Quest for perfect wave starts with perfect surfboard

Modeling a surfboard requires the ability to manipulate hundreds of data points in real-time


AutoCAD 2015 enables KKL machine to make sure each surfboard is faithful to the original design. Credit: Dell

AutoCAD 2015 enables KKL machine to make sure each surfboard is faithful to the original design. Credit: Dell

Erik Baldwin was just a toddler when he says he fell in love with the ocean. This bond fueled a passion for surfing and eventually led to a job as a surfboard maker for Nirvana Surfboards.

Baldwin says he’s “obsessed” with designing beautiful, high-performance boards.  “With the design and the concept… it’s about feel, it’s about expression,” he explains.

This quest to make the perfect board helped establish Nirvana Surfboards’ reputation, amongst casual enthusiasts and professionals, as one of the world’s best board makers. Turning the excellent reputation it enjoyed with a few surfers into a commercially successful product was the next challenge, so Nirvana partnered with KKL Machine, a leading manufacturer of pre-shaped surfboards.

“We work with hundreds of different surfboard brands,” says KKL Machine President Larry Bischmann. “They bring in the master shape that they want to reproduce. We evaluate the board and take all the data that we need and then we load it into our system.”

The science of surf

Films like “The Endless Summer” and “Blue Crush” make surfing seem as intuitive as taking any oblong board to water and simply riding the waves, but an experienced surfer knows that a good board needs to factor in issues such as buoyancy, surface tension and balance. These factors are calibrated using design software and powerful workstation computers ahead of production, and long before the surfer takes to the ocean.

“There’s a lot more technology behind surfboards and wakesurf boards than meets the eye,” according to Bischmann. “You might have two boards that look exactly the same from an outline standpoint but they may perform very differently.”

Modeling a surfboard, or any three-dimensional object is no small task. It requires the ability to manipulate hundreds of data points in real-time, which in turn requires the right software and a powerhouse computing solution. KKL does all this on Autodesk’s AutoCAD software, which it runs on Dell Precision Workstations.

Meeting the needs of designers

AutoCAD is known as a resource-intensive application and, for decades, Dell has provided desktop and mobile workstations to meet the needs of some of the world’s most prominent designers across a range of industries, from architecture to fashion. Autodesk recently launched AutoCAD’s latest version, AutoCAD 2015, which is optimized to run on Dell Precision Workstations.

Dell Precision Workstations aren’t simply about taking the most expensive components and throwing them in a tower or mobile form factor. Instead, Dell partners closely with Autodesk to test and certify software like AutoCAD 2015 to ensure it runs reliably right from the start. This gives customers the peace of mind that their system is optimized whether they’re engineering, designing or analyzing their most complex creations.

Compared to competing machines, Dell Precision’s unique chassis design, as well as its efficient cooling system, helps produce higher CPU and GPU output with the same components. Also deployed on the Precision Workstation is the Dell Precision Performance Optimizer (DPPO), which uses preconfigured profiles to optimize system resources for select applications, including AutoCAD 2015.

To ride the perfect wave you need a perfect board and this requires the right technology that can accurately reproduce the designer’s vision in each finished board.

Dmitry Sheynin
Dmitry Sheynin is a technology journalist based in New York whose work has appeared in numerous IBT Media/Newsweek publications.
Dmitry Sheynin
Dmitry Sheynin
Dmitry Sheynin
Tags: Data Center,Industries,Manufacturing,Retail,Technology