Words by Beau Flemister with contributions from Hayden Cox.
If you’ve noticed on our site or on our boards, if they’re not the ones with the black rails (FutureFlex), then they will show the letters “PE” on them down by the finbox. PE stands for: Polyurethane (Core) Epoxy (Laminate). Which is the construction of those boards. 7 years ago, Hayden made the decision to go strictly PE construction and FutureFlex (FF)…as opposed to making any boards in PU (which stands for Polyurethane Polyester). It is somewhat an invisible technology and may not seem a whole lot different visually from a PU - but the that couldnt be further from the truth.
Whilst we may not, many board builders still make PU boards…It's cheaper to do so and the process is far quicker and easier in terms of manufacturing. So what are the differences and why go with PE over PU? This is our take on it.
If you ask Hayden, he’d tell you that PE is a superior alternative to PU. Basically, PE combines a polyurethane foam core with a high-grade timber stringer, which is laminated using fiberglass cloth and a high quality epoxy resin. Haydenshapes uses this exclusive epoxy resin for a few reasons:
Epoxy resin brightens the boards and makes them visually whiter. Take a look at the below image for example - Number 18 is an epoxy HS and the other three are all PU. It maintains that new board feeling, in all aspects, a lot longer.
Epoxy is more flexible than polyester (PU) and maintains the lively flex pattern typically associated with a new board.
Weight saving. The epoxy resins laminate lighter than polyester giving you a better fiberglass to resin ratio which allows the boards to be lighter and the glass fibers to flex.
PE is more technical to manufacture and the result in the performance of this construction says a whole lot. In keeping with Hayden’s design philosophy of creating innovative and performance surfboards made from only the highest quality materials, the PE construction is lightweight, delivers cutting-edge flex response and speed, and feels remarkably sensitive under your feet.
Some more on PE construction… PE is also super lightweight with a flex response that delivers speed and vitality for performance surfing. While PE is also built from the traditional polyurethane foam core with a 3-ply wooden stringer down the center, we use a range of different densities of foam depending on the desired weight, flex and compressional stability. The epoxy laminate on our PE boards has been designed from a high quality, UV resistant epoxy resin system with E-Glass surfboard fiberglass. This epoxy resin system creates a highly flexible laminate, that has a natural life span 2-3 times a polyester resin. (That’s a good thing!)
While Hayden definitely opts for surfing PE boards over standard PU, you might not necessarily feel the same and that’s totally cool. But if you’re still unsure if it suits you or not, here’s some Pros and Cons…
They’re more lively, lighter and buoyant than average PU boards, thus generate more speed in tricky conditions or smaller surf;
The lively flex lasts longer than PU boards;
The faster flex response means that they accelerate faster off turns and through bottom turns.
Sometimes too lively, light and buoyant in bigger surf where you’d want to have more of your board in the wave, or in choppy conditions. To compensate for this, you can order your board with a heavier glass job ie. STANDARD PLUS.