Björn Daniels is a passionate wave windsurfer from Sweden and started windsurfing in 1986. A few months ago Björn built a honeycomb trifin wave board. Honeycomb was a quite popular construction in the 90s and has a several thousand years long history and first got used in sandwich structures in 1938. For windsurfing boards the honeycomb material delivers a good ratio of weight and strength. Björn Daniel told us: “I’ve built many boards over the years, but never one in Honeycomb (HC), but one of my friends built a couple in the 90’s. They lasted about 20 minutes. So when my material supplier Sven at Primenta told me that he had an aramidHC that didn’t ruin you I was a bit sceptic and let it go. But I couldn’t let go of the thought of a really light weigth wave board. So after some research I decided to go for it! Main issue might be that HC can absorb large volymes of water if the board is damaged.”
The video “Hexagon” shows all the steps of building the board and it also shows Björn windsurfing at different spots in Southern Sweden (Rullsand/Gävle, Mellbystrand, Traslövsläge, Dalen, Torekov, Malen/Bastad, Jonstorp or Revet).
Additionally we hooked up with Björn to speak about building custom boards. Read the interview below the video.
Swedish wave windsurfer Björn Daniels building a light wave board in honeycomb construction
Continentseven: Was this your first board shaped in honeycomb?
Björn Daniels: Yes.
Continentseven: What were the costs for the board?
Björn Daniels: The price for epoxy, carbon, sandwich depends highly on volume and when you buy small volumes like I do it adds up. A normal sandwich board is around 450-500 Euro, this one another 150 Euro, (total approximately 600-650 Euro)
Continentseven: Do you build boards just for your own use or do you produce boards for friends, too?
Björn Daniels: Nowadays I only build for myself but I’ve had a few enquires.
Continentseven: What’s the size of the board you build in the video?
Björn Daniels: Quite state of the art multi fin board of today, 59x228cm, approximately 85 L, nothing extraordinary, my one board solution for waves. Since it was a new construction I wanted a board that I would use so I kept the shape standard.
Continentseven: When did you start building boards?
Björn Daniels: I built my first board in early 90’s, glass on EPS, but it wasn’t until mid/late 90’s I started building sandwich boards. I learned it from one of my best friends, ex PWA sailor and board shaper Mathias Holmberg. A few years later I worked with another friend, ex PWA sailor Per Andersson when he had his own business (he sadly passed away far too early). He later started shaping for Starboard. Nowadays I only build for the fun of it and like trying to do new things and develop my skills. If you’r interested I just completed a new edit where I laminate a Carbon boom. Professional I’m a Mechanical Engineer working with RnD and developing personal protection equipment for welders.
Continentseven: Would you recommend every windsurfer to try to build own boards one day?
Björn Daniels: If you have an interest in building things and composites I say go for it. I’ve seen several first time builders with really nice boards (and quite a few with not so nice boards). The key thing is the preparation! Read a lot, watch videos, ask questions, think it through properly several times and you can get a good result. But also keep in mind that it can end up in a useless board. A good shape might be the hardest thing to achieve. If you want to save money, go buy a used board or maybe repair a broken one. Just keep in mind it’s a lot of work involved and several steps can be harmful to your Health so use proper safety equipment.
Continentseven: Is it possible to build a durable board in a sustainable way, with less toxic products and more eco friendly products. I just think about bamboo, wood, recycled foams, recycled plastic. What’s your opinion on that?
Björn Daniels: I don’t have so much knowledge in that area. I think everything produced by mankind has an impact and in that sense nothing will ever be sustainable. If we talk truly sustainable boards I think we have a long way to go. If we talk replacing components in existing construction I think there is more to do. But as I understand it there are durability problems for some materials if used in windsurfing boards, but works better for Surfboards. Wood has been used for a long time and personally I have one freeride board there I replaced the PVC-sandwich completly with wood (but still EPS core, epoxy and glass). It’s still going strong after many years use, but a wave board in the same construction would probably not be durable enough.
Another thing to consider when talking eco-materials is that even if the raw material is eco-friendly there is an industrial process to make fabrics, resin, sandwich out of it. And sometimes that process isn’t environmental at all, so it’s important to know how the material is produced besides just being a renewable resource. There is also the transportation to think about, it’s far too cheap to transport stock and persons today if you look at an environmental side. With todays construction at the end it’s still a mix of different materials that can’t be separated and the only way to recycle is by energy recycling by burning. So best way would be to build high quality boards that last for a long time – both durability and shape – and that we don’t change boards that often (to be honest many of us change board because we want something new, not because we really need a new one). But of course all steps to a better world is good and someone needs to be the first. A lot of text from one who has no real knowledge about it.