If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. This mentality is why traditional surfboard design has remained so familiar instead of experimenting with new shapes or materials. Varial Surf Technology thinks a bit differently, however. The company’s latest technology, Varial Infused Glass, provides a much stronger surfboard in a significantly lighter package.
The process for Infused Glass involves vacuum bagging a surfboard in one shot. This process may not be entirely new, but Varial is able to do a 100-percent vacuum bag infusion with either polyester or epoxy resin. “The vacuum-bag process gets the fibers in the cloth really flat, which in turn provides a lot more strength,” explains Varial co-founder Parker Borneman in a statement to Surfer. “It also significantly reduces the amount of resin used, so you’re getting a ton of liveliness in a board with way less weight.”
In addition to creating a stronger yet lighter board, Varial Infused Glass is also safer for the environment. “When we infuse with polyester resin, there are almost no styrene vapors released into the air,” says co-founder and former aerospace engineer Edison Conner. “Meaning there are also significant safety and environmental upsides to glassing a surfboard this way.”
So far, the material has already been tested by World Tour competitor Caio Ibelli. For the last seven months, Ibellie has been riding Xanadu boards made using Varial foam and finished with the Infused Glass. According to Ibelli, the surfboards are so strong and reliable, he can dramatically reduce how many boards he brings with him on tour. A typical competitor drags between eight and twelve boards to each event.
“I’ll be relying on one or two boards for an entire event, which is huge and something that I’ve never been able to do before,” explains Ibelli.
Varial first made a splash a few years ago with the release of Varial foam. This strong, lightweight, stringer-less material has since been used by the world’s top surfboard manufacturers including Channel Islands, Lost, and Sharp Eye.
Conner and Borneman hope other professional surfers, like Kai Lenny, take note of Ibelli’s performance during the World Tour and check out the technology for themselves.