There’s been a good buzz going on the beach about the new Hydroflex technologies. Since they use epoxy resin, this often leads people to group them under the “epoxy confusion cloud” with other boards that aren’t even close in construction, feel or performance. The following info will reveal what’s going on and which Hydroflex construction and glass schedule is right for you.
Same Shapes : Better Tech
All Hydroflex boards start with EPS or PU blanks, shaped by the shapers themselves. They start in the same place your normal PU/Poly board does, under the respective brand’s roof, watchful eye and talented shaping hands. From there, they are picked up and delivered to Hydroflex in California where they then are “built” using exclusive Hydroflex 3D rooted fiberglass, epoxy resin and vacuum bagging to add strength and reduce weight. This 3D fiberglass was developed by Hydroflex to add a 3rd glass fiber that hangs down like a root and is infused into the board blank by the vacuum bag pressure.
Better Materials : Better Performance, Durability and Longevity
All Hydroflex boards use epoxy resin rather than polyester resin. Epoxy resin is more durable than polyester and can bend further before cracking. The exclusive Hydroflex 3D rooted fiberglass anchors the glass to the blank, preventing delams, buckles and breakage. This root system also keeps the board flex intact longer, preventing your board from going “flat”. The vacuum bag process sucks out the extra resin that is not necessary, lightening up the board and making it feel more responsive. Durability is increased significantly with respect to board delam, buckling and breakage. When dropping your board in the parking lot or smashing it on the garage door, it’s slightly more durable than standard PU/Poly but should not be confused with plastic pop outs or indestructible low performance technologies.
Two Constructions – Three Glass Schedules
Hydroflex offers two constructions : SuperCharger and Natural – each available in three glass schedules : Team-Lite, Apex and Triple-X. Pick your preferred construction, then tailor it to your performance/durability needs with your glass schedule.
SuperCharger features a stringlerless EPS blank that is vacuum bag laminated with Hydroflex 3D glass plus unidirectional fiberglass reinforcements top and bottom on the centerline. This construction produces a very light, strong board that has an incredible lively, springy feel in and out of the turns. The feel of this board on the water should be the main focus of its performance as it is very unique. SuperCharger construction also features a pressure valve that allows you to tune the flex of the board by increasing or deceasing the internal pressure. A normal board is at 0psi. Most surfers use 1-2psi in SuperCharger boards. This slight increase in air pressure makes the board noticeably more responsive and also stronger both in regards to breakage and denting. The air valve and pressure adjustability tends to trip people out, but in reality, you will only change the pressure a few times and then never touch the valve again. Focus on the feel and the performance. It’s a future tech that RIPS!
Natural construction starts with a stringered PU blank, the same blank used in standard PU/Poly boards. This provides a familiar feel underfoot, with all of the performance and dampening characteristics people expect from PU boards. Hydro then uses their 3D glassing with vacuum bag lamination to produce a board that is lighter and more durable than standard PU/Poly boards.
Why go with Hydroflex Natural construction over a standard PU/Poly? The weight savings are significant, making a board that is more responsive during maneuvers. The durability and added longevity justify the higher price tag, as the board (and the performance flex pattern) will last longer. These boards are much more resistant to delams, buckles and breakage, AND don’t go “flat” nearly as quickly as standard PU/Poly boards. The Natural is an easy choice for the diehard PU/Poly surfer, because it provides a familiar feel with added performance, durability and longevity.
3 Glass Schedules
SuperCharger and Natural constructions are each available with three different glass schedules (cloth weights and # of layers).
Team-Lite glass schedule is the lightest, most performance oriented layup. Team-Lite is the preferred choice for pros and the most performance oriented surfers, and produces the lightest board possible. Team-Lite boards do “dent” under your feet, but these dents are much less likely to delam compared to standard PU/Poly performance boards due to Hydro’s 3D glassing and vacuum bag technology. Even at their feather light weight, these boards are still slightly stronger than standard glass schedule, off the rack PU/Poly boards with regards to buckling and breaking.
Apex glass schedule is the new “standard” glass schedule for Hydroflex that features increased durability against both deck denting and breakage. The majority of Hydroflex boards – both SuperCharger and Natural – that you find on the racks or order custom are Apex glass schedules, as this layup provides the best blend of high performance/lighter weight to added durability and longevity. Apex boards resist excessive deck denting more than a standard PU/Poly boards and have significantly stronger breakage strengths.
Triple-X glass schedule is Hydro’s most durable layup, providing additional deck strength and buckling/breakage prevention. If you are ridiculously hard on your surfboards, either from surfing or kitesurfing usage, and find yourself breaking countless numbers of boards, then Triple-X is the RX your Hydroflex doctor will prescribe for you. This is the STRONGEST layup out there and keeps your performance shape intact and going strong, session after session.
Hydroflex in review…
Hydroflex boards start out with the same blanks from the same shapers. They are available in two constructions, each available in three different glass schedules. Hydroflex boards are lighter, more responsive, more durable and last longer. If you have the additional money in your budget, their higher price tag is justified thru higher performance levels and longer functional board life.
If you have any questions regarding Hydroflex surfboards or construction technologies, please post them below and we would be glad to answer them! – Trip