Composites Consulting Group DIAB surf ski

Oceanbuilt Surf Skis - Composites Consulting Group puts emphasis on engineering

Typically 5 to 6.5m (16.5-21ft) long and only 40 to 50 cm (16-20 in.) wide, surf skis are extremely fast when paddled on fl at water (only an Olympic K1 or K2 kayaks are faster) and are the fastest paddled craft over a long distance on ocean swells. Despite being somewhat unstable, in the hands of an experienced paddler it is a very effective craft for paddling in big surf. Its narrowness and length helps it cut or punch through large broken waves. Surf ski races can be as short as 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) or as long as 80 kilometers (50 miles).

Oceanbuilt is a West Australian company that is rapidly developing a reputation for designing and building fast surf skis for the international racing circuit. The design team behind Oceanbuilt surf skis is very formidable indeed. It includes Britton Ward a worldclass naval architect who specializes in hull design. He has been heavily involved with numerous Volvo ocean racing machines and Americas cup yachts. Other members of the team include father and son Shaun and Brendan Rice. Shaun has been a world-class river and ocean paddler whereas his son at 21 is already eighth in the world rankings for open ocean surf ski racing.

To further improve speed, strength and reliability, Justin Brent-White, Managing Director of Oceanbuilt, joined forces with the Composites Consulting Group (CCG) to design and engineer a surf ski from the ground up rather than just evolve a design or copy features from other surf skis. Justin believes, “If you are going to go to all the trouble of putting together a great team why skip a step? Get the best construction and engineering team as well”.

By combining the surf ski knowledge of Britton, Shaun and Brendan with the composite and structural engineering expertise of the CCG engineering team, a carbon sandwich laminate was developed that could be produced by an infusion molding process. A series of Finite Element Models (FEA) were created to analyze the performance of the design under a wide variety of loading conditions. With this information the fi nal laminate was developed and the prototype surf ski was produced. A rigorous on the water test program followed to validate the engineering.

Justin maintains that having the surf ski professionally engineered is a very cost eff ective approach as it saves the time and money that would be expended using traditional trial and error methods.

Louise Eriksson Jacka
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