Surfers could create their own custom fins as UOW researchers bring additive manufacturing to surfboard design
Ever dreamed of surfing some of the worlds best surf breaks all in the name of research?
Thats exactly what a team of students and academics from the University of Wollongong (UOW) did on a recent trip to the remote Mentawai Islands, located off West Sumatra in Indonesia.
The task for the UOW team of six surfers and three researchers was to surf test new shapes of 3D- printed surfboard fins designed and manufactured at the Australian National Fabrication Facility node at the University of Wollongong in Australia.
The surfer preferred designed fin, nicknamed the Crinkle Cut, has a series of grooves on one side of the fin.
Think of a potato crisp, hence the name crinkle cut, says Professor Marc in het Panhuis, an expert in additive manufacturing at UOW and one of the lead researchers on the project.
The reason this fin shape works so well is because the contours improve the way the water flows past it. These contours ultimately give the surfer more speed. The fins also seemed to offer plenty of drive and projection out of turns.
The team of researchers from UOW are hoping to kick-start a niche manufacturing industry and revolutionise surfboard designs with their 3D-printed fins.
SPECIALS THANKS TO JULIE STEELE AND THE UOW