Thursday, June 15, 2017

Everything On The Inside... Brought To You By US Blanks (Pt. 4: Stringer Selection)

If you’ve been following our “Everything on the Inside” series, you’ve learned how to select the right foam, density, and blank size for your build. Today we’ll explain your stringer options.The stringer serves 3 main purposes in the surfboard;

            1) Strength

            2) Flex

            3) Aesthetic

With stringer selection, there are no right or wrong choices. Each choice is simply a matter of preference. 
US Blanks offers over 30 different stringer materials and an endless number of “glue-up” configurations, and while most surfboards are built with a stringer, it is in fact, completely optional. Both EPS and PU foam blanks can used to make stringerless surfboards. 

Before we proceed with stringer options, a quick word about the manufacturing process. All US Blanks begin as stringerless foam. All stringers must be glued into a cut blank. All blanks are custom cut and glued to order. US Blanks has an in-house mill, so they can cut and glue-up nearly any conceivable configuration. 

 US Blanks offers 5 solid woods; (Balsa, Basswood, Dark Wood, Cedar, and Redwood), various ply-woods, one   composite (PVC, in red, white, and black), or high-density colored foam.

Each stringer material type has it own rigidity (strength), flex characteristics, and aesthetic. Gluing wood together into plys (or “t-bands”) adds strength and also allows the shaper a unique aesthetic. US Blanks in-house mill allows for wedges, multi-stringers, or curved options such as flares or parabolics. There really is no limitation to the combination of glue-ups available. If you can dream it up, US Blanks can glue it up.

Just keep in mind, as with all surfboard design elements, what you acquire in one area, you may sacrifice in another area, i.e., increasing strength will likely decrease flexibility. Finding the exact balance of strength and flexibility with your desired aesthetic will be your challenge. But rest assured, US Blanks has every possible option available to you.

The endless options can be overwhelming, so as a starting point and a source of inspiration, below are some examples of various glue-up options. 

Stop by the shop or give us a call at 714-896-8233 to order your custom stringered US Blanks today!

Blue High Density Foam T-band

Monday, May 08, 2017

Foam E-Z at Boardroom 2017


          Sure, it would be easy to give you a typical rundown of what went down this past weekend at the 2017 Boardroom Show in Del Mar. 

Al Merrick and Icons Of Foam shape-off winner Rex Marechal
(Picture courtesy US Blanks)
           It would be easy to mention that for the tenth year in a row the event was a rare and wonderful opportunity to rub shoulders with the past, present, and future mavericks of the board-building industry. That stoke was passed around like it was free (it is), and that creative innovation was the champion of day. 
           Of course if we were to do that, we would have to mention that the actual champion of the show’s Icons Of Foam shape-off was San Diego County’s very own Rex Marechal in a dogged showdown to replicate one of Kelly Slater’s most iconic Al Merrick surfboards. We would be sure to clarify that this was no simple task, going up against the likes of names like Christenson, Kinoshita, Sakal, and Hinds (just to name a few!). It would likely go without saying that the whole reason for all of it was to rightfully honor Merrick, a man who has been inarguably at the forefront of surfboard progression for near fifty years (but we would probably say it anyways).
            Lastly, we would more than likely make a small jab or two at you if you missed the event, just in jest. We would say if you could have been there, then you definitely should have been there. We would say it was nothing short of an amazing weekend spent with some amazing craftsmen and women.
            That’s what we would say if we were to give you some sort of recap of the events that transpired this past weekend, which it seems we now have.  

These groms won the ultimate prize pack of the day, featuring an Arctic Blank,  Douglas Surf  cloth/resin/ catalyst, and a set of Futures Fins fin boxes and Alpha fins. Now they get to fight over who gets what. 

Giveaway winners
Douglas Surf Glassing Demo Station next to Foam E-Z's Booth
Graham Day of Driftwood Caravan Surfboards stoking on his new  E-Z Square and E-Z Shape Pad
Al and Britt Merrick Judging the shapes with their E-Z Square Pro

Thanks to everyone who stopped by our booth and congrats to those who won our giveaways! See you all down there next year!

