DV 6-0 by 20 by 2.75 Photo: Dave Collyer
Camber Surfboards, Inc. is the collaboration of longtime friends Scott Graham and Doug Vickery. Scott has a degree in Naval Architecture from the Webb Institute and a Master’s degree in Naval Architecture and Offshore Engineering from UC Berkeley where he specialized in Numerical Hydrodynamics. Doug has more than 45 years of experience shaping short, wide functional surfboards, along with expertise building ultra-light displacement boats (ULDB’s) for the Transpacific Yacht Race (Transpac) using sandwich core technology.
Doug began making his own boards in Newport Beach at 13 and started the Animal Tracks label in 1969. Wider boards with curvy outlines made sense for everyday California waves. The width provides the surface area to get up to speed quickly. Parallel outlines make it possible to get a board up on a rail to carve turns that feel good. Roundtails make smooth transitions from rail to rail to link turns.
In 1976 Doug went to work for P Squared Custom Boats building ultra light displacement boats (ULDB’s) for Transpac. The 69-foot boat, Drifter, he helped build was first to finish in the 1979 Transpac and also set the elapsed time record in the La Paz race. Drifter was built with a sandwich of one-inch-thick Airex foam core and fiberglass skins. At the time, it was the largest foam sandwich structure in the world. Doug escaped from behind the Orange Curtain in 1993 and moved to San Diego where he met Scott.
Scott’s experience with hydrofoil design and dynamic stability theory played a key role in the development of Team New Zealand’s foiling AC 72 catamarans for America’s Cup 34. Much of the traditional catamaran design community that had spent many years experimenting on smaller catamarans did not think it would be possible to develop a dynamically stable foiling catamaran. When the first photos leaked out of Auckland showing a 72-foot catamaran flying down the bay a meter above the water on hydrofoils, most people, including some on other America’s Cup design teams, thought the images were Photo Shopped! In support of this performance breakthrough, Scott went back to the underlying physics to analyze the problem from a fresh starting point, instead of staying within traditionally accepted parameters and trying to tweak what others had previously done.
That same approach applies to Camber Surfboards. Scott has used his understanding of the underlying physics of planing surfaces, wave mechanics, expertise in Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) and 30+ years of surfing experience to create a more efficient surfboard bottom. His understanding of the hydrodynamics of planing surfaces made it possible to focus on the most logical areas for board development thereby eliminating a lot of trial and error. Scott built his first deep concave bottom surfboard in 1983. Many shapers are aware of transverse flow because the angle of the spray sheet is obvious in a turn. Maurice Cole and Gregg Webber were on the right track with their deep concaves. However, it took Scott and his scientific background to analyze what is taking place behind the stagnation line/spray root to take advantage of the transverse flow direction and maintain greater pressure under the bottom to generate more speed.
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