of the remainder of the body 20, which reduces bulk while maintaining a significant degree of protection. Additionally, in at least one embodiment, the outer portion 93 of the expandable compartment 90 comprises a material of construction substantially similar to a majority of the remainder of the body 20.

The expandable compartment 90 further comprises a fastener 94 structured to facilitate the maintaining of the expandable compartment 90 in the collapsed orientation. When the fastener 94 is fastened, the expandable compartment 90 is prevented from expanding. Conversely, when the fastener 94 is unfastened, the expandable compartment 90 is permitted to unfold into the expanded orientation. In one embodiment, the fastener 94 is disposed on the exterior of the body 20 along the edge of the outer portion 93. Moreover, in the embodiment of FIGS. 8 and 9, the fastener 94 of the expandable compartment 90 is further disposed in proximity to the fastener 45 of the body 20 of the surfboard case 10. In at least one embodiment, the fastener 94 comprises a zipper. In a further embodiment, the fastener 94 comprises a waterproof zipper. It is understood, however, to be within the scope and intent of the present invention that other suitable types of fasteners 94 may be utilized as well.

FIG. 10 depicts another embodiment of a surfboard case 10 comprising a roll fastener assembly 34 structured to maintain the surfboard case 10 in a collapsed, rolled configuration, such as for storage purposes. In this embodiment, the roll fastener assembly 34 comprises a clasp. More specifically, a male portion 35 of the clasp is attached to a strap 37 which is attached to the body 20 generally about halfway between the nose end 26 and the tail end 28. A female portion 36 of the clasp is attached to another strap 37 which is attached to the body 20 a sufficient distance from the male portion 35 such that when the body 20 is folded generally in half with the nose end 26 folded towards the tail end 28, the body 20 can be rolled from the folded nose/tail area towards the fold. Thereafter, the male portion 35 can interconnect with the female portion 36. The resulting rolled configuration is depicted in FIG. 11, wherein the roll fastener assembly 34 has been fastened to maintain the surfboard case 10 in the rolled configuration. It should be noted that in a further embodiment, at least one of the straps 37 is adjustable. It should also be noted that, besides clasps, other suitable types of roll fastener assemblies 34 may be utilized as well.

In addition, the embodiment of FIG. 10 includes a handle 63′ which is structured to facilitate grasping of the rolled-up surfboard case 10, as seen in FIG. 12.

Although the above details pertain to a surfboard case 10, it is also contemplated that, in addition to surfboards, the present invention can be used with, and adapted to, other types of board sports equipment, including, but not limited to, snowboards, skateboards, wakeboards, windsurfing boards, etc.

Since many modifications, variations and changes in detail can be made to the described preferred embodiment of the invention, it is intended that all matters in the foregoing description and shown in the accompanying drawings be interpreted as illustrative and not in a limiting sense. Thus, the scope of the invention should be determined by the appended claims and their legal equivalents.

Now that the invention has been described,