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Join Us For the Seal Beach Boardriders Hall Of Fame Ball

Over the last year a group of seal beach surfers led by Chad Wells and Mike Reilly have put together a surf club called the seal beach boardriders. The club is made up of over 50 people of all ages and has recently competed against other clubs in organized surf competitions. 

The west coast boardriders series has included teams from Laguna, Huntington Beach, and Newport beach with many more teams coming from the entire coast in 2017. In 2017 there will be more than 4 events. Even though the little sleepy town of Seal Beach has far less residents then the other cities the team has put forth some good showings. Part of the process of building the club is to generate funding to pay for events, help kids go to college and/or pursue their dreams of traveling to the next important surf contest and help support the seal beach surfing community. Due to this need for funding the team decided to put on a fundraising event while incorporating the first of its kind Seal Beach Surfing Hall Of Fame.

On May 5th, 2017, members of Seal Beach’s surfing community will gather at the Golden Sails’ Crystal Ballroom in Long Beach to honor the lives of those that make up the towns’ legendary lineup of local surfers.
The first inductees into the newly created Seal Beach Surfing Hall Of Fame, will be Sean Collins, the creator of surf forecasting website, Surfline; Tim Dorsey,  a Seal Beach lifeguard who pioneered surfing on the North Shore of Oahu in 1957, Jack Haley, the 1959 West Coast Surfing Champion, Denny Buell, a lifeguard and well known surfer in the 1960s and 70s, and Rich Harbour, owner of Harbour Surfboards and often referred too as the Godfather of Seal Beach surfing. 

Tickets can be purchased online at They cost $50 for adults and $10 for minors.

For the surf community and community of Seal Beach, the night of camaraderie and family fun is much needed. This years’ historically wet winter caused the Seal Beach Surfing Championships not to run for the first time in a decade. The event put on by Lifeguards is always looked forward to by local surfers.

Let’s all get together this Friday….Eat some good food, listen to some live 80’s music and celebrate the surfing legends that came  from our town all while raising money for the future of seal beach surfing.

- Chad Wells and Mike Reilly

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Everything On The Inside...brought to you by US Blanks (Part 3; BLANK SELECTION)


       In Part One we discussed the various foam types available (Polyurethane, Superfused EPS, and Block-Cut EPS). In Part Two we discussed the various densities of foam available and how to find the exact right strength-to-ratio fit. In Part Three, Blank Selection, we’ll help you choose the blank that has just enough foam for your design. 


       Selecting the appropriate blank for your build is pretty easy to do, but selecting the RIGHT blank will reduce your time, workload, materials waste, and allow you focus your attention on fine tuning the details of your design.

       US Blanks offers 85 blank models, from Shortboards to Guns to SUPs. Your goal will be to envision your desired final design, and then fit that design within the shape and dimension of the foam blank. For this example, let’s assume that you’d like to build a shortboard with the dimensions 6’1” x 21” x 3”.

No shortage of thickness in these Longboards

      There are 3 main criteria that you’ll assess when selecting the best blank for your build, in this order.

   -Genre (surfboard style)
   -Width & Thickness

Genre - US Blanks categorizes their blanks by 6 categories; Shortboard, Fish / Egg, Funboard, Longboard, Gun, SUP. Page 10 of their blank catalog has each Blank grouped by category (see the attached document). Narrowing the genre will help you to find the blank with the correct outline and rocker for your desired design. Obviously, for this example we’ll be selecting Shortboard genre.

Height - Selecting the right height is the best way to reduce wasted material and time in your build. Why buy 10’ of foam when you’re planning to build a 6’ shortboard? That said, it’s best to select a blank with just a couple inches of added height beyond your desired design, just to allow for subtle adjustments or potential errors. Since we’re planning to build a 6’1” shortboard, consider selecting a 6’2” - 6’4” Shortboard blank.

Width & Thickness - Once you’ve selected Genre and Height, you will likely have narrowed your search down to 3 or 4 blank options. The selection can be finalized by determining your desired Width & Thickness. We’d like to net 21” of width and 3” of thickness.

