A surfboard stringer is a strip of wood that goes from the nose to the tail of the surfboard. It was first introduced in 1958 by the founder of Goldie Surfboards and was used as a means of adding strength to boards that he deemed overly flexible.
Stringers and Surfboard Construction
During the surfboard construction process, the polyurethane (PU) foam blank is halved, the stringer is glued inside, and the pieces are clamped back together.
The stringer’s width can vary depending on the type of board, with longboards typically having much wider stringers than shortboards. They are generally not included on epoxy surfboards.
Types of Surfboard Stringer
The width of the stringer isn’t the only thing that can change. There are also variations with regard to the type and placement, including:
Single Stringers vs Multiple Stringers
Most surfboards have a single stringer that runs through the center of the board, but multi stringers are also available. With multiple stringer boards, between one and three stringers are either grouped together or placed equally spaced across the board.
Why Use a Triple Stringer on a Surfboard?
A triple stringer setup may reduce the risk of breakage. It provides additional support along the center and the rails. However, the difference may be slight and it will also add a little extra weight to the board.
Parabolic stringers arc along the surfboard’s rails and are often made from balsa wood or basswood, but they can also be made from high-density foam.
Carbon Fiber Stringers
Carbon fiber is becoming increasingly popular in surfboard construction and is often used to produce stringers that replace or support wooden stringers.
Wooden stringers are traditional and remain the most popular. They are used in single stringers and multiple stringers but the variations in stringer thickness, placement, and the type of wood can vary considerably.
Basswood is often used as it’s a relatively soft wood with a medium weight. Balsa is also popular as a stringer material as it is lightweight and strong.
Cedar has been used as well, but it’s one of the more expensive stringer materials and can be difficult to source and produce, leading to a variety of cedar alternatives.
What Should You Look for in Surfboard Stringers?
The goal of a surfboard stringer is to provide stiffness and strength that can resist the impact of surfing. The stringer is constantly being compressed and flexed, so resistance is key. The stringer also needs to be lightweight and buoyant while aligning with the other materials used in the board.