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Carbon Fiber and Stand Up Paddling PDF Print E-mail
By: Stand Up Paddle Surfing Magazine   
Monday, 12 November 2007
SUP Carbon Fiber Sheeting
Carbon fiber is showing up repeatedly in extreme sports equipment including stand up paddle surfing. It could be the jet black color, but carbon fiber seems to be a mysterious scientific miracle that nobody truly understands. This article will attempt to unravel some of the mystery behind carbon fiber so that you know what’s in your hand and under your feet next time you get in the water.

Since the early days of surfing, lightweight high performance materials are what the industry has been after. Solid wood boards were hollowed out to make them lighter and stronger. Later, the introduction of foam core surfboards along with epoxy surfboard construction has evolved into the lightest surfboards ever. Now, with the adaptation of carbon fiber, which is as thin as fiberglass and several times stronger than steel, the future of stand up paddle surfboard design could be carbon black.

Carbon fiber is a composite material often found the construction of race cars and motorcycles, airplanes, and bicycles for its light weight and high strength properties. It is derived from petroleum pitch that comes from the processing of oil. The fibers produced contain about 85% carbon although the exact composition may vary from one manufacturer to another.

Production includes heating raw materials up to 5,500° F in an oxygen free chamber followed by a series of spinning, winding and weaving to produce what we know as carbon fiber. In fact, several thousand fibers are spun together to form a carbon fiber yarn.

How strong is carbon fiber exactly? Tensile strength ranges from 34.8 million psi to 72.5 psi. These numbers doesn’t mean much to you and I, however, if we compare it to the tensile strength of steel which is about 29 psi, we can get a sense of truly how strong the material is. With the pressure, twisting, and leaning that takes place during a normal stand up paddle surf session, many surfers make carbon fiber paddles their material of choice.

For more information about carbon fiber products, the following are some companies that are currently producing carbon fiber paddles and/or surfboards Kialoa, Werner, Quickblade, Whiskey, Gillespie, Infinity, Pope Bisect and Galaxy of New Generations.

Some information facts and figures provided by
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