Following our criteria thus far: we have 4 blanks to choose from:

Only 1 of those blanks offers enough foam to fit your desired width and thickness, the 6’4” MB.

The US Blanks catalog ( Blanks Product Catalog.pdf) is a terrific resource to become familiar with. 

Once you have the right Foam Type, Density, and Blank Selection, you can dial in the specific Rocker Profile for the style of waves and surfing that you’re board will be built for. We’ll address Rockers in Part Four of this series.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Everything On The Inside...brought to you by US Blanks (Part 2; DENSITY)

In Part One we discussed foam selection, and helped to delineate the differences between Polyurethane foam and EPS foam, as well as the differences between Block-Cut EPS and Superfused (molded) EPS. In Part Two we’ll discuss the various densities (sometimes referred to as “weight”) available for each foam type. As surfboard design and surfing styles have developed, US Blanks has engineered different foam densities to accommodate each need. 

Density = Pounds-Per-Cubic-Foot of material (foam) for a given space (the blank’s dimensions). 

            When Gordon Clark and Hobie Alter began producing polyurethane foam surfboard blanks in the mid 50s, they designed their foam for be a similar weight to the wood logs that surfers were accustomed to riding. The heavy foam boards were very sturdy and stable, but difficult to maneuver. As surfer’s skills developed, Clark provided lighter foam, which surfers were able to turn more easily. This trend towards lighter-weight foam continued up until the late 90s, where Kelly Slater, et al., ushered in very thin, narrow, highly-rockered shortboards. These boards allowed for the emergence of aerials, fin-releases, and 360s, but also saw a much greater incidence of board breakage, due partially to the lighter foam, but also the higher impact maneuvers. Since the late 90s, foam density trends have diverged into a wide range of needs. The current “ride anything” ethos requires that shortboards are available in either lightweight or Tow-weight, longboards to be built for high-performance or as throwback logs, as well as any manner of single-fin, kneeboard, asym, funboard, SUP, Gun, and even multi-foam constructions (PU & EPS).
            As with any aspect of board building, what you gain in one area, you will lose in another. Lighter weight foam will offer more maneuverability, but inherently less strength. The loss of strength can be mitigated by other construction materials like stronger stringers, carbon fiber, thicker glassing, and stronger resin, etc. 

            To ensure the exact right foam for any build, US Blanks offers (6) density options for PU blanks, as well as (2) density options for EPS blanks. For PU, the weight is identified by the color on the nose of the blank. Due to a few variables in the manufacturing process (mold compaction, skin-to-core ratio), exact PCF (pounds per cubic foot) for PU foam is not given. Rather, a stock weight (Blue) is designated and then all other densities are referenced from that weight, as a percentage of either more dense or less dense.

From Lightest to Heaviest:

- Orange Density (Competition Weight) is approximately 12% to 13% lighter than Blue. This would be most commonly used for elite level professional shortboards.

- Red Density (Performance Weight) is approximately 6% to 7% lighter than Blue. This is a common selection for a surfer who wants more performance from their shortboard, midlength, or longboard.

- Blue Density (Stock Weight) is the basis for comparison. Blue is the perfect combination of weight to strength ratio; light enough to maneuver, yet strong enough to provide extended use.

- Green Density (Cruiser Weight) is approximately 9% to 10% heavier than Blue. This is a common selection for classic longboard and funboard designs.

- Brown Density (Classic Weight) is approximately 30% to 32% heavier than Blue. This is a common selection for traditional log-style longboards. 

- Black Density (Tow-In Weight) is approximately 205% heavier than Blue. This is almost exclusively used in shortboards designed for tow-in surfing.

EPS Blanks (both Block-Cut and Superfused) are available in two densities; 1.5 pcf & 2.0 pcf

Ultimately, there are some fairly simple standards that you can follow (i.e., shortboards should generally be Orange, Red, or Blue. Longboards should generally be Red, Blue, Green, or Brown). Most performance characteristics in the water will be determined in the shaping bay by contours, rocker, fin setup, etc. but selecting the appropriate foam density is key to having the right foundation upon which to build.

For further information, please reference: