ORCA Surfboard Goes From CFD to the Waves

surfboard-meshDo you remember our case study from a couple of years ago where our friends at CRAFT Tech used Pointwise as part of a tool chain to optimize the performance of a big wave surfboard? Well that surfboard, called ORCA, has finally gotten into the water.

Many factors influence a surfboard’s performance, especially those designed specifically to ride big waves, those taller than 20 feet. One factor is aerodynamic and not hydrodynamic – flow separation behind and above the nose of the board. Just like an airfoil or short-span wing, this separation can cause pitch-up or lateral oscillations.

CRAFT Tech applied an aerodynamic optimization technique to this problem and came up with a design with a thicker nose as shown below.


Recently, Ian Walsh took ORCA (Optimization, Reduction, and Control of Aerodynamics) into the water. Ian posted the photo below and video of the performance here. Watch to the end for his comments on the board’s performance.


Ian Walsh riding ORCA at Pe’ahi, Hawai’i (aka JAWS). Image from Instagram user ian.walsh. See original here.

To learn more about how this aerodynamic optimization was accomplished, read the article Big Wave Surfboard Optimization Using Pointwise and Crunch CFD.


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1 Response to ORCA Surfboard Goes From CFD to the Waves

  1. martin.hegedus@gmail.com says:

    Too cool!

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