A small company called Trinity Board Sport is making surfboards unlike any other, and enough people are convinced that how they’re doing it will change the industry. So convinced, in fact, that a crowdfunding campaign has raised more than $32,000 in under a month, mostly from surfers and shapers. The reason? A surfboard that is radically different from anything else on the market.
Early in 2015, Firewire released one of their strangest boards. It’s called the Cornice, and it took just over two years to develop. It was the brainchild of two men, Eduardo Cenzana, who is the lead engineer at a company called Trinity Technologies, and Dan Mann, Firewire’s surfboard designer. it involved a parabolic rail system and a totally different volume distribution. Here it is in action:
Trinity, though, didn’t start out as a surfboard company. They design the blades for wind turbines, but Cenzana realized that if they applied some of the same design characteristics to a surfboard, they might create something incredible. He brought his idea to Firewire, and they agreed with him. “Trinity has significant computer resources due to our work designing products such as wind turbine blades and modeling how they perform in different conditions,” Cenzana said in a press release announcing the release of the Cornice. “I believe this is the first time anyone has applied that much computing power and engineering expertise to determine the functionality of a surfboard design. After countless months of computer modeling, we’re convinced that the side-cut design offers significant performance advantages.”
Much like what happened to skis in the late ’80s and early ’90s, Cenzana believes parabolic technology is the future of surfboard design. “Parabolic Rail System Technology (PRS) was applied, many years ago, in the skiing industry,” wrote his engineering team in the technological explanation. “It changed the ski market completely, making skiing easier, especially for beginners and intermediates but also for advanced. In the ski market, it took 2-3 years to adjust mentalities, but from the beginning, it was a technology that was destined to change skiing forever. PRS is not merely a theory or an opinion: it is applied physics that has already been proven to work.”
According to Trinity, a PRS board has 20%-30% more volume than a regular surfboard of the same length–which is good and bad, depending on what you’re looking for in a surfboard. They’ve simply pushed most of the volume from the mid-point forward to the nose–the wave-catching abilities of this board are pretty incredible, as proven in the video above.
The rails, though, are the most interesting part of the whole thing, aside from their distribution (which we’ll get into later). According to the company, “the parabolic rail makes turning easier by the cutting through the water in the same direction as that in which the fins are turning. This combined turning action reduces the effort needed to make turns and so enables more maneuverable boards without sacrificing stability.”
With companies like Firewire and a grassroots following backing their design ideas, the future looks bright for Trinity. They’ve got an interesting way of getting their ideas under the feet of surfers around the world, too: they sell licenses to use their designs.
“The customer buys a license and Trinity Board Sport contacts him for necessary data (height, weight, surf level, type of waves…),” wrote Trinity. “With this brief, Trinity prepares a fully customized shape which is sent to the local shaper chosen by the customer. If the surfer does not know a shaper, Trinity will recommend the closest shaper geolocated shaper zone.”
But surfers are notoriously stubborn–design innovation usually takes years to catch on. Trinity might have created something the next generation of surfers will be using, but only time will tell.