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Composite Fin Wins 2005 Australian Design Awards

  • Friday, 13th May 2005
  • Reading time: about 3 minutes

Surf Hardware International, the Australian Northern Beaches Company, have won the 2005 Design Award for Design of the Year for its composite Hydro-2 Finn.

The H2 surfboard fin was designed by naval architect Andy Dovell and SHI (Surf Hardware International), with Talon Technology consulting on materials technology, providing research & development and process technology, as well as supplying the final tools and installing the manufacturing system.

Geoff Germon form Talon explains, “This is the perfect example of how Talon Technology, by providing technical expertise from the outset helps industry leaders such SHI to produce unique, market leading products”

The H-2 fin is manufactured using Hexcel’s aluminium coated fibre Texalium with SP’s 115 clear resin system, this is done with a ‘dynamic integrated core’ that gives the ‘flex and feel’ characteristics that make the fin work.

The winning model was the Hydro-2 Finn (Pictured) which took the outright honours at the awards due to its low weight, materials innovation and its advanced hydro dynamic design.

In choosing the fins, the award judges declared: “The designers have achieved the impossible…this product has been refined to perfection. “The hydrodynamic efficiency, quality of manufacture, level of finish and smart packaging represent a world class product with unbeatable marketability.”

The Awards committee added that “the Hydrodynamic programme of which the H-2 is the first result, is a truly innovative combination of the art of surfboard and fin design, and scientific rigour and process. A Collaboration of Hydrodynamic and material experts, manufacturing consultants, some of the worlds premier surfers (including world champions Kelly Slater and Tom Carroll), fin makers and Surf Hardware, the H-2 programme melded scientific rigour (evolution and testing in the Tom Fink Cavitation Tunnel, Australian Maritime College, Launceston) with known design wisdom (sticking to 3 fins, and their general placement) and human trial (the worlds best surfers in waves around the world).”

While evolving the geometry of the fin, materials and manufacturing processes were being researched for the fin’s construction. A combination of Epoxy Fibreglass and Texallium skin moulded over a ultra-light high density PU core was selected for the fin’s construction. The resultant fin is apparently the lightest on the market, strong, durable and striking in design.

Talon’s Geoff Germon explains, “The first challenge was to integrate in to the existing patented fitting system, the next was to produce a fin that was considerably lighter yet had the same flex characteristics as other fins on the market. By utilising CAD and CNC matched metal tools we were able to produce a core that allowed for incredibly accurate tolerances and differential wall thicknesses through out the fin, this allowed us to control the structural properties of the fin and therefore the flex characteristics. We were able to produce a fin to tolerances with in 0.05 of a millimetre, which was as strong as the competitions and approximately 50% lighter”.

Geoff goes on to say, “The H-2’s success was only made possible via the integrated collaboration of SHI and Talon; from conception to final roll out the two entities bought a level of expertise together that was unsurpassable.

This combination of factors, as well as value adding and innovative packaging, has led to an overwhelming retail response, with orders outstripping demand in Japan and early signs of similar interest in Australia, USA and Europe.

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