SurfBoard Design Rocker
Rocker in a surfboard can be incredibly complicated its an amalgamation of curves and straight lines. There is Deck Rocker, Rail Rocker, Bottom Rocker, Entry Rocker all used to describe a simple bend in a surfboard.
For All intents and purposes Bottom Rocker is widely considered the backbone of the surfboard.
A Surfboards Bottom Rocker is said to be one of the most critical parts of how a surfboard will perform in the water.
This is the foundation that a Shaper will establish when shaping a board, from the bottom rocker all the other components of a surfboards design will be derived.
With in the bottom rocker there are a few key elements to consider:
Nose and Tail rocker.
So what is Nose Rocker & Tail Rocker?
Rocker is basically the curve a surfboard has from nose to tail.
A surfboard that looks like a Banana would be a case of extreme nose and tail rocker.
A surfboard with the shape of a house door would have no rocker, and probably surf like one.
Nose Rocker describes the amount of curve in the bottom of the board generally measured from the midpoint forward.
Boards with little to no nose rocker will allow the nose to catch, or pearl, but conversely allows for more planing surface and thus more speed and drive.
Longboards, Fishes, or Surfboards meant for small mushy days are a good examples of a boards that will have little nose rocker.
Surfboards with a good amount of Nose rocker are good for hollow and steep waves, the reason being that the board will fit better in the contour of the wave. However, the pronounced nose flip will slow a board down , because water is following the curve of the board and pushing water and creating drag.
High performance and big wave boards are examples of surfboards that will have lots of nose rocker.
Tail Rocker is the amount of curve that the end section of the board curves up. Measured from midpoint to the tail.
The more tail rocker in a surfboards design the more responsive it will be, meaning it will turn quicker and sharper but what you gain with maneuverability you lose in the amount of speed and drive a surfboard will create.
While a relatively small amount of tail rocker will produce a faster more drivey board, the downside is if you want to be a snappy surfer it aint going to happen with this design feature.
Now add nose and tail rocker together and you can wind up with a multitude of types of bottom rocker.
…think of the banana again…there are no flat spots. The lack of “flat spots” along the bottom means that the surfer can shift weight between the front and back foot smoothly as well as surf from rail to rail.
Now a shaper can tweak the dimensions for different results, for instance a flatter continuous rocker will lengthen out the turning radius and have more projection out of a turn. Increase the curve and you get a tighter turning radius but less drive out of turns.
Boards that have both curved and flat sections of bottom where there is minimal amount of rocker, are said to have Staged Rocker.
The staged rocker is flattened in the middle section of the board which helps with drive and down the line speed as well as projection out of turns. Catching waves earlier is a feature of this type of rocker.
Again shapers can tweak the dimensions of this type of rocker.
With increasing the tail kick and/or nose flip it will give the board different characteristics and tendencies.
For instance increasing nose flip increases the board’s tendency to plough through water when paddling or surfing slow waves. Too little nose flip and the board will have a hard time in steeper waves.
Increasing the tail kick will create a tendency to make the board drag. Too little tail kick makes the board stall during hard, tight turns, but is faster down the line.
There are limitless amounts of combination’s you can apply to the rocker just by varying the degree of the curves on the nose,tail,and mid section. Its just a matter of finding the right combination that fits your style and the waves you surf.