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Witchcraft Surfboards

Custom surfboards made with Dyneema®

16 April 2013 - Dyneema® fiber is extremely lightweight and extremely strong. It’s amazing what problems those two properties can solve when combined. Dyneema® is used in almost everything from massive mooring lines to extremely thin fishing line, from tents to climbing rope and from Olympic cycling shorts to hockey socks used in the NHL. Where else? Where would you use it? What problem do you have that needs solving? Bouke Becker has been making custom surfboards since 1984 and he makes them, with Dyneema®. Here’s why.

Dyneema360: How did you hear about Dyneema®?

Bouke: I think the first time was on a Dutch television program. It was before I moved to Fuerteventura so it must have been around 1990-1992. They were showing how Dyneema® can stand up to chainsaws, knives, and bullets.

D360: How did you come up with the idea to use Dyneema® in your surfboards?

B: Later, when I had moved to Fuerteventura and set up my workshop I met a German engineer. He was working on developing army helmets made with Dyneema® at the time and suggested I try it on my windsurf boards. So I did. There are rocks on many of our surf breaks here in Fuerteventura. If you ride carefully you can usually avoid them, but who wants to ride carefully? If you want to go for the radical moves, things can go wrong, and they regularly do. The boards made with Dyneema® can withstand the damage inflicted by the rocks and keep you in the water and surfing longer. Being addicted to the surf, I’ve always hated having to leave the water due to unnecessary equipment failure. Anything to keep me in the water and able to surf is a good thing.

Also, you spend about 35-45 hours making a custom board. Using cheap materials versus high performance materials hardly makes a difference in production time. Using high performance materials like Dyneema®, makes your work so much more valuable since the increase in quality is far greater than the increase in materials cost.

D360: Do you have any stories about when a board made with Dyneema® held up where a weaker board would have broken?

B: Loads. There must be numerous times where the mast hit the nose of a board due to a catapult and only suffered a bit of surface damage. This is one of the most common season-ending damages on "normal" boards. I´ve had customers with boards blow of the roof of their car while driving, people bottom turning on a wave into a dry rock, boards being washed onto rocks by pounding waves. These boards would have needed serious repairs but because of Dyneema® their owners could keep sailing until the season was over.

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